“Staged Combat”: A Literature Review on the Potential Advantages of Drama Therapy Over Traditional Talk Therapy With Veterans
Date of Award
MA - Master of Arts
Dr. Jason Frydman, PhD, RDT-BCT, NCSP
There is an ongoing disconnect between military veterans and mental health with a vast majority of veterans either unable or unwilling to seek therapy. This may be a result of traditional talk therapy being ineffective with the veteran population; drama therapy may be a recourse that can better bridge the gap between veterans and therapy. Veterans experience trauma not just through means of combat overseas, but via training and transitioning out of the military as well, all culminating in a psychological regression. With the given population, emerging adulthood would be the period that veterans regress to as it is when most trauma experienced in the military occurs. Additionally, a veteran’s emerging adulthood is truncated by their military service; they are incentivized to leap into adulthood via milestones like marriage and childrearing in exchange for better benefits. In so doing, the veteran, unknown to them, is stuck in a limbo between perpetual adolescence and adulthood. Methods mainly meant for one or the other are insufficient and therefore could benefit from being combined. Drama therapy and its core processes may cater well to the unique needs and cultural stigmas to which veterans adhere. Where traditional therapy falters (e.g., intellectualizing the issue, focusing on the trauma, embracing vulnerability), drama therapy has potential to consistently contribute through distancing, therapeutic expression, exploration of multidimensional relationships, and fun/play.
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McNeill, Christopher, "“Staged Combat”: A Literature Review on the Potential Advantages of Drama Therapy Over Traditional Talk Therapy With Veterans" (2023). Expressive Therapies Capstone Theses. 702.
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