Silenced in Childhood
A Survivor of Abuse finds her Voice through Group Dramatherapy
This article follows the story of Bella, a woman in her mid-thirties. Haunted by memories of sexual child abuse, she suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression and Anxiety. Bella’s diagnosis is Borderline Personality Disorder, with a long history of serious self-harm and hospitalisation. Her creative journey began on a secure ward for women with BPD, where she attended my weekly Dramatherapy Group for seven months. We then worked together for a further eighteen months at a secure step-down unit for women with challenging psychiatric disorders.
Now living in the community, Bella is keen to share how Dramatherapy helped her towards recovery, together with 1:1 Psychology, DBT and the support of a local church group. Her name and all location details have been disguised. Dramatherapy gave Bella the freedom to play like a child, whilst metaphor offered her a symbolic new language through which to understand and vocalise her feelings. Her journey is an emotional roller coaster, revealing the potential for group Dramatherapy for adults who have survived the trauma of child abuse and are still fighting for freedom. Bella’s courage and determination are inspiring and excerpts of her poetry are interspersed throughout the article, together with references to relevant literature.
Key Words: Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Child Abuse, Dramatherapy, Metaphor,
Therapeutic Relationship; Play; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); Adult Mental Health
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