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How to become a dramatherapist

You'll need a postgraduate-level degree in Dramatherapy to become a dramatherapist. You'll then be ready to register with the Health and Care Professions Council and work in the NHS.

What is an a dramatherapist?

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

Starting your career as a dramatherapist

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

Speak to your guidance teacher about subjects offered at your school.

Workplacements and volunteering

You may find it helpful to get some healthcare experience by doing a work placement or volunteering. You’ll get training, increase your knowledge, and learn new skills. This could help you when applying to university, college or a new job with NHSScotland.

College and university

You’ll need a postgraduate degree in Dramatherapy to become a dramatherapist in NHSScotland. 

The degree programme you choose must be approved by the Health and Care Professions Council. Entry requirements include a UK honours degree in a related subject, such as Drama or Theatre Arts.

Other useful undergraduate degree subjects include: 

  • Psychology
  • Theatre Studies
  • Occupational Therapy 
  • Social Work
  • Nursing 

You should contact individual universities to find out about specific entry requirements.

Widening access

Widening participation supports adult learners who want to go to university. If you’re an adult with few or no qualifications, you could get into higher education through the Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP). Many universities also provide access programmes to help you get the degree entry qualifications you need. 

Dramatherapy pre-registration postgraduate degree programme

Education providers that offer pre-registration postgraduate programmes in Dramatherapy include: 

  • Queen Margaret University
  • Anglia Ruskin University
  • University of Derby
  • University of Roehampton 

After graduation, you must register with the HCPC. You can then apply as a newly qualified dramatherapist for vacancies in the NHS.

Course search

Search for college or university programmes on My World of Work.

Get to know the role

As a dramatherapist. the people you're supporting could include those with: 

  • emotional, behavioural or mental health problems
  • learning or physical disabilities
  • neurological conditions
  • physical illnesses 

You'll work with individuals and groups. 

Tasks include: 

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

You'll need these skills:

  • creativity 
  • caring 
  • teamwork
  • communicating
  • problem-solving
  • persuading and motivating people
  • leadership  

Dramatherapists work with other healthcare professionals, including: 

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

You could work in: 

  • hospitals
  • schools
  • the community
  • health centres 

Learning and development

During your career, you’d be expected to keep your skills and knowledge up to date through Continuing Professional Development). 

The British Association of Dramatherapists (BADth) offers and provides information about courses, conferences and seminars where you can exchange ideas and update your skills. 

Career progression 

As you progress, you could choose to specialise by working with specific client groups, such as: 

  • children and young people
  • adults
  • offenders 

You may decide to specialise in a particular area, such as helping people receiving palliative care or people with dementia or mental health problems. 

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 a team of arts therapists. In a senior role, there may be opportunities to train other dramatherapists. 

Professional bodies

When you become a qualified dramatherapist, you must register with the HCPC to work in the NHS. You can also join the British Association of Dramatherapists (BADth).

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