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Dramatherapy Research

Dedicated to highlighting empirical research that adds to and further strengthens the field of dramatherapy.

What is Dramatherapy?

Dramatherapy is active and experiential. This approach can provide the context for participants to tell their stories, set goals and solve problems, express feelings, or achieve catharsis. Through drama, the depth and breadth of inner experience can be actively explored and interpersonal relationship skills can be enhanced. The therapy gives equal validity to body and mind within the dramatic context; stories, myths, play texts, puppetry, masks and improvisation are examples of the range of artistic interventions a Drama therapist may employ. Participants can expand their repertoire of dramatic roles to find that their own life roles have been strengthened. Drama therapy allows clients to find relief from their symptoms by giving them a safe space where they can gain perspective on their presenting issue via safe play.

*the definition of drama therapy is a synthesis of definitions from leading organizations in the UK and North America

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Statement of Purpose

The arts in their many forms have existed in a myriad of ways in every culture and community on this planet. The utilisation of the arts (Art Therapy, Dance Movement Psychotherapy, Dramatherapy and Music Therapy) as an alternative or in addition to the talk therapy for symptom relief has long been established as a credible set of tools in which those who can access the Arts Therapies find relief from mental health issues, particularly youth. Much is written on what to consider when utilising these modalities within diverse communities, as well as the intersection of youth in Arts Therapies, but research on the effectiveness of Arts Therapies approaches within these communities is scarce. Within Dramatherapy, empircal research is non-existent. In an age where ‘colonized Other’* communities are being increasingly maligned, marginalized and systematically oppressed, where are the Arts Therapies?

*The term 'colonized Other' refers to communities adversely effected by European colonization

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Mikel Moss is a proud African American man from Ithaca, New York. Mikel is currently a PhD candidate in Global and Cultural Mental Health at the University of Melbourne, a recent Masters of Arts in Education in Clinical Psychology (minors in Global Mental Health and Trauma, Community Psychology, and Research Methods) from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a former Alternative Training Student in Drama Therapy and Counseling Psychology through the North American Drama Therapy Association.

Mikel is residing in Auckland for the rest of his PhD to complete his research. His focus is on the development of empirical mixed method drama therapeutic techniques and researching the best practices for healing and care with ‘colonized Other’ communities (communities that are adversely affected by European colonization).

Mikel is currently developing and researching a new drama therapy approach utilizing Sanford Meisner’s repetition exercise focusing specifically on youth from ‘colonized Other’ communities, and developing/ researching a internally and externally validated and reliable tool to enable better engagement in drama therapy normed on youth from ‘colonized Other’ communities. The tool will assess engagement with performance in everyday life as a precursor to engagement with dramatherapeutic interventions.

Mikel is passionate about creating space for arts therapies research in the broader psychological community.

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