Anglia Ruskin Research Online (ARRO)
Carr_2023.pdf (7.79 MB)

A critical exploration of religious, spiritual, faith and belief identities in dramatherapy: implications for practitioners and their clients

Download (7.79 MB)
posted on 2023-12-08, 15:04 authored by Mandy Carr

The aim of this research is to explore religious, spiritual, faith and belief identities within dramatherapy, then consider implications for practitioners and their clients. It investigates whether dramatherapists are confident working with clients from diverse religious, spiritual or belief backgrounds. Finally, it considers whether practice can be improved in this area and in what ways. The springboard for the study was my own experience of my religious identity being rendered invisible as a Jewish dramatherapy trainee. Twenty years later, as a senior dramatherapy lecturer, the struggle of one particular student to articulate her Christianity, the underrepresentation within the profession of other religious groups and the relative scarceness of literature within dramatherapy, also fuelled my desire to investigate this area.

Phenomenological and intersubjective, the research draws on the disciplines of drama, dramatherapy and practical theology. Interpretive threads arising from practical theology include embodiment, polyvocality, community, reflexivity and inclusivity. Multiple methods were used: semi-structured interviews, drama-based research, the researcher’s own journals and response through performance. Research participants are UK based dramatherapists from diverse religious and belief backgrounds.

Findings include the fact that most participants found it challenging to express their religious and belief identities, especially whilst training. This area was often overlooked in training, supervision and continuing professional development. They experienced underlying anxiety about this for a range of reasons including fear of prejudice. The use of drama helped the participants explore these challenging issues as a community with other dramatherapists.

The study shows that religious, spiritual, faith and belief identity is significantly overlooked in the profession, particularly in contrast with other areas of inclusion, such as gender and culture. The evidence from the study and the literature suggests further review and research with the aim of incorporating this area into education, training, clinical supervision and practice.



Anglia Ruskin University

File version

  • Published version

Thesis name

  • Professional Doctorate

Thesis type

  • Doctoral

Thesis submission date


Legacy Faculty/School/Department

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences


Accessibility note: If you require a more accessible version of this thesis, please contact us at

Usage metrics

    ARU Theses


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager