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About Dramatherapy

What is Dramatherapy?

What is dramatherapy and what does the therapist do?


Dramatherapy intentionally uses theatre and drama techniques to encourage the client’s creativity and expressive ability.

It helps the clients to tell their story, express feelings, set goals, extend inner experience and try on new and more fulfilling roles, so far unexplored.


As dramatherapists, we are aiming to:


  • Use the imagination to explore ideas, issues and memories

  • Address real-life relationships and social situations through drama

  • Play with your lifescript, telling your story in a new way

  • Improve motivation, social skills, self-awareness and self-esteem

  • Develop concepts of responsibility for the self and others in relationships


An understanding and trust is developed with the dramatherapist, so that these aspects of can be explored safely and with understanding. The 'I' can take charge, so that the true individual you really are can take charge.


Although Joanna has been offering clinical supervision for many years, she decided to attend a professional clinical supervision course in order to be accredited by the Australian Counselling Association (ACA). She offers online or face to face supervision to individuals and online group supervision using art therapy and dramatherapy exercises for problem solving. This work is suitable for creative arts therapists and dramatherapists.


What qualification will I have if I do this course?       

The participants receive the certificate of attendance at the end of the course. The course is not accredited, however participants will get a certificate that they are trained by registered and experienced dramatherapists. 


Do I need a degree in drama or in psychotherapy?

You do not need either, but it helps if you are already a health professional or have studied drama at HSC or further interest level.


Is there any accommodation for someone from interstate or from the country?

The Centre, where the courses are held, provides very reasonably priced B & B.


Do I need someone to talk to if the experiential exercises affect me?

It is helpful if you have a trusted friend you can speak with. As you get to know the other participants, you may be able to talk with them on the phone between weekends.

History of the Dramatherapy Centre


The Centre was started in the mid-nineties by Joanna Jaaniste, when very few people knew what dramatherapy was, and the website was one way of communicating with people about the nature of this modality. At first it held very basic information about the theory behind dramatherapy, and its relationship to theatre, with definitions from the British Association of Dramatherapists (of which Joanna has always been a member) and the North American Drama Therapy Association. Once Joanna met Adrian Lania, a talented and energetic Polish man in his twenties who had trained as a psychologist and dramatherapist in Poland, the website took off in a way it hadn’t before. This was because Adrian and Joanna worked together to run introductory dramatherapy courses, where people came to study on five or six weekends during the year, and achieved a certificate at the end.


The story of how Joanna and Adrian met is worth telling. Joanna was the St. George Bank one day, and by mistake let slip her password to the teller; the code was dramatherapyof course. The teller was surprised and delighted, as her brother-in-law was studying this modality in Poland and he was about to come to Australia to see how he liked it here. Joanna gave the teller her business card, and lo and behold, eighteen months later she received a phone call from Adrian. Kasia, his sister-in-law had passed on the card. From then on, there were introductory courses almost every year up until about 2010, and also an advanced course.


In 2014, the IKON Institute of Australia asked Adrian if he would write a Graduate Diploma Curriculum for them, and so he and Joanna started to turn their introductory/advanced courses into an accredited diploma, which would then be approved by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA). It was amazing that Adrian, whose first language was Polish, not English, was able to put dramatherapy concepts into ASQA’s jargon, while Joanna provided some of the foundational background of the modality. Together they came up with a curriculum which was then enjoyed by ten enthusiastic students in IKON Brisbane in 2017, who have now all graduated. Adrian, by then a busy School Counsellor, was studying for a PhD. He found it hard to keep up all his commitments, and by early 2018 he was unwell and depressed. He tried to keep everything going, but he really needed a rest. To our great sadness, our loyal and wonderful friend and colleague is no longer with us. He died on 20th October, 2018. Vale, a great pioneer of dramatherapy.

As you can see from the website, other wonderful colleagues joined us along the way, and will be available in the future to give courses.


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