Dramatherapy and children (See below for a factsheet for children to read)
I have 16 years experience working with children and young people. I have 13 years experience as a Drama teacher both in primary and secondary including special needs, 5 years as a Dramatherapist. Currently, and for the last three years , I have worked in the NHS alongside CAMHS, Children in care and the Family Plus Team. I have worked with many children/young people with different abilities and needs. I began my career as a Teacher Assistant and then trained to be a teacher. Over the years I noticed how many children and young people were not achieving their full potential due to their emotional and mental health well being dismissed.
I had many young people over the years disclose all kinds of trauma from separating parents, bullying in school to sexual and domestic violence within the home. Whatever that particular child or young person had/was experiencing effected their everyday life considerably. Some struggled with shame and low self esteem, some struggled with relationships, some just could not cope and would revert to self harming, drugs and alcohol to help numb their emotional responses, some were excluded or who permanently in trouble both within school and outside and some were so quiet they would become unnoticed.
These young people in their own way were showing the outside world they were struggling.
Working with children, play is an essential part of how they develop, learn and communicate. It is impossible when working with children of any age and in any capacity not to notice how important drama and play is to their every day life. Drama and play are a crucial part of healthy human development, and it is for this reason that Dramatherapy can be an effective form of intervention to help troubled children and young people.
When children and young people are faced with difficulties it may be hard for them to express their feelings in a verbal way, but through the creative mediums of drama, play, story, art, music and movement, Dramatherapy can help them to be understood and can promote their emotional and social wellbeing.
As a Dramatherapist I am trained in understanding the conscious and unconscious communication of young people. Through the relationship the young person is able to experience a secure and trusting relationship in which to explore and find an understanding of their experiences. I have experience with working with children/young people with attachment difficulties.
As a Dramatherapist I gained a Master's Degree from Roehampton University, London. I am a person centred therapist regulated by the HCPC and BADth and attend regular supervision . I use Carl Rogers 'Core conditions’ as a basis for my work. These ‘core' conditions are 'empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard’ (Rogers, C 1952). This means the child is at the centre of the work and I work alongside the young person to explore their internal world how they wish too. This might be through drama and the metaphor but it may also be through art work, sand tray, singing, writing, text,movement and playing with a range of different toys. Children are creative and I work alongside their creativity to help them use their chosen medium to help them find a resolution/coherant story and understanding.
I am trained in Attachment theory, Trauma and Child development.
Both in my private practice and my freelance work in organisations I have a wide range of toys, figures, puppets, masks, costumes, props, games, art materials and tactile materials for use in Dramatherapy sessions I can provide one to one, small group, sibling group, parent & child and family Dramatherapy both privately at my practice and on a freelance basis to schools, clinics and organisations.
Referrals can come from Parents & Carers, Teachers, SENCOs, Teaching assistants, Doctors, Psychologists and other staff in children’s settings and reasons for referral cover a wide range of circumstances.
They can include;
Emotional Issues such as trauma, abuse, loss or bereavement, attachment issues, bullying, changes in home life such as foster care and adoption.
Behavioural Issues such as violent behaviour towards others, anger issues, bullying, swearing, destruction of property, stealing, self harm.
Learning Difficulties mild, moderate, severe, profound and complex including those on the Autistic Spectrum.
Speech & Communication Difficulties including non verbal and children who suffer from Selective Mutism..
Social Issues such as the need to improve empathy, listening skills, ability in working with other children, interaction with others, expressing feelings.
Mental Health Issues such as depression, suicidal thoughts and eating disorders amongst others.
If you need more information then please do contact me either through email or by phoning.
Factsheet especially for children and young people
Dramatherapy takes place in a room with lots of different materials such as costumes, puppets, art materials with a trained Dramatherapist. The sessions are about you exploring what you want to, this may be done through creating stories, making or drawing things, creating a drama physically or through puppets. It’s about giving you the space to be heard and to be understood.
When we watch films or soaps we often have feelings about the characters or what is happening. Drama can be very useful in helping us understand how we feel about something. In the sessions we might create stories to help explain what you are feeling and how others can help you.
The sessions are confidential and no one will be told what you do in sessions unless you decide to tell someone. f you would like your parent or carer in the session with you this is welcome.These sessions are there to help you.
Why do young people see a Dramatherapist?
There are many different reasons for seeing a Dramatherapist.
Sometimes when young people are growing up, changes in their lives at home, school with family, carers or friends make them behave differently or have feelings that make them very sad, angry, hurt and jealous. It may be hard to talk and think about how you feel.
Dramatherapy can be a useful in helping you to understand your feelings.
Dramatherapy is a secure and understanding place to go when things in life seem very unsafe and changeable.
Do I have to be good at Drama?
No you don’t have to be good at Drama. It might be that you create stories and do not actually ‘act’ it out. It might be that you draw or write these stories. It is about using the activities to express your feelings.
When and where will I see the Dramatherapist
You will see the same Dramatherapist for each appointment- normally once a week in the same room at the Ponsanooth Community Hall or a desiganted safe space that has been chosen by your carer or the organisation that has referred you.
Who will know that I am doing Dramatherapy?
The person who referred you, this may be your parents, carers, doctor, social worker or someone working with you. They will know that you have been offered Dramatherapy.
Dramatherapy is a private space for you to tell the Dramatherapist about yourself. The Dramatherapist will have to tell someone else if you or someone you know has been hurt or is at risk of being hurt. The Dramatherapist will speak to you about this before she passes this information on. This is to keep you safe.
What do I say to my friends and other people?
You can tell people you are doing Dramatherapy if you want to. We can think together about ways to say you what you want about Dramatherapy to different people. If you don’t want to tell anyone then this is ok too.
What happens if I don’t like Dramatherapy?
If you are not happy doing Dramatherapy we want you to talk to us about this. We can find another way to help you.