Dramatherapy and Psychology
As different psychotherapeutic approaches have emerged from social, developmental and clinical psychology, there has been an increased awareness of the importance of the hypothetical or 'as if' reality upon which drama depends (Object Relations, Symbolic Interaction Theories and Personal Construct Psychology are all examples of this).
Dramatherapy practice has, in addition, been greatly influenced by theory and practice of Group Analytic Psychotherapy, Jungian Archetypal Psychotherapy, Gestalt Therapy and Systems Theory.
Dramatherapy and Play
Many writers have studied play and, in the main, they all acknowledge its dramatic or representational nature. Freud thought that the play of the child represents the 'first traces of imaginative activity', allowing the child to move between levels of fantasy and reality. Melanie Klein, the noted child psychoanalyst, highlights the 'as if' thinking necessary for spontaneous make-believe playing. Peter Slade, who worked with Drama in Education, considered that play marks the beginning of all dramatic activity, for the child distinguishes between 'personal play' (e.g. movement and role playing) and 'projected play' (which is more internally focused).
D.W. Winnicott's work on transitional objects is particularly important for Dramatherapists as they are interested primarily in dramatic or creative play and in understanding the significance of creativity to healthy development.
Dramatherapy and Anthropology
Anthropological awareness helps us understand rituals of healing that are culturally determined in form and content. Cultures which have retained more of their traditional forms of communal self-expression provide models for self-discovery by means of group experience. The discoveries that can be made through metaphor are explored, and personal insight can find expression through corporate awareness.