“From the moment I met the dramatherapy tutors at interview stage I was treated as an individual and I remember being struck by how comfortable and supportive they made the process. They were passionate about their field and I thought what a good indication this was of the experience and training I would receive at Anglia Ruskin. I was not wrong, and I have felt supported and, just as importantly, challenged throughout my training.
The course incorporates a strong theoretical component which in my experience is invaluable in underpinning the clinical work. In addition to clinical placements we had the opportunity to observe a baby over weekly sessions, and this has continued to influence my developing therapeutic skills. The course teaching is rich and diverse, and encompasses workshops & seminars from professional dramatherapists and other health professionals. The sessions shared with the music therapy students offer the opportunity to retain a wider perspective to balance the focus on acquiring specific therapeutic skills.
Course overviewThis course provides you with professional training in dramatherapy, with an emphasis on clinical placements and an introduction to various dramatherapy approaches. Alongside our well-established MA Music Therapy (through separate and some shared teaching) our course aims to train suitable, experienced practitioners at Masters level, adhering to professional standards. It will qualify you to work as a dramatherapist and successful candidates will be eligible for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council.
You will be expected to involve yourself in self-reflection in small and large group activities, lectures, and dramatic activity through role play, myths, storytelling, autobiographical improvisation, case discussion and theoretical analysis. A significant component of experiential learning is through tutorials and supervision groups, embracing a central teaching style. Clinical placements are key to the experience.
You will benefit from learning about the most recent effective dramatherapy approaches with adults and children. Connections between the body and mind will be emphasised and you will draw on your previous training/experience in theatre, drama and the clinical field. Through this experience you will learn about how dramatherapists create methods to engage clients in effecting psychological, emotional and social changes.
Attendance at our University is on two fixed days throughout the first year, with clinical placements and teaching spread over the other three days. There is one clear day for private study/baby observations each week during two, 12-week semesters, which run from September to December and February to May. In January and June each year, students must be available for assessments and casework. During the second year, attendance is required on Mondays at our University and one day a week is reserved for placements and casework, with more time for private study and student/peer learning.
Key features of the programme are its emphasis on intercultural practice, attachment / mother-infant observation and the understanding of how past relationships manifest in current client difficulties and can be worked with through the dramatherapeutic relationship. Another unique feature is the joint teaching with music therapists in lectures and performance work such as Playback Theatre. Our experiential teaching includes
- improvisation/role play skills in small groups
- focus on own dramatic autobiographical process
- dramatherapy theory
- links between theory and practice
- block clinical placements in at least three fields, including in the community, schools, hospitals, and hospices
- university-based small supervision groups
- clinical supervision by qualified therapists at clinical placements
- experience within multidisciplinary teams
- weekly experiential dramatherapy groups where you will reflect upon their clinical experiences and upon the process of becoming a dramatherapist
- supervision and teaching by leading researchers in the field, to prepare for the Major Project/dissertation in the second year. The dissertation may be research or more clinically oriented, depending on your choice.
NB Clinical supervision groups and the dramatherapy group is included in the fees.
Improvisation/role play/enactment skills are taught in small groups, working from participants' previous dramatic / theatre experiences, as well as developing new skills. Through working with stories and myths, ritual, roleplay, small world play, movement, voice and masks / puppets you will gain skills for the application.in the therapeutic relationship and a variety of client settings. You will be encouraged to devise and perform autobiographical and playback performances, as well as attending a range of theatre performances and compiling these experiences into a portfolio of reflections of relevance to autobiographical and client expressive forms.
Foundations of clinical knowledge and theoretical understanding of dramatherapy and other related disciplines are taught by leaders in the field. Theory and practice are linked through workshops and presentations by the core team and other experts.
You will undertake block placements in at least three clinical fields, including the community, schools, hospitals and hospices in years one and two. University-based small supervision groups are included in the fees and will support you for casework. Supervision from qualified therapists on placements will also be provided. You will work with a variety of patients/clients and in multidisciplinary teams. Weekly experiential workshops will encourage reflection on your clinical and training experiences. In year two, there are two six-month placements across two different settings, which are supported by supervision and further dramatherapy workshops. Over the two years you will attend a fortnightly college based dramatherapy experiential group, to meet the BADth group therapy requirement. We introduce you to an individual psychotherapist for weekly therapy in addition.
This module will support you in the preparation and submission of a Masters dissertation or major project. Your dissertation may be research or more clinically oriented, depending on your choice.
AssessmentAssessment takes place against clear criteria and learning outcomes which you will be made aware of and prepared for. Assessed activities range from formal essay-writing to experiential learning, group learning, clinical improvisation and fieldwork, including clinical placements. You will also be assessed through improvisation, performance, self-analysis and reflection, in discussion with your personal tutor.
FacilitiesYou will work mainly in a new purpose built therapy centre, which includes state-of-the-art studios and in another building, a very well equipped Music and Performing Arts Department. Students and staff work within an energetic and creative environment and there are regular seminars, productions, and research/therapy based events, locally, nationally and internationally. Links with employers are strong and connections exist with local clinical placements, the Cambridge Body Psychotherapy Centre, the London Centre for Psychodrama, health providers and charities.
A significant amount of investment has taken place at the Cambridge campus in recent years and the Department now enjoys purpose-built facilities for many of its courses. Current accommodation includes:
- A fully-equipped Drama Studio capable of mounting public performances
- Two further drama studio rehearsal spaces
- The Mumford Theatre - a full size theatre, for professional touring theatre companies, local amateur companies and student productions
- A purpose-built Music Centre comprising teaching rooms, practice facilities, a large recital hall and a suite of computer music studios
- A purpose-built and fully-equipped Music Therapy Clinic and a new state of the art centre
- Extensive library resources
- A range of computing and multi media provision, including two television studios
You will also have access to specialised dramatherapy props and equipment, and to other departmental resources.
Staff engage in a range of research and consultancy activities, and the Department is a key contributor to the University's Cultures of Digital Economies Research Institute (CoDE). In addition, the Department hosts the Music for Health research centre.
The Music for Health research centre is also linked to an International Consortium for Research in nine universities, including in the USA, Australia and Europe. Current staff are active internationally in research consulting in the EU, China, India and other countries around the world.
The current list of academic staff, together with areas of teaching and research expertise, can be found on the departmental website.
Our campus libraries offer a wide range of publications and a variety of study facilities, including open-access computers, areas for quiet or group study and bookable rooms. We also have an extensive Digital Library providing on and off-site access to e-books, e-journals and databases.
We endeavour to make our libraries as accessible as possible for all our students. During Semester time, they open 24 hours a day from Monday to Thursday, until midnight on Friday and Saturday and for 12 hours on Sunday.
Our open access computer facilities provide free access to the internet, email, messaging services and the full Microsoft Office suite. A high speed wireless service is also available in all key areas on campus. If you are away from campus or a distant learner, our student desktop and its many applications can be accessed remotely using the internet. Your personal student email account provides free document storage, calendar facilities and social networking opportunities.
Throughout your studies you will have access to our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), providing course notes, reading materials and multi-media content to support your learning, while our e-vision system gives you instant access to your academic record and your timetable.
The Virtual Learning EnvironmentAll staff members involved in the delivery and development of the course will develop learning materials and student interaction opportunities through the VLE. To support this all members of staff have undertaken or will be undertaking training programmes within the use of the VLE which in turn have stressed the multiple applications of the VLE in supporting student engagement and therefore the student experience.
Special featuresDramatherapy has been established for four years at Anglia Ruskin, situated within our thriving Music and Performing Arts Department. We hold regular international conferences and now include a new 'top-up' MA Psychodrama running alongside the MA Dramatherapy course. The course introduces students to various dramatherapy approaches with an emphasis on a developmental and intercultural orientation, with research by Dramatherapy PhD students incorporated into the teaching.
Our Music Therapy research was rated 'world-leading' in the recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), and the dramatherapy staff have an international reputation in intercultural research and publications. Some shared learning with music therapy students makes for a multi-disciplinary approach but with dramatherapy remaining a discrete professional training.
Course convenorDr Ditty Dokter
Admissions and Placement coordinatorAmanda Carr
Links with industry and professional recognitionInvesting in this course will enable you to gain a qualification which, on successful completion, will permit you to register with the Health and Care Professions Council. This is a legal requirement for practising dramatherapists in the UK.
We also have close links with the British Association of Dramatherapists and other allied health professions through staff members who hold national offices in these organisations. There are strong links with other practitioners, such as psychotherapists, other arts therapists, psychiatrists and multidisciplinary teams. Most teaching staff are also practitioners (employed in a variety of settings) and researchers. This makes for a strong professional profile, and we have established collaborations with institutions across the world, providing a rich interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary milieu.
Work placementsThis course offers intensive clinical placements similar to that of a working dramatherapist. You will have the opportunity to work with a variety of patients/clients, both in groups and individually, and gain experiential learning as well as experience of other arts therapies.
Associated careersDramatherapists are employed within a variety of contexts, such as the NHS, social services, the education sector and in community projects. There are also opportunities to work privately or on a freelance basis.
Qualified dramatherapists are able to work with a broad range of clients, including adults and children with learning difficulties and mental health problems, and other special needs. Settings include prisons, hospices and other related outreach areas, and sometimes with patients in medical environments.
Please be ready to improvise and work in drama workshops as directed on the day, and to discuss your motivation and expectations of becoming a dramatherapist.
Video conference interview
In exceptional cases, for applicants who live in countries a long distance away, we may consider a video conference interview. This will only be offered if you give clear reasons why it is impossible to attend the interview/audition. You should note that video conference interviews can only be offered if you have professional video conferencing equipment at your disposal.
We welcome applications from International and EU students. Please select one of the links below for English language and country-specific entry requirement information.
Cambridge Ruskin International College, an associate college of Anglia Ruskin, which is located on our Cambridge campus.
How to apply
Teaching times*Year 1:
Two days a week plus two days a week on a clinical placement.
One day a week on campus plus a placement of least one day a week, often two placements of one day per week each.
Fees & funding
Open Day25 April, Chelmsford and Cambridge
Postgraduate Open Day
Advice & supportEmployability
FacultyArts, Law & Social Sciences
DepartmentMusic and Performing Arts
Contact usUK and EU applicants:
- Call 01245 493131
- Complete enquiry form
- Call +44 (0)1223 698609
- Complete enquiry form
* Teaching days are subject to change each academic year. Timings are also dependent on any optional modules you chose and are for guidance, so we advise all applicants to wait until they are in receipt of their timetable before making arrangements around course times.