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Dance, drama as therapy

Hello! I am currently seeking information on the benefits of using creative therapy such as dance, drama, and adventure based counselling in residential treatment settings. If you can help me out with useful websites, literature or your own personal experience, it would greatly be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Mandy Halabi
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I am taking a class right now at the University of Minnesota in the Youth Studies department which uses experiential Theatre activities as a vehicle for learning about others, building trust, understanding, compassion, and community with others. 
We are reading some good books and there are some others too: Improvisation for the Theatre — Viola Spolin (considered the bible on the subject) We are reading excerpts from Theatre of The Oppressed by Augusto Boal and he also wrote Games for Actors and Non-Actors and The Rainbow of Desire.
 
You might also contact my Professor, Jan Mandell, who is writing a book on the topic through the Department of Youth Studies at the University of Minnesota: 612.624.3107. If that doesn't reach her, call information at 612.625.5000 and they will direct you.

Good Luck and have fun. 
Peter DeLong
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There are a few things that we have done at the centre I work with that may fit into what you are looking for. We try to encourage listening to music, singing with the music and dancing around in an impromptu type of way with the young people. They tend to find it quite funny to watch "old people" trying to get their groove on. This is also an opportunity to express themselves through dance. We also encourage the young people to pick songs that mean something to them and discuss them in life skills and in everyday interactions. Music is a very big part of who they are as much music watching can attest to. 

There are also meditation exercises that can be used with the aid of relaxation music (whether it is the sound of waves, or water running). This can give young people and the staff the opportunity to learn how to relax whether it is to calm down when becoming angry or trying to go to sleep at night. This may sound a bit strange but the occasional facial is also done by male and females alike. With this comes a sense of taking care of oneself and taking ten minutes or a half and hour to pamper themselves. We also have times of lip-syncing songs and acting out what we think the words mean or just dances around. I really think if the staff can become enthusiastic around whatever type of activity you choose the young people seem to catch that enthusiasm. Hope this is a bit of help to you...

Donna Banks
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We always use a drama teacher on the team, not to produce any theatre but to do role plays with the youth on issues which they find difficult — facing a school teacher over some issue, confronting someone, dealing with a parent who is angry or intoxicated ... It has proved very helpful for kids in the group to raise a problem, and for the drama teacher instead of "therapising" to keep things practical and say "Let's do that and see how it might work."
A.F.
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