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Drama Therapy

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Vikramjeet Sinha joined Manav Rehabilitation Centre as a drama therapist from August 2005 to January 2007. He expresses his views about drama therapy and experience at the MRC:
“In order to speak about drama therapy in Manav Rehabilitation, it is important to understand what is drama therapy. In my work with marginalized communities using drama as a therapeutic tool, we often have felt a great opposition from people who think drama as an only a performance art and not so much a process of transformation. Drama therapy is not jus a creative process oriented space for transformation, and awareness but also curative in nature. So let us tackle the question as to what is Drama Therapy?

Drama therapy is the application of theatre set in clinical and with community settings with people who are troubled or unwell. Theatre art is preventive in nature but at the same time is curative. Theatre art is a transformative medium especially for people who are clinically ill, damaged, or vulnerable. Drama therapy methods include voice, dance, theatre games, role play improvisational, text work, puppets and masks. Therefore there are selections done from theatre art for the client group which seek to enable verbal, and non verbal communication and resolutions within a dramatic or a story structure.

Drama therapy in Manav Rehabilitation Centre:
My work in the first year was primarily with the client group in Masina who have been living with mental illness. It is with this group I started working for two hours on Wednesday using drama as a tool for therapy and for transformation. The stories from their real life were being played back to them, and improvisation on themes which have connections and resonances in their lives were performed. Warm up games and theatre games with loads of creative processes mark their journey. Theatre allows them to express in a safe manner, it allows them to re look at their roles through intensive role play. All of this helps in rehabilitating them with their families.

In the work with Manav Rehabilitation Centre in the second year I thought it would be beneficial for the care givers to be enrolled in the creative process so I took upon the task to take the people who are care givers through the creative process not just through drama but any creative process of arts based therapies be it story telling, drama or visual aesthetics. A safe space was created, a space where they could unravel their emotions. A communion of collective group could be forged. A force where everyone is bound in a an artistic communion.

A communication system is built in through this creative process where the self is understood through this process. The rational of this process is primarily to understand that care givers need space to look after themselves and understand and vent out in a safe manner through the various usage of metaphors”. After training an in-house staff member to facilitate drama therapy, Vikram currently is associated with Manav Rehabilitation Centre by conducting workshops for the staff members to develop their self – enhancement skills on a regular basis.