Capstone/Dissertation Title

Drama therapy in the high school theater arts classroom: helping a generation of students suffering from anxiety and depression

Term

2013

Capstone

Thesis

Degree Name

MAT

Abstract

A significant percentage of American teenagers are diagnosed annually with anxiety or depression disorders which hinder their ability to function affectively in academic settings. These students may feel a lack of purpose in achieving the rote academic expectations put forth by the current curriculum taught in high school theater courses. High school theater curricula can be adjusted to include more activities focused on developing the 'whole person'. Researchers have acknowledged that current theater arts courses tend to focus primarily on mastering performance skills and retaining factual information about theater history. The drama therapy methods of psychodrama and sociodrama have served the emotional and developmental needs of adolescents in clinical settings, but are not applied regularly in academic settings. The curriculum developed in this capstone meets national theater standards in addition to focusing on sociodramatic activities which help students suffering from anxiety and depression develop resiliency, self-reflection, and social skills.

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