Term Paper: Drama Therapy for Children

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Drama Therapy for Children

Children's play often involves pretending to be someone else, somewhere else, or in different situations. Playing "house," playing "school" and playing "make believe" in general are all parts of being a child that people of all cultures and backgrounds are familiar with. Role-playing appears to be a natural part of development that is instrumental for learning and identity development, and it has been incorporated into various behavioral therapies as well as learning initiatives for children. In what contexts have role playing or drama therapies been utilized with children? How effective have these interventions proven to be? Why would a clinician choose drama based therapies instead of alternate interventions?

Role playing has been used in both skills training and therapy contexts with children for various purposes. Skills training programs focused on the prevention of childhood abduction have proven useful and effective (Johnson, Miltenberger, Knudson, Egemo-Helm, Kelso, Jostad, Langley, (2006). Based on studies that assessed these types of skills training programs, it was determined that children have the ability to learn safety skills and demonstrate the use of these skills in simulated abduction situations where the children are presented with a typical abduction lure (Johnson et al., 2006). In these simulated situations, children were taught self-protective behaviors in order to prevent abduction. These self-protective behaviors learned by the children included responses to authoritative and incentive lures. These responses were typically statements such as "No, I have to ask my teacher if I'm allowed," followed by quickly moving away from the lure and running towards the school (Johnson et al., 2006). Studies indicated that on week following this training, all children correctly displayed the target behavior when presented with a realistic simulated abduction situation without knowing that they were in fact being assessed, but it was also found that these skills were no maintained over time (Johnson et al., 2006). Based on their own research, Johnson et al. (2006) concluded that behavior skills training combined with in situ training involving role playing was more effective in instructing abduction-prevention skills to children that behavior skills training alone. However, in order for these learned skills to pervade over time, it is necessary that children receive repeated exposure to role playing sessions in natural environments (Johnson, 2006).

Another type of skills training program that utilized role-playing addressed firearm injury prevention. A study conducted by Gatheridge, Miltenberger, Huneke, Satterlund, Mattern, Johnson, and Flessner (2004) investigated the efficacy of two different programs that were developed for the prevention of gun play among children. One of the programs under investigation was a Gun Safe program developed by the National Rifle Association, and the other was a behavioral skills training program utilizing role-play that placed emphasis on the use of instruction, modeling behavior, rehearsal of the behavior, and feedback (Gatheridge et al., 2004).

The results of the study by Gatheridge et al. (2004) indicated that both of the firearm safety programs were effective in instructing the children to verbalize the message regarding safety skills being taught, which was to not touch the gun, get away from the gun, and… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Drama Therapy for Children.  (2007, April 3).  Retrieved November 21, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/drama-therapy-children/4753316

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"Drama Therapy for Children."  3 April 2007.  Web.  21 November 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/drama-therapy-children/4753316>.

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"Drama Therapy for Children."  Essaytown.com.  April 3, 2007.  Accessed November 21, 2019.