Rebecca loves making a difference to the lives of the children she works with. Discover more about the rewards and challenges of being a dramatherapist
How did you get your job?
After completing an MA Dramatherapy at Anglia Ruskin University, I did a mixture of paid and voluntary dramatherapy work.
After four months as a volunteer counsellor with Place2Be I was employed by them as a school project manager running a therapeutic service in two primary schools. I also practice freelance with older adults in care settings.
What's a typical day like?
My job is very varied as the role requires some clinical work with children, supervision and management of volunteer counsellors, and liaison with teachers and parents. On a typical day I will greet children and parents at the school gates, catching up with parents who may need to see me. After this, the morning may be spent seeing children on a one-to-one basis, working on assessments, meeting with parents and dealing with correspondence.
At lunchtime I run a drop-in service for the children and at the end of the day give supervision to my volunteer counsellors. Often, I will also have a teacher drop in to discuss a particular child or class at the end of the day. In addition to regular data input there are also reports to write on a termly basis.
Make sure you have sufficient life experience to manage the needs of others
What do you enjoy about your job?
I particularly value the opportunity to have a visible impact on the emotional well-being of the children I work with.
What are the challenges?
Running a therapeutic service within a school setting presents challenges around confidentiality as my role requires me to hold personal information from children, parents and teachers. In addition, working for only two days in each school presents time management challenges and demands a high level of organisation.
How relevant is your degree?
A Masters in dramatherapy is essential if you want to work as a dramatherapist. It's also an excellent gateway qualification into a broad range of services, offering a grounding in psychological arts therapies and their potential with a range of client groups.
How has your career developed?
Since specialising I have worked primarily in education and would like to stay within my current organisation, possibly in a more senior role. At the same time I hope to continue to develop my freelance practice.
What are your top tips for becoming a dramatherapist?
When choosing a Masters look at all the 'hidden' costs, for example personal therapy and supervision. Remember that a Masters isn't an automatic passport to a job, so make sure you're interested in it for its own sake.
Dramatherapy doesn't have a clear career trajectory, but rather offers many varied opportunities. I would advise, therefore, that you:
- do some voluntary work with a range of client groups before applying for a course
- make sure you have sufficient life experience to manage the needs of others
- have other skills which make you employable while you're building your career portfolio.