Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

MCM - MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling


Expressive Therapies


Angelle Cook


Despite the arrival of the person-centered movement in dementia care, biases continue in caregiving around ageism, cognitive disability, and pharmacological interventions to mitigate behavior issues. This paper underscores the efficacy of drama therapy as a non-pharmacological intervention in dementia care practices, directing focus on drama therapy core processes and how to utilize them to meaningfully engage with persons with dementia. In this phenomenological study, run over a four week period, I facilitated group interventions using TimeSlips with residents from two memory care units at separate assisted living facilities in New England. TimeSlips is an established program, specifically created for persons with dementia, with the same roots in theater improvisation as drama therapy. The participants (N = 68) were White older adults who came on a voluntary basis, were predominately cis-gender female, had varying degrees of dementia, and ranged in age from 75+. The most cited core processes were engagement in dramatic reality and dramatic play, demonstrating drama therapy’s ability to bridge differences in cognitive abilities between persons with dementia and their caregivers and improve needed social connections. As sole participant observer of the sessions, the results are limited by my singular interpretation of the still evolving definitions of drama therapy core process.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




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