Prominent themes in drama therapy effectiveness research | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2054-7668
  • E-ISSN: 2054-7676


A strong evidence base is critical for deepening our understanding of how drama therapy works, how practice might be improved and how to best support the growth of the profession. Building on a previous investigation, the authors reviewed available peer-reviewed, English language, empirical drama therapy research from 1945–2018 to answer the question: what are the prominent themes in drama therapy effectiveness research? Within an effectiveness context, the following themes emerged from this analysis: emotional and behavioural symptoms, social skills and social interactions, self-confidence and self-esteem, sense of self and identity, self-expression, well-being, emotional regulation, empathy, academic performance, language and linguistic performance, stigma, bodily awareness, empowerment and spontaneity. Emergent trends in the literature are discussed and a summation of findings is presented. In reference to the findings, the authors advance a rationale for increasing drama therapy quantitative research with validated and reliable measures.


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