Course Description

Our course seeks to develop the creative imagination, self-expression, self-knowledge, and social relatedness of mental health professionals through active participation in a variety of improvised dramatic activities—storytelling and enactment. Participants can also learn to apply these skills to clinical practice, as dramatic storytelling techniques may be used with clients of all ages to access spontaneity, solve problems, teach through action, and create community. Each week of class will include active practice as well as lecture and group discussion. No experience in drama or storytelling is required.


Course Outline

1. Foundations and Theory

  • The Properties of Play — what is play and why do we need it throughout the lifespan?
  • Theories behind the personal and therapeutic benefits of play and storytelling
  • Challenges and blocks — why do we lose our comfort with creative play and how to move past these toward greater freedom
  • Practice with dramatic play

2. Creative Improvisation Techniques

  • “Yes, And” — Exploring the therapeutic benefits of honing improv skills
  • Basic rules of improv and how these relate to the therapeutic process
  • Practice with improvisational play

3. Story Formation

  • Basic rules of good storytelling
  • The Hero’s Journey and other storytelling scaffolding
  • The use of metaphor, role, and plot devices in therapeutic storytelling
  • Practice with story formation and dramatic storytelling

4. Collaboration and Enactment

  • Process and techniques of collaborative group storytelling
  • Embodiment — bringing the story to life
  • Structuring enactments and performance in the therapeutic environment
  • Practice with collaborative storytelling and dramatic enactment

5. Culmination and Closure

  • Culminating enactment and story completion
  • Using dramatic ritual in closure
  • What now? Use of stories in continued therapeutic work
  • Practice with culminating enactment and dramatic ritual

Learner Outcomes

After completing this course, participants will be able to:

  • Engage more freely in creative, spontaneous play and storytelling
  • Describe the benefits of dramatic storytelling in the clinical setting
  • Identify and appropriately apply techniques of dramatic storytelling to clinical practice
Thank you for your interest in this course. Unfortunately, the course you have selected is currently not open for enrollment. Please complete a Course Inquiry so that we may promptly notify you when enrollment opens.
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