Dramatherapy focuses on therapeutic aspects of drama and theatre, respecting the child’s pace and potential. Storytelling, enactment, roleplay, improvisation and games are just some of the examples of how it can be used to help the children and young adults we support, like 12-year-old Noor.
Noor started virtual dramatherapy in March 2021, a time when organising social activities was difficult. Noor was sad not seeing her friends and teachers at school, whilst also having a surgery approaching, so dramatherapy allowed her to express her fears and worries about the treatment.
After just the first session it became clear Noor wanted to create a story based on her own experience. Dramatherapist Gloria Garbujo explains, “Noor’s an incredible artist and the most natural way for her to create her story was through drawing. The structure was inspired by a technique called ‘six-part story method’, which is particularly useful for identifying aims, difficulties, and support strategies.”
Noor’s story focused on ‘Luna’; a girl diagnosed with a complex condition which prevented her from walking. Luna’s a kind, caring, confident and brave girl and throughout the story she discovered her strengths and super-powers. “Noor loved writing the story so much that she decided to continue typing up chapters inbetween sessions,” explains Gloria.
The next step was to bring the story to life, and with the help of Noor’s mum, Faridah, they created a fantastic puppet theatre, using a shoe box to cut out the characters. This sparked even more creativity, as Noor had the idea to turn her story into an online video game. Helpfully her older brother loves coding, so taught Noor how to make the code for her story using a website for children called Tynker. Gloria says, “It was incredible to see all the different characters transformed into a video game and Noor decided she’d like to share her creation with everyone at the hospice saying, ‘in this way other children can create their own stories.’”
In the autumn, Gloria and Noor were able to meet at Christopher’s, with Noor bringing her puppet theatre to show everyone. “We took some lovely photos and said goodbye playing musical instruments – it was a very special session.”
“For our last session on Zoom we looked back at the therapy process, focusing on Noor’s amazing creations that Noor and acknowledging the positive changes that had been made over the past nine months. Particularly how it’s increased Noor’s confidence and helped her express her thoughts and feelings through the art form,” says Gloria.
Mum Faridah said, “The sessions have been incredible because they helped Noor wake up her creativity – she got lots of ideas out of the sessions so she can do even more things now!”
This article is from our Summer 2022 edition of Shine. Read more from the digital version here. If you’d like to receive our printed Shine magazine, which comes out twice a year, these are sent to everyone who has made a donation within the last 12 months, and opted in to receiving post.