Therapeutic Sealing with Drama Therapy: An Integration of Theatrical Catharsis and Scientific Practice 公开

Wulff, Elise Weiner (2009)

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Therapeutic Sealing with Drama Therapy: An Integration of Theatrical Catharsis and Scientific Practice

By Elise W. Wulff

The therapeutic practices of medical science and art evoke catharsis, but the healing efficacy of theater is ignored when compared to that of psychotherapy. Perhaps the distinctions between the therapeutic transformations are in the respective methods of catharsis; psychotherapy explicitly pursues medical healing with clinical exercises that target the patient's specific anxiety while theater creates an aesthetic experience with the capabilities of implicit healing. The need to integrate the therapeutic practices of both is evident in contemporary manifestations of theater and psychology: applied theater and psychodrama. Applied theater encourages transformative experiences that seek to improve the human condition through imaginative exercises. The principles of applied theater are founded upon the long held notion that theater is an educational medium and, thus, can transform human behavior. Psychodrama is psychology's permutation of the need for interdisciplinary therapy and it shares much of the theoretical foundation of applied theater, although it claims independent existence. Psychodrama is based in psychoanalytic theory; the decisions that patients make during psychodrama sessions reflect internal struggles, and the revelation of the conflict is a step towards healing. In method, both applied theater and psychodrama require the patient to be a participant-observer and role-play with others in the group to reveal anxieties and evoke transformative healing. I argue that drama therapy is a concrete manifestation of the successful synergistic healing efficacy of integrating medical science and art. Drama therapy uses predominantly improvised role-playing exercises similar to applied theater and psychodrama to address issues of life transitions, clinical illness, social anxieties, social deficits, rehabilitation, mental and physical disabilities, and personal expressivity. Drama therapy is an eclectic framework that incorporates the psychological paradigms of behaviorism, humanism, and psychoanalysis. Recent empirical literature suggests that creative arts therapies are some of the most effective transformative interventions. Moreover, applying the empirical method of science to the creative exercises of theater will benefit both disciplines and provide further proof that the therapeutic benefits of medical science and art are equally relevant for transformative healing.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Therapeutic Capacities of Scientific Practices and Art _____ p.1

Chapter 1: The Implicit Therapy of Theater ___________________________ p. 8

Chapter 2: Theatrical Practices in Explicitly Scientific Therapy ___________ p. 16

Chapter 3: Drama Therapy: An Integrated Framework __________________ p. 28

Conclusion: The Promising Future of Integrative Therapies ______________ p. 44

Works Cited ___________________________________________________ p. 58

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