Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Performance-Psychological aspects, Performance-Therapeutic use, Arts-Therapeutic use, Performance, Drama, Social therapy, Expressive therapies, Use of performance with addictions, Severe and persistent mental illness, Use of performance therapy to gain job skills, Radical and critical, Social work, Creative, Transformative


This qualitative exploratory study examined the use of performance and drama in clinical work with adults in the United States. Seven clinicians were interviewed about their training, work, techniques, clinical conditions they addressed, populations they worked with, and outcomes. All interviewees for this study were white and female. Clinicians shared their clinical experience and expertise. They discussed how they came to use performance in their clinical work. Many of the interviewees used performance with all clients with all clinical presenting issues. Clinicians also discussed the lack of training in these techniques in social work training programs. Clinicians all had training in performance and drama. Many of them also had degrees in social work. The results of this study confirm the literature. These techniques have been used in one form or another for at least the last hundred years with a wide variety of populations and clinical issues. Although these techniques are less commonly used than talk therapy, there is evidence that this work is engaging, helpful for understanding oneself, normalizing, skill building, creative, and transformative.




iv, 66 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2013. Includes bibliographical references (p. 48-57)