Dramatherapy for Victims of Domestic Violence
Dramatherapy can offer many benefits to those who have experienced the trauma of domestic abuse or violence.
Often the psychological effects of such an experience may be buried deep within the unconscious and as such may not be accessible through talk therapies alone. Many women will have been locked in a cycle of avoidance and may not be ready or willing to address issues directly. Working through the mediums of drama and movement can therefore encourage clients to explore feelings and emotions at a distance from their own experience, with the art form providing a strong container for the work. The nature of the approach means that clients are not forced to consider the implications of the work immediately but rather are left to integrate these into their psyche when they are ready to do so. This works to ensure that clients in a fragile emotional state are not overwhelmed by the need to make immediate changes to their life or to process all of these difficult feelings and emotion at once.
Domestic abuse and violence can leave women with a poor sense of self and their own identity. Dramatherapy uses storytelling and character work to encourage clients to explore different aspects of themselves. This can then build confidence and self esteem.
The trauma of domestic violence is often experienced somatically, causing women to disconnect from their body or feel a loss of control or ownership of it. Movement can be an important tool in helping women reconnect with themselves at this level, providing a space for them to explore their changing relationship to their self and the other through the body. Movement can also be used to explore feelings which are not yet able to be expressed verbally.
Living with domestic violence can leave people isolated from family and friends. Group dramatherapy sessions can help women re connect with others and can provide valuable support, especially during transitional periods. Similarly 1:1 work can offer an opportunity for exploration of complex issues and the opportunity to form relationships and begin establishing trust on a 1:1 level.
Dramatherapy can also provide support for men, children and young people who have experienced domestic abuse and or violence, with the focus on working through the art form making it accessible to all ages.