Dramatherapy in Schools

Dramatherapy in Schools
Interview with our Dramatherapist Nikki Cripps


Having spent several years teaching English and being a personal tutor, mostly working with older teens and young adults, I came to realise I was more becoming more interested in the emotional world of my tutees and students than their grades.

I was also realising that in order to thrive in education young people need good mental health, and there are so many young people facing challenges over this, due to the pressures upon them in the education system and within wider society.

With my tutees in tutorials I brought in arts materials and they expressed gratitude for being allowed a space just to craft and explore freely. We started doing some drama games and activities and I received feedback from them that this had allowed them to let off some steam.

In my subsequent work for the Plymouth Excellence Cluster and now for YAHT I work in school, mostly 1-1 although the option to start a group is always available. My Dramatherapy training provides me with the skills to offer a range of arts methods from projective work using arts materials and small object sculpts, more embodied work including movement and mutual play through to taking on role.

One young person, who had experienced talking therapies previously, recently said to me: “If it was just talking I don’t think it would work … I wouldn’t know what to say…I like to start to draw something and tell the story as it comes out”.

I also use Dramatherapy at CAMHS in cases where it is felt that such methods specifically might benefit a particular child.

YAHT is such an exciting and much-needed project. It’s encouraging that schools are signing up for ensuring their pupils who need some extra support with with their mental health right now can access this. It’s great that young people can receive this help in a way that is timely and seeks to promote healing through helping them harness their own creative resources.

About Nikki

Nikki has a background in teaching English and education. After completing her training in Dramatherapy she worked as a Dramatherapist in schools for the Plymouth Excellence Cluster before her current roles as a Primary Mental Health worker for CAMHS, alongside working in a school with YAHT.

An introvert at heart, she has always engaged in drama and been a lover and creator of stories, believing that each dramatic encounter with being something other than ourselves has the potential to take us closer to who we actually are…or could be!


Do you know a school interested in having an arts therapist visiting once a week to work with pupils? Please get in touch with us.