An exploratory evaluation of dramatherapy in a key stage 3 and 4 pupil referral unit: a multiple case study design

Wörsching, Anna (2014) An exploratory evaluation of dramatherapy in a key stage 3 and 4 pupil referral unit: a multiple case study design. DAppEdPsy thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis presents an exploratory case study evaluation of a dramatherapy intervention in a key stage three and four pupil referral unit for permanently excluded young people. Dramatherapy is a creative arts therapy concerned with the relationship between the therapist and the client using the medium of drama or theatre to make sense of life experiences (Landy, 2006). Existing literature suggests that this is a relatively under-researched topic, and there is a need for evidence-based practice to support the use of dramatherapy (Dokter, Holloway & Seebohm, 2011). Through continued engagement with the literature and subsequently the participants and dramatherapists, the research began to take more of an exploratory path, investigating whether change had occurred in dramatherapy and if so why this could have happened. This change was reflected in the research questions. The research questions focused on the perceived changes that were observed by the participants themselves, their dramatherapists or a member of school staff during the period of the intervention; if changes were perceived what within the intervention could have helped bring the changes about, and what factors external to dramatherapy could have influenced the process of the intervention.

A pragmatic, mixed-methods approach was initially adopted for this study. A pilot phase, evaluating the perceived impact of dramatherapy for five participants who were receiving dramatherapy was used to guide the development of quantitative measures in the evaluation phase.

Three young people participated in the evaluation phase of the study. A single case experimental design was used to help evaluate perceived changes during dramatherapy and in order to explore whether is was possible to measure change in a dramatherapy intervention. This aimed to support the over-riding qualitative element of the study, involving post-evaluation phase semistructured interviews with the three participants, their dramatherapists and one or more member of school staff.

Visual analysis of the single case experimental design graphs suggested that the measures may not have been valid or reliable indicators of the participants' behaviours. This raised questions of the appropriateness of the use of quantitative measures with vulnerable young people who may have social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Thematic analysis of the qualitative interviews identified that the participants, their dramatherapists and/or a member of staff had observed that the participants were able to make changes within therapy, and within the pupil referral unit. Thematic analysis identified that factors of the therapeutic space, the relationship, and the use of metaphor and projective techniques were seen to have helped the young people make changes. Thematic analysis identified that the process of the dramatherapy intervention was seen to have been influenced by systemic factors.

The findings were examined with reference to the relevant literature. Strengths and limitations of the study were discussed. Potential future research and implications for practice are outlined.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (DAppEdPsy)
Supervisors: Gulliford, Anthea
Keywords: dramatherapy, pupil referral unit, educational psychology
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC 321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Psychology
Item ID: 50910
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2018 10:47
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2018 06:57

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