Dramatherapy uses role play, voice work, movement and storytelling to help clients explore and solve personal and social problems.
Training and qualifications required
To be a dramatherapist you need professional experience in an area of therapy or health care. This may be from working in, for example, nursing, social work, special needs or psychotherapy. Or you may have voluntary experience of working with people in a therapeutic setting. To practise as a dramatherapist, you must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a dramatherapist. You need to have taken an approved postgraduate qualification in dramatherapy. Courses can be full time or part time and take between one and three years. A level 7 apprenticeship for arts therapists (art therapists/art psychotherapists, dramatherapists and music therapists) has also been approved for delivery.
Expected working hours and salary range
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.
Desirable skills and values
Dramatherapists need a range of skills, including creativity, being non judgemental, resilient in dealing with other people’s strong emotions and sensitive and mature. They also need theatre skills and ideas, excellent communication skills, being able to work with people from all walks of life and being able to reflect on their own emotions.
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.