DRAMATHERAPY 
IN THETREATMENT OF PEOPLE 
DIAGNOSED AS SCHIZOPRHRENIC

 
Grupa Teatralna PSYCHE Alkestis [video] Ambulatorium

 
 
DRAMATHERAPY is the use of creative drama to reach therapeutic aims such as relief feeling physical and emotional integration, personality development. Dramatherapy uses theatre as a tool thanks to which we can approach the emotional problems of the patient/client/actor. The afore-said tool   are proposals of exercises, theatrical improvisations and eventually a work on the basis of theatre plays. In the contents of their books appear human problems, conflicts, difficulties and joys. Working on the performance the patient/client/actor penetrates the condensed problems of the drama and has the possibility to refer them to himself. In general they do not differ substantially from their own internal dilemmas.The main goal of this kind of therapy is, generally speaking, the deepening of the self-comprehension, the comprehension of the relationship "me" - world as well as social competencies training.
We endeavour to reach it by working with the patients on:
a) the comprehension of own motives, of other people motives and behaviours, as well as of reactions between "me" and the others analysing and playing the characters of the drama.

b) a better expression of oneself.

c) cognitive functions as: memory, concentration, reflex.

d) the experience of cooperation and responsibility for the task.


The work in the theatre group is based on three elements:

  •  The structure
  •  The fictitious character of the represented world
  •  Fun
  • The structure created by the book of the performance, which is, in general, an abbreviated and somewhat modified version of the play chosen; a fixed place of group meetings;  the time established for rehearsals; the determined lasting of a project; the parts chosen to be played; the proposals of the director.

    The fictitious character of the represented world the consciousness of which is a key element of the dramatherapy. The reality of the drama is discussed in detail in the course of the first meetings devoted to the reading of the piece. The discussion of the characters and their problems takes place all over the period of rehearsals when working on the respective scenes. This seems to be fundamental because of the recently undergone psychosis and of the consequent decay of borders between reality and unreality.
    Emphasising the existing borders of "me", of the played role - to distance the character is one of the fundamental tasks of the therapeutist on his work with the theatre group.
    The discernment between the real and the theatrical is indispensable to avoid the renewal of the breaking of  the borders. The discussion of the character performed, the comprehension of his behaviours, thoughts and feelings, the reflection of own feelings waked by the role and the acting are not only a way of self-knowledge, but also to distance the performed world. The consciousness of its fictitious character brings forth a feeling of safety and gives the opportunity to try new behaviours.

    Fun  is also a means consciously applied by the therapeutists in their care about the liberation of energies inside of the group by creating a good atmosphere and a feeling of safety. As most of the group members are patients affected with a negative syndrome ( low mood, withdrawal, lost of energy) it is not an easy task. Nevertheless, when the group becomes coherent and its members start to cooperate, every meeting gets impregnated with  jesting and although not  everybody can or wants joke, everybody can  laugh together.
    An  indispensable element of the groups work is that therapeutists close assist the actors in their confrontation
    with the role and strengthen them properly as they are overcoming  the difficulties of acting.

    In our group there are more proposals of the director then patients spontaneity due to the kind of disorders
    and the often still present negative symptoms of the disease. However it is to be noticed that patients playing
    the leading roles are the most benefited by their  participation  in the group. Probably the great concentration
    on  the person playing a protagonist role, the large amount of time consecrated to her/him, the attention
    of the director  and of the group result in a colossal strengthening,  which effect has many times been a total
    remission of symptoms at those persons and the comeback to the so called normal life – starting a job, studies,
    entering into sexual relationship, etc.
     

                                                                                                                         Anna Bielańska & Krzysztof  Rogoż
     

    Grupa Teatralna PSYCHE Alkestis [video] Ambulatorium