A-Z Teen Health Glossary

My name is Mia Perry and I facilitate the Drama Therapy groups here at Paradigm Malibu. One of my favorite things about drama therapy is that it can be a lot of fun. So, there’re a lot of games and theater exercises to get us loose and moving it into our bodies.

Drama therapy is a whole body experience. Rather than just sitting and talking about something, we’re actually going to be moving through things and experiencing them.

The Process of Drama Therapy

So, the first thing we normally do is a bunch of warm-ups. And that can be everything from the improv games and just kind of silliness and running around and having fun and just getting loose.

Then we go into the main activity of the session. And that usually has to do with whatever somebody’s coming into the group with. So, if somebody, say, is struggling with a family member, then we can make the group about what it’s like to relate to a mother. And then, we can do some role playing and exercises around mother/child relationships as an example.

Other times is someone is dealing with bullying or drug use, really kind of anything. We can create a scenario in which we can practice techniques of what to do in those situations outside of the safety of this group. So, it’s really a way to practice and brainstorm, but really actually be a part of the experience rather than just sitting around and talking about it. Let’s try it out. What if I were to really say this to my mother? What would happen?

The other thing I really like about it is that it can allow us to take a really small part of life and magnify it really large, so that we can see a lot of details that we might not have seen before, might have missed before. Which can really open up new ways of thinking, new ways of seeing things.

Expanding Your Comfort Zone

Sometimes, the word “drama therapy” can be freaky to some people. What I like to say is that in my group, where we feel comfortable is, say, between two parentheses. And that’s our comfort zone, is between the parentheses.

And what I like to ask people to do is just expand their parentheses a little bit, but they don’t necessarily have to jump outside of the parentheses. And I am all about working with clients to make sure that those parentheses are still there, but we’re pushing on them a little bit.

So, maybe we don’t feel like standing up by ourselves in front of people today. That’s okay, what do you feel comfortable with?

And even that experience for people, I think is really interesting, to really learn where your limits are and if you’re able to push them or not. What happens when someone asks you to push your limits?

But a lot of people come in usually really freaked out and then, we do one group and everyone goes “Okay, that wasn’t that bad.”