Dramatherapy with Adolescents
Adolescence is a time of change and transition from childhood and adulthood in all areas of development. Young people are developing their sense of identity and trying on new personas and roles. They are becoming acutely aware of their bodies particularly in the area of sexuality. It can be a chaotic and turbulent age of experimentation and conformism where they may confidently rebel against perceived authority while feeling vulnerable and exposed, seeking safety within their peer group. Their peer group are thus often more important to them at this stage than their family group and if they don't fit in, they can end up feeling isolated and depressed.
Adolescents who have experienced trauma, abuse or neglect in their early years, in turn,often have poorly developed attachment which has the consequence of risk behaviour, emotional and behavioural difficulties and difficulties forming healthy relationships in later years. In addition, those adolescents who have communication or learning difficulties will experience the same issues with transition but may be more vulnerable as they struggle to express themselves or fully understand the repartee of their peers.
Young people in these situations can benefit from a separate, confidential, safe, space which is held regularly and consistently for them to share their feelings and thoughts, establish trust with a non-judgemental adult, explore attachment and their relationships and their emerging adult self. The non-verbal, creative aspects of Dramatherapy combined with the more structured and practical strategies of Speech and Language Therapy, offer another, often richer, expressive language – a creative one of visual, physical and sensory forms – which is often more suitable for those young people who struggle to express themselves verbally.