How to become a Dramatherapist. Read through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about this career.
What does a Dramatherapist do?
As a dramatherapist you would use group work and role-play to encourage people to come to terms with feelings and emotions. You would help clients to develop their imagination and the creative side of their personality, as well as their personal strengths.
You would use a range of methods to bring about positive change and psychological healing in your clients. You would encourage people to:
- work as part of a group
- form one-to-one relationships
- express what they feel and think about the world around them
- act out situations in a safe and non-judgemental environment.
You would use various techniques with clients, which may involve drawing on their own experiences, or using traditional myths and stories, mime or puppetry and masks.
You would usually work closely with other professionals such as psychologists, social workers, teachers and other therapy specialists.
Your typical working hours would be between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, although some jobs may involve evening or weekend sessions. Part-time and freelance work is common.
You could work in a variety of places such as schools, hospitals, prisons and day centres, depending on your client group. You may need to travel to different locations throughout your working day.
How much does a Dramatherapist earn?
Salary and pay information:
- A newly qualified full-time dramatherapist in the NHS can earn between £25,500 and £34,200 a year.
- With experience this can rise to around £46,600 a year.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
To work as a dramatherapist you need a Masters qualification approved by the British Association of Dramatherapists (BADth), followed by registration with the Health Professions Council (HPC). See the BADth and HPC websites for details of course providers.
The entry requirements for a Masters in Dramatherapy are likely to include:
- a degree in a related subject, such as drama or psychology
- practical drama experience
- voluntary or paid experience helping people overcome problems or difficulties.
To get on to an undergraduate degree you will usually need five GCSEs (A-C) plus two A levels (subjects of particular relevance include drama, psychology and theatre studies). Check with colleges or universities for exact entry details.
You may have an advantage if you have a background in an area such as teaching, acting, community or social work.
Training and Development
Once you are on an approved dramatherapy course you will work in groups to develop practical drama and theatre skills. You will also cover subjects such as:
- psychological and therapeutic principles and practices
- art, music, dance and play therapies
- dramatherapy practice
- personal development.
You will be assessed throughout the course and you will also be expected to undergo personal therapy. After completing the course, you can join the BADth as a full member.
As a practising dramatherapist, you are expected to have regular supervision sessions with an experienced therapist (who is also a trained supervisor). You will also need to keep your skills and knowledge up-to-date, for example by attending short courses and workshops (check the BADth website for details).
- British Association of Dramatherapists
Skills and Knowledge
- excellent communication skills
- the ability to relate to people from all backgrounds
- an interest in drama and theatrical work
- a genuine desire to help people
- a non-judgemental attitude
- creativity, intuition and imagination
- a flexible and adaptable approach
- a good understanding of the principles and practice of therapy
- patience and commitment
- emotional strength, with the ability to cope with challenging situations
- respect for confidentiality.
You will find most jobs in the NHS and local authorities. You could also find work with voluntary organisations, the Prison Service, and in private practice. Work opportunities will often depend on organisations gaining funding for particular projects.
With experience, you could go on to lead a team of therapists or manage a unit, however, many dramatherapists work on a freelance basis.
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