Acting Out: Role-playing in Drama Therapy

“Yes, the theatre can play an enormous part in the transformation of the whole of existence.” -Vsevolod Meyerhold

Psychodrama was created in the 1920s by Dr. J.L. Moreno, who thought people could gain more from acting out their problems than by talking about them. Clients reenact events and act out problems in an efficient way, gaining new insights into old problems and learning strategies for dealing with current issues. Metaphors are used to give meaning, and techniques like role reversal and mirroring help clients feel empowered to gain confidence in relationships. It’s a very action-oriented therapy, which is great for people who want to do something but aren’t sure where to start!

In a group setting, creative activities help to warm up the group members’ spontaneity. One member is then chosen to explore their story. The group enacts scenes from the member’s life according to that member’s perception. Group members then share what they recognize from their own lives in the drama.

There are surprisingly few drama therapists in the state of Maine, but I did read about a social work student at USM putting together a theatre group with people at the homeless shelter in Portland.

Kate Beever

About Kate Beever

I am a board-certified neurologic music therapist and owner of Maine Music & Health, which provides services and consulting to healthcare and arts agencies throughout the state.