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Document Title

Unspoken Depths: Dramatherapy and Dementia

A Heuristic exploration of a Dramatherapist's experience of 

working with a group of older adults with dementia 

Abstract

 

In the dual role of therapist and researcher, working in an NHS Day Hospital with a small group of clients with moderate dementia, my question was simple, yet perplexing: What could I learn from the paradox between the joyful energy of my Dramatherapy group and the intense sadness and confusion that seemed to exist on the periphery? 

 

A qualitative, heuristic approach was the most appropriate in respect of ethics and practicality.  By using vignettes (in which client names were changed) as opposed to detailed case studies, I required neither written nor ongoing verbal consent... though spoke informally about it with my clients and their carers throughout the process. I followed the six stages of heuristic research described by Clark Moustakas and gathered data using the tools and techniques recommended. I created a personal log book and collated my official session notes on 20 clients seen between January and October 2009.

 

Through the analysis of data, key themes arose: Fear and Stigma, Anger, and Self-Identity. This article may be most relevant to those working creatively with this client group, who find themselves confronted by a paradox of emotions, forced to confront personal fears and limitations. Whilst the need for further research is evident, my small and subjective study meets the minimal requirements of BADth's EPB/PBE guidelines (Dokter and Winn) and could compliment larger-scale studies using both quantitative and qualitative methods.

 

 

Key Words: Dementia, Dramatherapy, Heuristic, Qualitative, Fear, Stigma, Anger, Self-Identity

 

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http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02630672.2011.621262#.U0pjjlfgiRM