Adults with learning disabilities


Paula is a woman in her late twenties with a learning disability. She lives at home with her mother and attends a day centre on two days of the week.  Her key worker said “Paula tends to get upset or very excited by any events that happen or by something that she might hear about.  She often seems angry or preoccupied. These emotions overtake her and she is unable to settle or concentrate for any period of time and therefore is unable to access any activities here or in the community”.  The key worker referred her to dramatherapy and she was invited to attend a new dramatherapy group at the centre for a 10 month period.

Although reluctant at first, Paula soon responded well to the structured and creative way of working. Her confidence grew as she participated in the warm up games and she found that she could explore different ways of expressing herself through the scenarios and stories the group created.  This helped her to manage how she was feeling more effectively and her concentration improved. She started to arrive on time and stay for the duration of the session. Not only was she able to express how she was feeling, but gradually she felt settled enough to be able to listen to other people in the group and relationships grew.

A very creative side of Paula emerged and she found that she enjoyed creating characters as well as devising stories with others in the group. Props, hats, costume, art images, photographs were offered and chosen by group members as a starting point for their characters and story plot. Soon Paula had the confidence to come up with ideas for characters and contribute to the different storylines that the group devised.

The dramatherapy had a knock on effect and the staff at the day centre noticed that she was more able to join other activities and sessions that were on offer to her.  In general Paula was calmer and not so easily affected by outside events. Staff at the day centre said this result was a ‘big success’.

* All names have been changed to protect the identity of our clients.

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