Creative Dramatics and Integrated Care

Have you ever thought about how creative dramatics can help in the context of processing and reflecting on the human experience? Maybe you’re wondering what that even means, I  know I sure did when I first heard about this technique. We’ve been talking for weeks about how Integrated Care is so valuable because it taps into both traditional and not so traditional forms of therapy. 

We are so much more than our physical bodies, so when things feel off or downright wrong, there are many things that may contribute to the malaise. In this physical world, we tend to look through the cause and effect lens, which can limit the scope. Just because there’s a physical symptom doesn’t mean that’s the source of the root cause. Learning to look beyond helps to bring healing to the whole soul. 

What is creative dramatics?

So, creative dramatics moves outside the lines of traditional counseling therapy. It was originally defined in 1978 by The American Association of Theatre for Youth, as “an improvisational, not exhibition, process-centered form of drama in which participants are guided by a leader to imagine, enact, and reflect upon human experience.” (To learn more click here).


It’s important to note that there is a slight difference between drama and theater. Theater focuses on the experience of the audience, whereas drama focuses on the experience of the participant. Acting can help us not only identify an emotion, but it can also help us to access how that emotion feels. 

Creative dramatics can be used as a counseling technique, where the participant is guided by a leader. Improvisational expression provides the opportunity to enact emotion, with guidance from a counselor, who then can help the participant process and reflect. Talk therapy is excellent, but when you are blocked all the words in the world are of no value.

Creative dramatics may feel silly and unconventional, but the reality is we all play-act in our everyday lives. We posture and pretend as we work to present our best selves in every situation. Have you ever heard the phrases false self, or shadow self? Every human being has one. It’s who we are in the world and our relationships when we don’t feel safe enough to be ourselves. It may be subtle or it may be obvious, but we all have it to some degree. 

The integrated care approach to wellness shows us that there are many valuable tools available for the healing journey. Check out this week’s podcast, The Pastor and the Counselor, where Pastor Ryan Brown, Jon Burchard, and Johanna Newman talk about how Creative Dramatics can help!


Written by Maureen Brown

Maureen Is our Worship and Communications Pastor. She has served New Life Community alongside Pastor Ryan for 19 years.  She is passionate about Jesus and His Church, which is why she does what she does. Maureen has been leading worship, teaching, and mentoring her entire adult life. She graduated in 1996, from Emmanuel Bible College with a Bachelor of Religious Education in Professional Studies. Upon graduation, she then married Ryan—the love of her life. Maureen is a blogger so she brings a special set of gifts that are well used in the area of Communications here at NLC.