AU student explores drama therapy at national conference

Mon, 2011-02-07 08:00 -- univcomm
February 7, 2011

Four years ago, Anderson University senior theatre arts major Dori Elliott became interested in drama therapy. A creative art therapy, it uses dramatic and improvisational techniques to explore a person’s experiences and problems to develop solutions. Drama therapists typically are theatre artists who obtain extra training in psychology to apply theatre in a therapeutic manner. When Elliott heard about the profession, she saw an opportunity to use her passion for theatre in service to others.

dorielliott“I saw potential in theatre for healing and empathy through ego-identification and self-knowledge,” said Elliott.

Her desire to use drama as a ministry was consistent with the mission of Anderson University’s Center for Public Service, so she applied and was accepted to the honors program her junior year. Through funding and encouragement from CPS, Elliott became a member of the National Association of Drama Therapy and heard about their annual conference. CPS subsidized her travel expenses, allowing her to attend the Chicago conference in early November.

During the conference, Elliott attended several workshops, many of which had an experiential component. The most notable workshop, said Elliott, described transpersonal therapy, which is a therapeutic method that creates a spiritual framework for viewing people.

“I think it would be fascinating to engage in a practice that harnesses and magnifies healing potential to create positive change,” said Elliott. She plans to obtain psychology training to become a drama therapist after graduation.

— Kelly Frye is a junior from Elkhart, Ind., majoring in biology and communication arts. Frye is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the seventh consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.