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What Are You Doing With Your Life? What the Heck is Drama Therapy? and Other Scary Questions

“Where do you want to go to college?”

Check. I answered that one around this time last year. Relief poured into my body as though a dam had been finally broken down and the water could settle in its familiar, calm shape. That was the end of incessant pestering from neighbors walking their yippy dogs down the street, the end of a spreadsheet of pros and cons that was more stabilized then Lady Justice’s balance, the end of reading long articles about self-declared successful alumni and wondering why, if they were so successful, they were writing stupid things like this. 

Nope. I was wrong.

College is the start of even more intimidating questions.

Now, you’ve picked your thing, your major, what are you going to do with it? I know you haven’t even begun classes, but you must know exactly what is in store for yourself. 

The first semester of college, I sat down to dinner with the family of one of my dearest friends. In stiff, metal chairs nestled up against a smooth, spotless sheet of glass, her dad asked me, 

“what does your career path look like?” 

I was taken aback. My stomach fluttered. The last time I got asked a question that stirred my stomach like that was before I committed to college. I didn’t know we were starting this game again; the game where I am constantly on the offense, trying to figure out my next tactic to get what I want, but also the defense, trying to protect my beliefs and wants and dreams while still being in check with the big ‘r’ word-reality.

“Well,” I began, “I want to go into drama therapy…eventually.” 

Now, this is the point where I have to explain what drama therapy is, as soon as I say it. Some people, like my dear friend’s family, are genuinely curious, while others ask me what it is as though I made it up on the spot to sound smart. Believe me, I would not say drama therapy to the common public if I wanted their commonplace ideals to rank me as ‘smart’.

Drama therapy is much like any other art therapy: music therapy, visual art therapy, dance therapy, it uses the practice of its art form to help clients psychologically. Much like typical counseling therapy, the method is custom to each individual or group seeking treatment. The Registered Drama Therapist must first evaluate the person/ people requesting treatment to see what they need. Once the group looking for treatment (mental health facilities, schools, hospitals, correctional facilities, after-school programs, private practices, etc.) has been assessed, processes and techniques can begin. Things like improvisation, full-on productions, storytelling and theatre games are brought to the patients in order to get them their desired result from treatment. Those were a lot of big words that came out rather dull. In short, drama therapy uses different aspects of theatre to help people. It’s rad. 

“Where are you working this summer?”

“Have you had an internship?” 

“What connections do you have?” 

“Do you really think you’ll make it?” “Is this realistic?”

“Will you have time to start a family?” 

“Are you going to make any money?” 

“Where are you going to grad school?” 

“How are you paying for grad school?” 

I don’t know. I really don’t know, and that’s cool, it is alright. I checked off one big, daunting question, I’ll get around to the others eventually.  

Drama therapy is what I want to do, after becoming an actress and poet and stuff. I’ll get there. 


I don’t know, but it’ll happen. 


Photo Credit: Google Images

Caroline is a student at VCU double majoring in theatre performance and psychology! Her favorite things include dance parties, chai lattes, and poetry.
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