Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

MAE - Master of Arts in Expressive Therapies


Expressive Therapies


Dr. Angelle Cook


While considered controversial by some, Method acting as popularized by Lee Strasberg is a technique that elicits powerful and authentic results on stage and screen. The foundational Method acting techniques, the Relaxation Exercise (RE) and the Sense Memory Exercise (SME), share similarities to bottom-up therapeutic processes like Somatic Experiencing and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. By implementing a trauma-informed drama therapy framework with these two exercises, the RE and SME were restructured as a therapeutic intervention for people in trauma recovery. The author implemented a study of three consecutive group therapy sessions for people healing from trauma where clients participated in trauma-informed SME and RE. While more research is needed to show the RE and SME are successful therapeutic interventions, the data suggests that the exercises lead to more openness, vulnerability, and connection among the group. The data also highlighted the need for accommodations for Method actors who have experienced trauma and participate in these exercises in an educational setting. Guidelines for how to create a more trauma-informed approach to these exercises are introduced to assist educators and clinicians in creating a trauma-informed curriculum.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
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