Using Drama and Art as Healing Modalities

“Forget your troubles and dance

Forget your sorrows and dance

Forget your sickness and dance

Forget your weakness and dance”

-Bob Marley

Introduction

I was introduced to the concept of drama therapy a few years ago at the University of South Florida; drama therapist Lisa Powers of USF came and presented a lecture on the topic for our student group CANM at USF. I then read Love Medicine and Miracles by Dr. Bernie Siegel which, in part, discussed the use of art therapy as a powerful medical modality.

What are Drama and Art Therapies?

“Drama therapy is the intentional use of drama and/or theater processes to achieve therapeutic goals. It is active and experiential. This approach can provide the context for participants to tell their stories, set goals and solve problems, express feelings, or achieve catharsis. Through drama, the depth and breadth of inner experience can be actively explored and interpersonal relationship skills can be enhanced. Participants can expand their repertoire of dramatic roles to find that their own life roles have been strengthened (1).”

“Art therapy is a mental health profession in which clients, facilitated by the art therapist, use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem (2). “

My Connection to Drama and Art Therapies

I wanted to share these resources because I firmly believe that harnessing the creative forces within can manifest a purely blissful existence, and in many modern societies, our creative, child-like sides are often suppressed by the constructs of deadlines, the need to live a fast-paced life, and a capitalistic mindset. Imagine if you had not a care in the world, and you simply followed your intuition, and created whatever you truly felt dear to your heart. You had faith the the creative potential within, when harnessed, could help overcome any presented challenge, and that in turn, you could help other people overcome their challenges, just through pure, artistic expression via any medium.

What a life that would be, at least I think so haha, and I do my best do live at this frequency in every moment. I support therapies which guide participants to look within, and express their inner-child without fear of being judged or fear of what will come out. Drama and art therapies allow for this to happen, for even the darkest demons within may come out as purely beautiful pieces of art, which free the tensions within the participant and may even allow the space for creative expression for observers.

Imagine if we all lived so light-heartedly, when we lost our jobs or our homes, we simply danced with our friends in whichever way our bodies guided us, or when we had free time, we no longer worried about the future, but used fallen flowers to adorn the shores of a river.

thomas the dancer

References/Further Resources

1) What is Drama Therapy?

2) What is Art Therapy?

3) Dr. Bernie Siegel on Art Therapy

4) Drama Therapy at the University of South Florida

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