Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Tim Reagan


The implementation of embodied drama therapy practices with incarcerated youth helps foster a sense of community, connection, and belonging. Little research exists on the impact of drama therapy on incarcerated youth; therefore, this thesis provides guidance on the creation of drama therapy programs for incarcerated youth. The research is divided into three main sections: (a) drama therapy in juvenile detention centers; (b) drama therapy for youth in schools and other settings; and (c) expressive therapies in juvenile detention centers. This examination of the impact of drama therapy interventions on youth in other settings, such as schools and hospitals, reveals effective structure and planning strategies for working with adolescents. Parallels are drawn between drama therapy and other expressive therapy interventions to understand the modalities’ (art, dance) successes when creating and leading groups. This investigation reveals key considerations when designing an embodied drama therapy program for incarcerated youth, including (a) creating a safe enough space, (b) working with trained drama therapists in partnership with another facilitator, (c) establishing structure and using personal narrative, and (d) creating a relationship with facility staff and administration.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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