Dr. Jocelyn L. Buckner
For those living with eating disorders, intervention and effective treatment can mean the difference between life and death. Conventional treatments, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, forms of talk therapy, and Nutritional Counseling, focus solely on the psychological patterns or nutritional science of eating disorders. Though these treatments are effective for some individuals, there is a gap in treatment options that address both the mind and body as one and appeal to the humanity of patients outside of their disorder(s). Herein lies the power and potential of integrating drama therapy as a widely available treatment. Drama therapy is a valid psychotherapeutic option for individuals with eating disorders given the therapy’s indirectly targeted methods of treatment through support and community, scientifically beneficial physical activities, and a creative, emotional outlet beneficial to improving the wellbeing and mind-body relationship of those with eating disorders.
In this paper I will discuss why the practices of drama therapy are attune to the treatment of individuals with eating disorders. For reference, I will provide diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder and related symptoms in the eating disorder population via survivor and expert quotations. I will then connect this evidence to proven drama therapy practices. These include physical warm-ups and activities, writing, and role playing. I will then discuss the physiological and psychological benefits of the aforementioned, including the treatment of eating disorder comorbidities. This paper will serve to demonstrate the potential effectiveness of drama therapy in the treatment of individuals with eating disorders, thus allowing viable and effective treatment to reach a larger population.
Werner, Hayley, "Healing Through Creativity and Creation: Drama Therapy as Treatment for Individuals with Eating Disorders" (2019). Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters. 368.
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