Dramatherapy for older adults
This video below, produced by the UK company Roundabout, explores the use of dramatherapy for older adults. Many people are in fact often surprised to learn that dramatherapy can be beneficial to adults as well as to children. Dramatherapists work, in a one-to-one setting or with groups, with people across the life spectrum – from infancy right through the last moments of life. Of course this is done in an age-appropriate way that adapts creative tasks to the needs of the client.
Through the use of stories, movement, rhythm, voice-work, improvisation and dramatic games, and engaging in a reflective process with the therapist, people can be supported to make meaning of their lives, as well as to see things from a different perspective that can be supportive to them to find solutions where they may be feeling stuck.
Dramatherapy supports adults in older age to express emotions, explore challenges and make meaningful connections through creative expression. Often people in the later stages of life are adapting to life changing circumstances; finding a new way of being in their life, and their identity; adapting to physical changes, and coping with changing degrees of independence. They may be struggling with different forms of loss such as the loss of life partners, loss of independence, and the loss of purpose. They may be looking to make peace and reconcile themselves with aspects of their lives that may be disturbing them. They may be looking to find self-worth in their current moment in life, as well as connecting with the worth of the lives they have lived and are living – to accept who they have been, and to find meaning in who they are still becoming.
A lot of work engaging older adults is done supporting them to look back on their lives; dramatherapy focuses on the present moment and supports people to connect with who they are now. Dramatherapy works also through non-verbal media and therefore can betherapeutically supportive to people who are not able to engage in verbal or reflective processes.
Dramatherapy offers a meaningful, positive and creative space to meet and explore these themes through the relationship with the therapist and, in group therapy, with other group members.
In a group setting, people can find support from listening to and sharing with other people who may share a similar story, and to form new and enriching connections. In a one-to-one setting, a person may be further supported to explore themes at a deeper level through feeling safe within the confidential and empathic context of the relationship with the therapist.