Dramatherapy for Dementia
Dramatherapy has many benefits for clients with Dementia. Dramatherapy sessions are highly focused interactions, offering clients emotional support, building social contact and involvement on different levels.
The Alzheimer’s Society’s “Dementia Knowledge Centre” has details of some recent research into the benefits of Dramatherapy for dementia suffers, search for “Dramatherapy”.
In Dramatherapy, different senses are utilised through touch, music and movement to enable different parts of the brain to be utilised and stimulated. Dramatherapy works with the part of the client that is still functioning and well, building self-esteem, retaining a sense of empowerment over oneself, and promoting independence. The sessions are highly structured and consistent, allowing for concentration to come and go. This helps clients to continue with social contact even if they might not be able to participate in other groups.
As Dramatherapy is client-centred, clients have control over how they participate and by how much. Working with stories, for example, allows the clients the opportunity to remember their own stories, memories, and add imaginatively to the group. This provides an open creative outlet for the client to continue in their life. The sessions are confidential so the clients can feel confident in expressing feelings and thoughts that they may not in everyday life, particularly as the Dramatherapist is not one of their regular staff members or carers, but is present specifically for a therapeutic purpose.
Dramatherapy sessions allow for the expression of a range of emotions including frustration, depression, and anger surrounding the client’s Dementia and loss. Providing an appropriate setting for the release of difficult emotions, and the intensity of the interaction with the therapist, enables carers to feel less burdened with the psychological and emotional requirements of the clients because these needs are met by a therapist. The sessions are a time and space that is specifically dedicated and focused on the client and their psychological needs on that particular day. Dramatherapy has elements of playfulness, fun and can be an enjoyable activity to add to client’s activity plan for the week.