Integrative Systematic Review of Drama Therapy Intervention Research

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drama therapy is an active and experiential psychotherapy modality that involves the intentional and systematic use of drama/theater processes as primary means to achieve psychological growth and change within a psychotherapeutic relationship. At present, drama therapy is in the crucial stage of moving from clinical reports of case studies and vignettes to producing evidence-based practice supported by empirical studies. Drama therapy intervention research is relatively scarce compared to other psychotherapies and psychological interventions. In this article, we conducted a systematic review of drama therapy intervention studies published in the last decade (2007 to 2017). We adopted an integrative approach to systematic review that includes a combination of publications with diverse methodologies and various client groups, interventions, comparisons, and outcomes. Search in four databases and a hand search resulted in 24 drama therapy intervention articles. The results summarize the different approaches used in drama therapy and the populations with which it is being used. In addition, we address some key methodological issues that arise from the different studies. In the last decade, drama therapy research has produced promising results, showing that drama therapy offers effective treatment for various populations. The largest number of studies concerns individuals (adults and children) with developmental disabilities, cognitive impairments, or both (46%). Limitations and recommendations for improving methodology, transparency, and specificity in reporting on future drama therapy and other intervention research are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)68-80
Number of pages13
JournalPsychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020


  • drama therapy
  • integrative review
  • psychotherapy
  • systematic review

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Applied Psychology


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