Therapeutic Drama

Mapping therapeutic drama activities in social care settings in the Northwest.


Based in an analysis of international best practice, the work will query attributes of and attitudes towards the therapeutic use of drama in a care settings within the region. What is the relevance of drama in a care setting ? What is best practice in the area ? It will evaluate the pedagogic practices presently in operation and the strategic recognition given to dramatic activities in furthering the expression, confident, articulation, interrogation and practioners; the nature of programmes; and the quality of assessment and documentation.

It will evaluate participation in activities as well as the structures of support provided by care providers in relation to issues that may emerge through the use of drama, such as those of belonging and community. It will investigate ways to best consolidate the practice of drama in care settings and how models of best practice might be developed, disseminated and established.

The Research Team

Mr. Declan Drohan Principal Researcher Department of Business & Humanities, IT, Sligo. Mr. Eamonn Jordan Joint Researcher Department of Business & Humanities, IT, Sligo. Ms. Susan McDonnell Research Student Department of Business & Humanities, IT, Sligo.


The therapeutic use of drama within social care settings has increased markedly in Ireland in recent years, yet has never been formally assessed nor evaluated. This project traces current and future developments in relation to the therapeutic use of drama in social care settings in the North West region.

Project Details

Contribute to knowledge of discipline area.

There is minimal research activity or research experience within the social care sector. Activities such as the use of drama in social care practice take place with little or no indigenous research basis. The project will contribute directly to the development of research practitioner expertise in the social care field.

Operate as a vehicle for post-graduate training in R&D

There is a marked lack in research training in the social sciences or humanities in the North West region. Similarly there are few research practitioners that research the social care sector from a social sciences or humanities perspective (dominant models are anecdotal or economistic)

Relevance to research strategy of Institute
The institute has developed a clearly articulated Research Management Study that has been endorsed by the Academic council. This, inter alia, establishes a broad variety of objectives and mechanisms for the support and management of research within the Institution, and provides a mechanism for the prioritisation of research resources and effort. Recent funding through the PRTLI3 initiative will facilitate the further development of physical and human infrastructure.

Research that addresses the issue of sustainable economic and social development had been identified as one of the three key areas of research within the Institute’s Research Management Strategy. The development of effective and appropriate social care activities is and important part of the development of a sustainable society within the region. In particular it is important to develop indigenous understandings of such activities and to locate these within broader national and global contexts.

The Institute has developed a BA programme in the Performing Arts, for future introduction. The proposed research will significantly underpin this development. It is likely that the Institute will seek to develop courses in the area of drama therapy in the future, in conjunction with the new courses in Performing Arts and the existing programme in Applied Social Studies. Such a course will be attractive as a Continuing Professional Education opportunity for social care practitioners and agencies within the region. The provision of such CPE opportunities has been identified has been identified as a priority by the North West Health Board.