WARWICK, R.I. (WBZ NewsRadio) — One theater in Warwick, Rhode Island, has developed a program that uses drama therapy to address the mental health needs of its participants.
According to the Gamm Theatre, drama therapy involves people acting or rehearsing their desired behaviors or changes they wish to see in the world. Sessions at the Gamm Theatre work with children and adults, teaching them how to deal with their negative emotions.
"We use play, improvisation, role-play, lots of metaphor, it can be art-based with drawing, writing, or sculpture work- you get to rehearse for real life," said Gamm Theatre's Director of Education and Drama Therapist Susie Schutt.
Schutt said that she's been working with students at Samuel Slater Middle School in Pawtucket, where she split the kids up into three groups that work through the different subjects of stress, anger, and social skills.
"With the stress group, we're doing a lot of talk about friendship and what it means to be a good friend, acting out scenes of good friends and bad friends. With the anger group we've been doing a lot of sculpture work to show what it looks like when we're angry," Schutt said.
Schutt said the social skills group is writing scenes and plays on topics outside the scope of their lives, and practicing how to handle said situations.
"With drama therapy, I feel like I get to dig even deeper with people in a way that I find fascinating, delightful, and really invigorating," Schutt said.
WBZ's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports.