Dramatherapy with Children
Dramatherapy and/or Speech and Language Therapy with children is warranted when there are concerns regarding attention and listening skills, behaviour, communication skills and social and emotional development and these are felt to be impacting significantly on other areas of learning, development as well as overall mental health and well-being. These difficulties might be due to neuro-developmental impairments, attachment difficulties or experience of trauma, abuse, neglect, bullying, bereavement.
Therapy sessions with very young children (under 7) are mainly play based and child led, as the evidence shows that children learn best this way. The therapist enters the child’s imaginative world through being part of their play and learns about how the child thinks, feels and experiences the outer world mirrored in the play. The therapist uses whatever materials the child has chosen or is motivated to work with to further the aims agreed with caregivers and the referrer. These could include cloth (for creating a world, dressing up in etc), puppets, small world objects, musical instruments, story books, creative art work, masks and methods involving physicality (role play, ‘sculpts’ movement work) More traditional games may also be utilised where felt to be beneficial. Sessions can be individual or conducted in small groups – this should be discussed with the relevant professionals and caregivers involved.
Therapy sessions with older children between the ages of 7-11 years and can also be child centred and play based or more structured depending on what is needed – again this can be discussed with the referrer and determined through the assessment process.
Depending on the goals being targeted, home practice tasks may be given and it is a condition of the therapy process that the carers commit to trying to carry these out with their child.