The use of drama based therapy with forensic populations

Brierley, Lucy (2022). The use of drama based therapy with forensic populations. University of Birmingham. Foren.Psy.D.

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The focus of the present thesis is the use of Drama based Therapy (DbT) with forensic populations. Research has suggested that DbT can have a positive impact on vulnerable individuals in a range of settings. DbT has been used in forensic settings such as prisons alongside standard manualised interventions or, in some cases, as an alternative to these interventions. Chapter 1 presents an overview of the use of Arts therapies in general and, more specifically, the use of DbT with forensic populations. In addition, an overview of the aims of each chapter of the thesis is provided. Chapter 2 presents a systematic review of the existing literature exploring the use of DbT with forensic populations. Findings from 10 papers included in the review revealed that there is a range of DbT methods being used, and that the DbTs lead to positive outcomes such as improved social and communication skills, reductions in anger, improvements in mental well-being, and an increase in hope for the future. Findings are discussed with reference to implications for practice, and recommendations for future research are made. In order to address one such recommendation, Chapter 3 explores the views and experiences of Geese Theatre Company (GTC) Actor Practitioners (APs) who deliver DbT to individuals in forensic settings. Thematic analysis was used to draw themes from the data obtained through semi-structured interviews with current and former APs. Participants spoke about the positive impact that the GTC intervention had on those who engaged with it. They also spoke of the qualities and skills that they felt were necessary for the job role, the benefits of the flexible and creative nature of the DbT, and lastly, of the challenges they experienced in their role. Chapter 4 presents a critique of the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS; Stewart-Brown et al., 2007). Findings revealed good psychometric properties of the WEMWBS, such as construct and content validity, and test-retest reliability. However, it is suggested that further research is required to better establish the reliability and validity of the scale. Chapter 5 presents a summary of the thesis’ main findings and provides some key limitations and recommendations for future research. In addition, implications for practice are provided with the hope that these will be of interest to professionals who use DbT with forensic populations. It is also hoped that, more broadly, the findings could add to the evidence base regarding what works in rehabilitative interventions.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Foren.Psy.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Foren.Psy.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology, Centre for Applied Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology


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