Dramatherapists help people of all ages explore and manage personal, emotional and social issues using storytelling, play, movement, puppetry and improvisation.

To work in the NHS, dramatherapists must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Starting your career

Choosing subjects at school

To get on a course that could lead to a career as a dramatherapist, useful subjects include:

  • Drama
  • Psychology
  • Care
  • Dance
  • Human Biology
  • Maths
  • English

A Foundation Apprenticeship in Social Services and Healthcare, taken in S5 or S6, could help you gain new skills and valuable work experience.

Find out more about Foundation Apprenticeships at apprenticeships.scot.

Work placement

If you’re at school or thinking of changing career, doing a work placement could help you when applying to college, university or for a job in healthcare. You’ll learn new skills, improve your knowledge and discover what it’s like to work in the health service. Find out how to apply for work experience with the NHS.

University study

The following education providers offer pre-registration postgraduate programmes in Dramatherapy:

  • Anglia Ruskin University
  • Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and the University of London in association with the Sesame Institute
  • University of Derby
  • University of Roehampton

To find out more about related programmes, search the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) website. You should check specific entry requirements before applying.

The role

As a dramatherapist, you’ll work with people individually or in groups who have a range of emotional, behavioural or mental health problems. Some clients may also have learning or physical disabilities, neurological conditions and physical illnesses.

What you’ll do

Some of the typical tasks of a dramatherapist include:

  • encouraging people to explore personal and social issues
  • enabling people to express themselves and reflect on feelings and relationships in a safe and secure environment
  • providing opportunities for people to learn new skills or new ways of thinking and behaving
  • writing reports to record therapeutic activities and document client progress

Top skills

You’ll need these skills:

  • caring for people
  • working in a team
  • communicating with people
  • problem-solving skills
  • persuading and motivating people
  • leadership

Who you’ll work with

Dramatherapists work with other healthcare, social services and education professionals, including:

  • psychologists
  • nurses
  • healthcare support workers
  • social workers
  • teachers
  • art therapists
  • music therapists

Working environment

You could work in:

  • hospitals
  • schools
  • the community
  • health centres

Useful information

To work as dramatherapist in NHSScotland, you’ll need to:

Did you know?

Dramatherapy is a form of psychotherapy dating back to the 1960s and 1970s. There are more than 4,400 registered arts therapists in the UK, including art, drama and music therapists.

Learning and development

The professional body for dramatherapists in the UK is the British Association of Dramatherapists (BADth). You can become a member once you’ve qualified as a dramatherapist.

During your career, you’d be expected to keep your skills and knowledge up to date through Continuing Professional Development (CPD). The BADth offers and provides information about courses, conferences and seminars where you can exchange ideas and update your skills.

Career progression

You could choose to specialise in working with specific client groups, such as children and young people, older people or offenders. You may decide to become a specialist in a particular area, such as supporting people with dementia, mental health problems or those receiving palliative care.

As an experienced practitioner, you could become a senior or consultant dramatherapist, managing the work of a team of therapists. You could also become the head of an arts therapy department, coordinating the work of therapists from other disciplines such as art therapy or music therapy. Other opportunities include training other dramatherapists.