Completed Master Theses in Drama Therapy
New York University
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Burch, Darci (2015)The Space Between Us All: The Performance of Dissociation in the Drama Therapy Relationship
Abstract: This study explores the phenomenon of dissociation and its appearance and effect in the clinical treatment space. Review of relevant literature shows that this phenomenon is underrepresented in drama therapy research, as well as highly debated in regards to presentation, severity, and definition within other mental health fields. This project includes interviews with clinicians around their experience and understanding of dissociation in the treatment space. These interviews were crafted into an ethnodramatic script that was used for performance in order to understand dissociation and its impact on the therapeutic relationship. This data is analyzed and discussed to better understand the presentation of dissociation from both the client and the therapist. This thesis finds that dissociation by therapist and client are common in the treatment space; performance of dissociation may assist clinicians in their understanding of the phenomenon, their client’s experience, and their own experience of dissociation; and drama therapists may benefit from community dialogue and additional training on dissociation to reduce stigma, shame, and denial.
Keywords: dissociation, ethnodrama, ethnotheatre, performance enquiry, arts-based research, drama therapy, intersubjective space
DeAngelis, Jon (2015)Director Says to the Therapist…: Dialoguing a Therapeutic Theatre Performance Through Multiple Roles
Abstract:Therapeutic theater is a broad and evolving form of drama therapy that includes many methods, approaches and styles. Its intentions and purposes are firmly rooted in drama therapy while its frame, model of aesthetics, and practice are descended from ritualistic ceremonies and theatre that have existed for millennia. As an interdisciplinary approach to healing through community activity, therapeutic theatre provides a rich and abundant variety of options to achieve its goals. Through art-based research, this paper investigates the therapeutic value of one such performance, a play based on the author-researcher’s traumatic experience. Using narrative inquiry, along with constructivist theoretical models of role theory as applied by Robert Landy, and the dialogical self theory of Hermans, the author-researcher presents narrative restorying through his multiple roles, having been client-survivor, the student-therapist, director of the play, and witness. The research shows how these roles alternately conflicted and synchronized, and dynamically interrelated in humorous, heartbreaking, and reflective ways, always coming from a place of creativity and renewal. Believing that all participants of therapeutic theatre performance are to be held within the goals of safety, growth and change, clients of all types, then, can assume any role under appropriate guidance for a therapeutic experience. The application of this research will be useful to those who wish to put this idea into practice.
Hilt, Lisa (2015).I Don’t Feel Naked: Utilizing Drama Therapy Supervision to Explore
the Influence of Client Clothing on Countertransference
Abstract: This paper explores the effects of patient clothing on the countertransference of an emerging drama therapist. This phenomenon was researched through the identification of patient roles based on their clothing. Once roles were identified, a creative clinical supervision took place utilizing drama therapy techniques. The emerging drama therapist embodied each role through role-playing and then reflected on the experience in role as the clinician. The creative supervision process was documented through photography. The photos were then displayed to communicate the data through arts based research. This study shows the effect of a clinician enroling as patient on the increased awareness of the clinician’s countertransference and expansion of patient understanding.
Jen, Wanning (2015)Role profiles for Taiwanese students
Abstract:This research focuses on the role profiles associated with Taiwanese internationalstudents while acculturating in the United States. Utilizing a role card sort, 26 Taiwanese students sorted out 58 role cards into four categories: This is who I am, This is who can help me, This is who I want to be, This is who gets in my way. Based on role theory (Landy, 1993) and acculturation framework (Berry, 1997) this research indicates that the salient roles are: perfectionist (This is who I am), ignorant person (This is who gets in my way) under separation strategy. Separation strategy denotes an acculturative behavior in which Taiwanese international students are only interested in maintaining their Taiwanese cultural identity and refrain from contact with American culture. On the other hand, the salient roles under integration strategy are free person (This is who I want to be), and critic (This is who can help me). Unlike separation strategy, integration strategy refers to Taiwanese students who are interested in contact with both American and Taiwanese culture.
Kaynan, Barbara (2015) Clinician as Director: Facilitating intersections of therapy and theatre in drama therapy
Abstract:This phenomenological study is aimed at illuminating the experience of clinician as director of therapeutic theatre in the drama therapy treatment setting. Interviews with drama therapists and applied theatre artists revealed in-depth considerations of the director’s role, function, relationships, responsibilities, and axiological approach.
Lee, Katherine (2015)Drama Therapy and Attachment Theory in Dialogue: The Countertransferential Experience of Surrogacy in the Treatment Space
Abstract:The author investigates the interplay between drama therapy and attachment theory. She presents a literature review of current research in the fields of attachment theory, early trauma, and creative arts therapies. Through narrative and arts-based inquiry approaches, she examines her countertransferential experiences working with children and families in an urban pediatric medical hospital through the lenses of role theory and attachment theory. Her data consist of personal journal entries and embodied role sorts which investigate the qualities of secure, avoidant, ambivalent, and disorganized attachment styles, as well as the role of the surrogate attachment figure. These data are examined for commonalities, differences, themes, and narratives. The author synthesizes these data to draw conclusions about the relevance of attachment theory to drama therapy as well as the role of the clinician as a surrogate attachment figure. Findings and directions for future research are explored.
Lee Soy, Natardia(2015). Illuminating Resistance in Adolescent Girls through a Drama
Abstract: A drama therapy performance elucidates the ethic of care that shapes the roles that girls perform. The cultural conserve influences the ethic of care, which shapes the roles that girls perform. This master’s thesis used therapeutic theatre to examine the phenomenological experience of girls and women to answer the question: How can a drama therapy performance illuminate the authentic interpersonal connections among adolescent girls? The Master’s Thesis performance used Lois Weaver’s The Long Table to invite the audience to participate in a conversation about the voices of girls. In doing so, the performance revealed that understanding the cultural conserve and using Landy’s Role Method deepens the understanding of girls and the women they become for the drama therapist.
Key words: role theory/role method, therapeutic theatre, drama therapy performance, roles, authentic connections and ethic of care
Perryman, Ashley (2015)Like a Virgin: A Drama Therapy Exploration of the Role of Virgin and its Subtypes
Abstract: This thesis will explore the role of the virgin and how people define virginity and, consequently, sex. The topics of virginity and sex vary widely and this thesis will explore different western perspectives around the topic. I will use western plays involving virgin characters and use the data to subjectively assign subtypes to the role of virgin. The subtypes along with its quality and function allow for a deeper and greater understanding of the single role of virgin. The role is experienced in many different ways and effects many different parts of our lives. Lastly, I will explore how the use of this role in the clinical space can open up significant dialogue with many different populations by addressing the question how will the inclusion of the role of the virgin enhance Robert Landy’s taxonomy of Roles?
Steklov, Nikolai (2015) Validity of a Card Sort Assessment Instrument in Drama Therapy
Abstract:Role Profiles is a drama therapy tool developed by Robert Landy to assess a client's personality structure. Role Profiles employs a card sorting task and is based onLandy's Role Theory and Role Method of drama therapy. Role Profiles has promise of being a versatile clinical assessment instrument with applications in drama therapy treatment, research, and possibly in other mental healthcare fields as well. However, Role Profiles has not been sufficiently validated to modern scientific and clinical standards.
This mixed methods exploratory study attempts to measure the validity of Role Profiles by using an analogous previously validated card sorting tool developed in self psychology. For the purposes of measuring validity, an online IRB approved custom card sort task was designed and administered to 100 participants selected from the drama therapy mailing list register.Results of this research indicate that Role Profiles may be a valid measure of personality structure and the role system under certain conditions. In its current state,Role Profiles is most valid in assessing individuals already familiar with drama therapy.
Results indicate that Role Profiles can change the way a person unfamiliar with drama therapy thinks about themselves, potentially changing their personality structure. As such, Role Profiles may be acting as a therapeutic intervention, rather than as assessment instrument, for individuals unfamiliar with drama therapy and Role Theory. The findings of this research suggest that Role Profiles is a flexible and robust instrument, which may be adapted to function both as an assessment instrument and as a clinical intervention, depending on the specific population and the needs of the client.
Wade, Cameron (2015)From Whence I Came: Performing Change in an Addicted Family System
Abstract:This paper synthesizes the processes and results of an art-based research project thatasked the question, how can the collaborative process of making and performing a piece of,therapeutic theatre affect change in the relationships among family members living with the trauma of addiction and inform the praxis of drama therapy? The study focused on the researcher’s lived experience of the interpersonal and intrapersonal dynamics of familial relationships in a system impacted by addiction which is understood in this context as a collective experience of trauma. Through autoethnographic examination of the ways addiction shaped her family system, the researcher aimed to record and analyze the relational shifts which occurred throughout the course of the study in the process of theatre-making and performance. An additional goal of this paper will be to highlight the connections between this study and current drama therapy theories and approaches and discuss implications for further research and future practice.
Brathwaite, Karline (2014). ‘Come leh we play mas!: An Exploration of Drama
Therapy and TrinYesdian Carnival
Abstract :The study is informed by the need for cross cultural sensitivity and awareness in the practice of Drama Therapy. The author explores one way in which Drama Therapy can be culturally relevant and responsive to diverse populations in which it may be situated. Trinidad and Tobago is a West Indian society in which mental illness and accessing therapy are stigmatized. Mental illnesses are not regarded differently from medical diseases and are rationalized in ways influenced by the interplay of religious/spiritual ideologies and the folklore of the island. When juxtaposed with the metropolitan philosophies and values related to mental health in the United States of America, the direct imposition of Drama Therapy can be problematic. As such this study identified the Trinidadian Carnival as a bridge to an understanding of Drama Therapy within the context of this West Indian Society. As a phenomenological study, the author questions in what ways Drama therapy can inform a therapeutic understanding of Trinidadian Carnival. Through the deconstruction of the Carnival and meta-analysis of literature in the fields of Drama Therapy and Performance Studies, the author has identified the performative nature of Mas as a substantial area for further analysis that can inform the therapeutic use of theatrical performance in Drama Therapy. More specifically, a deconstruction of the performance of traditional Carnival characters can facilitate an understanding of the therapeutic use of role play and the utility of Role Theory as a therapeutic framework to the conceptualization of Mental Health and Wellness.
Clay, Ida (2104). New Perspective: Drama Therapy and the Stages of Change Model in
Recovery from Addictions
Abstract: This thesis looks at the therapeutic value of utilizing performance-based inquiry though arts based research to connect one’s personal story of healing to the five stage recovery model of addiction. The literature review begins by first looking at Transtheoretical Model of Change, which contains the five stages of change for recovery. A close look is taken into the links between trauma and addiction, along with information on recovery through the use of Alcoholics Anonymous. Motivational Interviewing connected to change in relation to other approaches used in the performance are discussed. Drama therapy is then chronicled from the perspective of Landy’s Role Theory, and the importance of embodiment in Psychodrama, Self-Revelatory Performance and Rehearsals for Growth.
The author then presents an overview of her own experience developing a self-revelatory performance as part of her recovery from addiction. Journal entries detailing the experience are presented, as is the final script. Implications for the field of drama therapy are offered to the reader.
Keywords: drama therapy, transtheoretical model of change, the five stages of change, alcohol use, addiction, motivational interviewing, self-revelatory performance.
Como, Amber (2014). Theatre as Therapy: An Exploration of the Liminal Space
between Character and Actor/Client
Abstract: This thesis presents a phenomenological study exploring the experiences of ten graduate students who completed Dr. Robert J. Landy’s final project in his “Introduction to Drama Therapy” course at New York University in the Fall of 2012. This project asked participants to perform a cutting of a published play (i.e. a piece of traditional aesthetic theatre) in small groups and then to stay in role as whatever character they had just played and deliver a devised monologue using the theatrical role as a guide to examine a more personal struggle. This research uses role theory and the role method of drama therapy to explore participants’ experiences of this phenomenon in order to examine how playing a theatrical role opens up the liminal space of “me” and “not me,” providing aesthetic distance which allows for an unveiling of identity. Through this study, this research looks at reading, witnessing, and embodying traditional aesthetic theatre on a spectrum of distance, posits a therapeutic benefit of playing a traditional theatrical role, and suggests an expansion of Stephen Snow’s definition of therapeutic theatre which he defines as a piece of theatre that is developed with therapeutic intentions and goal-setting in mind; facilitated by a therapist skilled in drama or a drama therapist; brought to culmination in a performance for a community beyond the social sphere of the therapeutic group itself; and finally processed by the group post performance to include traditional aesthetic theatre.
Dixon, H. Brooke (2014). Revealing the Invisible Healers: How Therapeutic Theatre
Could Impact Direct Support Professionals
Abstract: The research explores the potential impact of creating a therapeutic theatre piece with individuals serving as direct support professionals. This was accomplished by surveying relevant literature and completing an ethnographic/autoethnographic study to gain a deeper understanding of those who work within the field of direct support as well as pin point major needs within the community of direct support professionals. Drama therapy in the form of therapeutic theatre was also examined to determine how it could potentially meet the needs discovered. The information was examined through the lens of role theory and utilized the taxonomy of roles as created by Robert Landy as a tool. The culmination of the research is a set of criteria for a therapeutic theatre piece crafted from the information gleaned and discoveries made. The conclusion reached is that therapeutic theatre could indeed impact direct support professionals in a positive way and help to meet previouslyunmet need within the community.
Finder, Allison (2014). The Long Goodbye of Acute Care: Exploring the Significance of
Closure in the Practice of Drama Therapy
Guerrieri, Alexandra Baer (2014). Reflections on Clients with Schizophrenia:A