Dramatherapy uses role play, voice work, movement and storytelling to help clients explore and solve personal and social problems.
This page has information on the role of an dramatherapist with links to further information.
You'll use the healing aspects of drama and theatre to help people explore and reflect on their feelings. You'll offer people the opportunity to change by experimenting with different ways of thinking, feeling and behaving.
You may use puppets, masks or stories to help their clients. Another technique is role play where clients can try out alternative behaviours and strategies. Clients learn more about their own behaviour and reactions to other people. This helps them to understand social situations and deal with them more assertively.
You'll create a secure environment which helps people have some fun while building their self awareness and self confidence.
You'll work with people of all ages - children, young people adults and the elderly. Your clients may have a range of difficulties such as emotional, behavioural or mental health problems, learning or physical disabilities, life-limiting conditions, neurological conditions or physical illnesses. You'll also work in a variety of settings, such as:
- the NHS
- social services
- education (primary, secondary, further and special education)
- private practice
You'll work one to one or in groups, depending on the needs of the client. You may work with other professionals including medical and healthcare staff, teachers or prison and probation staff.
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Pay and conditions
Dramatherapists in the NHS work standard hours, which are likely to be around 37.5 a week. They usually start at band 6 of the Agenda for Change pay rates. They may work some evenings. Elsewhere, the working hours will depend on where they work. In education, for example, they may work school hours. Prison work may involve early starts.
Self-employed dramatherapists’ hours of work depend on client needs. They may work evenings and weekends to suit private clients.
Some dramatherapists have to travel between client appointments.
Where the role can lead
Once qualified, you'll often join the British Association of Dramatherapists (BADth). You'll have to keep your skills and knowledge up to date with annual continuing professional development (CPD). BADth runs courses, conferences and seminars where you can exchange ideas and update your skills.
You could specialise to work with a particular type of client such as children, the elderly or offenders. Or you could become a specialist in a particular issue such as dementia, mental health or palliative care.
You could decide to become self-employed and build up a private practice. You could do this alongside employed work.
As an experienced practitioner, you could become a senior or consultant dramatherapist, managing the work of a team of therapists. You could become the head of an arts therapy department, coordinating the work of therapists from other disciplines such as music or art therapy. You might also train other dramatherapists.
Job market and vacancies
Dramatherapy can be a very competitive field to get into. You may work part time or on a voluntary basis to build up experience before applying for full time employment. In November 2018, there were 4,363 arts therapists (including art, music and dramatherapists) registered with the Health and Care Professions Council
If you're applying for a role either directly in the NHS or in an organisation that provides NHS services, you'll be asked to show how you think the NHS values apply in your everyday work. The same will be true if you are applying for a university course funded by the NHS.
- Further information