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Barrier Free Theatre

Barrier Free Theatre was created with the purpose of providing theatre arts creation and performance opportunities for those with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. This model can be used with various groups in many different ways to create a derived piece of work. With Barrier Free Theatre in Manhattan, KS, a group of about 30 individuals meets once a week for two hours from August to December and explores different brainstormed ideas through dramatic and musical play. The director takes all of the ideas, interviews each performer about their personal preferences for character, size of role, etc, and then writes a script centered around the ideas that were explored and the preferences that were given. The next January through March are dedicated to rehearsals and by the beginning of April a public performance is given. This form of theatre inspires creativity, cooperative learning, and teamwork, along with many other skills. It provides opportunities for individuals to experiment with different roles and take ownership of their work. This model can be used in many different ways, with many different groups; for example, I have used this model to create a ten-minute performance for the end of a short, eight-week class for children.

Creative Drama

Drama games are comprised of many different activities, all of which help build skills while having fun. Drama games most typically involve team building and developing skills like trust, communication, and following rules, and work across various ages and populations. Drama games are integrated into many different drama therapy settings and usually serve as the playful foundation on which clients begin their experience.

In the video "Emotional Greeting," below, pairs practice different emotions in an effort to understand body language, facial expressions, and to build group cohesion for future work they will be doing together.

Emotional Greeting

These are some examples of drama therapy in use.  Above, concepts are being embodied to act out a process.  Below, a family member sculpted her interpretation of her family's dynamic.

Photos by Fatmah Al-Qadfan

Geek Therapy

Geek Therapy isn't a formalized technique or intervention per se, however it bears mentioning due to its fast growth on the therapeutic scene. Past times and hobbies considered "geeky" or "nerdy" are being used more and more across various therapeutic settings to help clients learn about themselves and the world around them, simply by engaging in something they are passionate about and love. Some of the geek games I have used with clients include Therapeutic Role-Playing Games (see below), SuperFight, Forbidden Island, and ZombieDice, and I have many others available and ready to go.  Some of the many fandoms that I belong to and have used with clients to draw connections and develop skills include Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, The Lord of the Rings, The DC Comics Universe, The Marvel Cinematic Universe, Super Mario Brothers, The Elder Scrolls, and many, many more. More information about geek therapy in general can be found at


Performance in drama therapy can be beneficial in many ways. The teamwork necessary to see a performance from start to finish builds many skills in those who participate. In some cases, participants will be involved in the writing of their own story, which can provide a sense of ownership and creativity in those who felt they previously lacked these things. The sharing of personal stories or narratives can help communicate across populations and groups and can give participants the chance to serve as self advocates. The rehearsal and performance process often times yields personal insights in participants as they work on a character and/or work to function within the ensemble team.

Playback Theatre

Playback Theatre is a technique founded by Jonathan Fox and Jo Salas in the 1970s. Using improvisational forms, actors play back stories for audience members in a way that is truthful. The only rule is that the stories shared be about the person telling them. Using instruments and scarves, a team of usually four actors, led by a conductor, play back feelings and stories to the best of their ability. The process of watching one's story unfold has many benefits, but the most commonly experienced benefit of playback is simply the experience of knowing that one is being heard. The validation that accompanies seeing one's story played back is extremely gratifying, especially given the fast paced world that we live in. The actors and conductor work hard in rehearsals to hone their listening skills and ability to play stories back with honesty and respect, which can be a therapeutic process all on its own.


Pupperty is a wonderful technique for giving clients some distance and fostering creativity. It's very useful for children to project concerns and experiences through a puppet, and as an adult I have found simply creating puppets to be self-revelatory and just plain relaxing. Puppets can be used in many different ways. Creation of a character can lead to self exploration and discovery, the telling of a story through puppet work can help a timid performer begin to open up to the world of performance, and the manipulation of a puppet can help with coordination and dexterity.

Therapeutic Role-Playing Games (Table-Top RPGs)

Table top role-playing is a recreational activity popularized by Wizards of the Coast's Dungeons and Dragons. It is a cooperative story-telling method that uses improvisation and and a set of rules, alongside multisided dice, which provide an element of luck. In other words, applied Role-Playing Games are "scaffolded and aesthetically distanced developmental play-based narrative transference" (Davis, 2023). You can learn more about this concept at My creative project in my drama therapy program focused on exploring using this as a tool to improve social and life skills with students at the college level.  I have experience using role-playing games with adult and teen community members and college students, focusing on goal setting and personal exploration through character, as well as working with families.

Photo By Fatmah Al-Qadfan


Sociodrama provides group members with the opportunity to develop and practice skills, gain personal insight, and experience catharsis. During each session participants work together with a facilitator to determine an overarching issue important in the lives of the whole group. From this issue a situation is developed and group members are cast to play characters within the created situation. The characters, guided by the facilitator, will move through a scene or series of scenes to play out an enactment. After completing the enactment the group discusses the scene work, including how group members felt playing characters and interacting with characters, how audience members felt either watching or assisting with the scene, and what skills were learned or could be improved upon. Sociodrama is a great tool for exploring issues among groups of individuals and communities as a whole.

Other Creative Based Interventions I have training in


Guided Imagery


Mask Making and Use






Cost of services depends on many factors, including number of individuals being served, distance to location, intervention desired, time, etc.

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