Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Angelle V. Cook, PhD, RDT/BCT


Simulated patient experiences are commonly used in medical education and training. These experiences have the benefit of training students in real-world environments without risks to real patients. However, these forms of training can be expensive to implement. Additionally, there may be room to improve their effectiveness for training medical providers in humanistic skills like empathy and relationship building. These experiences can be considered dramatic encounters with the incorporation of dramatic elements like role, story, and improvisation. Given the intentional use of drama in these simulated patient experiences, it can be argued that the definition of drama therapy broadly applies to these experiences. This literature review examines simulated patient experiences through the lens of drama therapy. Four specific types of simulated patient experiences are examined- peer role play, peer simulation, standardized patient experiences, and clinical scenario drama. These experiences are examined using drama therapy’s core processes. The presence of the core processes in these simulated patient experiences, along with their absence, is identified. Potential benefits of the intentional incorporation of drama therapy’s core processes and associated interventions are suggested. Suggestions for future research examining the incorporation of drama therapy in simulated patient experiences are made, including research to deepen the understanding of drama therapy’s core processes and research to solidify understanding of dramatic processes that influence learning outcomes in simulated patient experiences.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.




The author owns the copyright to this work.