Safety, play, enablement, and active involvement: Themes from a Grounded Theory study of practitioner and client experiences of change processes in Dramatherapy

Susan Cassidy*, Andrew Gumley, Sue Turnbull

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Objective: This study aims to investigate how dramatherapists and dramatherapy clients experience change in therapy and whether change processes identified are consistent across dramatherapeutic approaches. 

Method: Seven dramatherapists and seven dramatherapy clients were interviewed about their experiences of dramatherapy. Using a grounded theory method three core themes were constructed from the data. 

Results: The resulting core categories – 1. working within a safe distance; 2. the client being allowed and allowing self to play and try out new ways of being and 3. being actively involved in therapy: creating something visible and having physical experiences using the body, capture the experience of change for both dramatherapists and clients in therapy. Key change mechanisms were also proposed, these included: developing new awareness and finding a language to communicate. 

Main conclusions: A focus on developing new awareness and increased insight into self are important outcomes for therapy and need to be clearly communicated as such. Future research should include further exploration of the key themes identified and the client developing increased reflective functioning as a key change mechanism during dramatherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-185
Number of pages12
JournalArts in Psychotherapy
Volume55
Early online date4 Jun 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • client perspectives
  • dramatherapy
  • grounded theory
  • therapeutic change processes

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