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Drama Therapy

I have always considered Halloween my favorite holiday. I consider it so because I always found people to be more expressive and without reservation about being themselves when in costume. It appears Oscar Wilde observed this phenomenon of human nature long before I did when he stated, ôMan is least himself when he talks in his own person; give him a mask and he will tell the truth.ö EmunahÆs says Wilde could not have known ôthe significance [his] statement would have for the field of drama therapy.ö If this is so, it is not because Wilde lacked understanding about people hiding their true feelings and emotions behind a fatade but because drama therapy did not exist in his time. For when Wilde said ôGive [man] a mask and he will tell the truthö, he was expressing the core of drama therapy. Drama therapy is the ôintentional and systematic use of dramaö to foster psychological growth and change (Emunah 1994, 3). It is often easier to express our feelings and emotions, especially painful ones, when we are able to conceal our true self from others. Role-play is a therapeutic technique based on such beliefs.

In real life I have observed the ability of people to change through drama/theater processes. I have noticed this ability most keenly during Halloween. During Halloween I have seen people exhibit emotions and behaviors they typically keep repressed. For example, I knew a young male who was well-bred and typically reserved. His parents were well-known in the community and the hosts of many important business and social functions. He was always well-groomed, polite and restrained, and never exhibited any emotions other than superficial social amenities. One year at a Halloween costume party he and I both attended, I was shocked when he came into the room dressed as a woman in a red dress and high heels to match! His behavior was completely different. He flirted, acted in a raucous manner, and eventual


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Drama Therapy. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 03:52, May 26, 2022, from