Bristol & The South West

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Drama as a Therapeutic Tool in the Classroom 

How do I fit in?  Why does this happen to me? What is my place in my family? Why do I act the way I do? How do I understand my feelings? Why doesn’t anybody understand?

Growing up can be extremely overwhelming and confusing at times. Our place in the diverse world can sometime seem like a jigsaw puzzle with so many parts to fit into our lives.

Therapeutic drama in education can help cultivate a young person’s potential for development through creativity, while also developing practical skills of teamwork, leadership, communication and confidence. It is my belief that children, young people and teachers become more inspired and motivated through creative expression. Engaging with issues imaginatively and artistically can help to raise standards of learning, encouraging students to understand their own stories, ideas and choices within the context of their own lives and their place in their community. As well as developing communication through speaking and listening skills, therapeutic drama can foster a sense of self-responsibility, collaboration, communication and compassion, giving young people confidence in their own ideas, abilities and potential.

Therapeutic drama in education helps pupils to explore questions and subjects through a fun and creative skills and exercises, including movement, freeze frame, characterisation and role play. The workshops can conclude in the pupil’s creation of their own devised piece of original theatre illustrating their exploration, their sense of self which can either be private for each other or performed to others. 

Primary and Secondary Schools:

Workshops can be Bespoke, creative days or Weekly reoccurring sessions, focussing on a specific themes and issues including government Educational Initiatives such as Gifted and Talented or SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning).  These can include:

  • Antibulling
  • Transition
  • Drugs Awareness
  • Confidence & Team Building
  • Peer Issues & Relationship  Education
  • Conflict Resolution

PRU’s, PLC's and Specialist Provisions

Drama as a therapeutic tool is particularly invaluable for those in fear of or lacking an ‘emotional language’ or vocabulary. It can be a tool to explore with those who won’t or don’t know how communicate. It offers a space to consider and look at what is difficult for them, be it social issues, family dynamics, challenging behaviour or personal choices.

The initial intention for the individual or the group is to create a safe space in which the pupil can feel supported, identified and empathised with, giving them the space and freedom to relate to their experience without fear of judgement. Play and creative exploration together can help each individual to feel less lonely in their experience, setting a foundation of trust by being listened to and understood. Once confidence and shared trust has been built, the pupil can feel supported in working through their emotions creatively in an objective space where they can express themselves without the pressure of “talking about their feelings, developing the ability to relate to their experience in a way which helps them to develop emotionally.

The theme or ‘content’ of the sessions can be as varied as needed. It can be an organic process arising from the group dynamics an individual’s present situation or a previously agreed upon issue needing to be addressed. Each session will be held within the structure of drama games, exercises and routines to enable the student(s) to feel safe, confident and free of judgement using playfulness and imagination to reduce any anxiety of addressing certain issues directly.


Venue & Timings: Session to be held during school hours on school property. A large, private room with space to move is preferred.

Individual Pupils: Sessions can vary between 40 minutes to 1 hour depending on the student’s timetable.

  • Age Range: 6 -17 years
  • Duration: Weekly or Fortnightly for a minimum of 10 sessions. Longer periods can be negotiated as needed. All periods of work include an assessment and initial session and are reviewed on completion.

Group Workshops: These can range between 2 - 4 hours, a school day (9am – 3pm) or week long, daily workshops. Regular weekly, monthly or fortnightly sessions are also possible.

  • Age Range: 8 -17 years.Groups are best organised according to age or Key Stage group.
  • Size of Group:The ideal group size is 15 pupils. A smaller group is more effective when addressing intimate or personal themes. Groups should be no larger than 30.

Assessment and Parental Consent: All Individual Session pupils must have parental consent to be organized an undertaken by the school or provision. Parental consent for Groups is at the discretion of the Senior Management Team.




Rosie Strain Dramatherapist

Websites for Therapists by : YouCan Consulting