Dramatherapy is a type of psychological therapy that uses a range of creative arts to help people to explore and deal with personal, emotional and social issues.

Dramatherapist in NHSScotland

Dramatherapists use drama to support clients, by creating a secure environment to help them build self-awareness and self-confidence. They work with people of all ages, from children and young people to adults and the elderly.

Some people find it difficult to talk about their problems or past experiences, such as grief, anxiety or depression. Dramatherapists use a variety of techniques including storytelling, puppetry, improvisation, drama, and movement to help people express themselves.

Dramatherapists work with people individually or in groups who have a range of emotional, behavioural or mental health problems. Some clients may also have learning or physical disabilities, neurological conditions and physical illnesses.

Dramatherapists often work with other healthcare practitioners and support staff on therapeutic programmes in a clinical, education or community setting.

Some of the typical tasks of a Dramatherapist include:

  • encouraging clients to explore personal and social issues
  • enabling clients to express themselves and reflect on feelings and relationships in a safe and secure environment
  • providing opportunities for clients to learn new skills or new ways of thinking and behaving
  • writing reports to record therapeutic activities and document client progress

To work as a Dramatherapist, useful skills will include:

  • performance and acting skills 
  • strong communication skills
  • teamworking
  • confident working with individuals or groups
  • commitment to the wellbeing of clients
  • professionalism and an excellent work ethic

Useful abilities include:

  • the ability to work with people with different lifestyles and backgrounds
  • the ability to manage sensitive or challenging situations
  • creativity, resourcefulness and imagination
  • the ability to reflect 

Dramatherapists are educated to Masters Level and must be registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) to practice in the UK.

To become a qualified, you’ll need to have successfully completed an approved postgraduate programme in dramatherapy to register and practice as a dramatherapist. Dramatherapists in training are also required to engage in personal therapy during the course of their training.

In the UK, the following universities and institutions offer postgraduate courses in dramatherapy approved by the HCPC:

Postgraduate courses take between 18 months and three years, depending on whether you study on a full time or part-time basis. For entry to an approved course, you’ll need a degree-level qualification in subjects such as dramatic arts, education or psychology. Graduate-level professional qualifications in occupational therapy, nursing, teaching, social work or special needs may also be accepted.

Universities will also look for at least two year's experience working in community arts or working with the arts in an educational or care setting. You’ll also need to show your practical experience in drama. Basic theatre skills are also useful.

The HCPC website has an up-to-date list of accredited courses. Entry requirements vary depending on the university, college or provider. You are advised to contact each individual provider to find out its specific entry requirements.

Student membership of the British Association of Dramatherapists (BADth) is available while you are training.

Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme

Dramatherapists in NHSScotland are required to become members of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme in respect of regulated work protected adults and children. This scheme is managed by Disclosure Scotland.

Once qualified, you can join the British Association of Dramatherapists (BADth). During your career, you’d be expected to keep your skills and knowledge up to date with Continuing Professional Development (CPD). The BADth offers and provides information about courses, conferences and seminars where you can exchange ideas and update your skills.

With experience and further training, you could specialise to work with a particular type of client such as children, the elderly or offenders. Some Dramatherapists choose to specialise in a particular area such as dementia, mental health or palliative care.

As an experienced practitioner, you could become a senior or consultant Dramatherapist, managing the work of a team of therapists. You might also train other Dramatherapists.

Find out more information from these professional bodies:

Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC)

The HCPC is an independent, UK-wide regulatory body responsible for setting and maintaining standards for health, psychological, and in England; social work professionals. It maintains a public register of qualified professionals and works to improve industry standards and education. Visit the HCPC website to find out more.


The British Association for Dramatherapists (BADth)

BADth is the professional organisation for Dramatherapists in the UK. It aims to to promote, maintain, improve and advance the education of the public about the benefits, theory and practice of dramatherapy. Find out more on the BADth website.