Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Angelle Cook


Restorative School Practices offer schools a circle structure to shift the punitive mindset and power dynamics commonly found in America’s schools, to a model that focuses on relationship, connection, and mutual respect. Drama therapy interventions utilize embodied or active work that engage the entire person. The purpose of this thesis was to create a method to explore the addition of embodied drama therapy techniques to deepen the experience of the restorative school circle process. Three community-building and social emotional learning focused circles, in a second, fourth, and sixth grade class, were compared using the traditional scripts and then the same scripts with the addition of drama therapy techniques. Observations of each session were noted. A rubric comprised of two factors, ease of facilitation and participant engagement, was scored for each session. The results from the fourth-grade circle showed promise of embodied techniques enhancing the process, with increased participant engagement and little need to redirect the group as a facilitator. The merging of embodied drama therapy and restorative practices may create a more inclusive, engaging, and exciting process that has the possibility to change the way groups and individuals experience listening and speaking from the heart in the circle process.

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