Acting as Trauma-informed Adult Learning and Personal Development


  • Rob Townsend Institute of Health & Management
  • Juicenta Gunning


Trauma-Informed, Personal development, Psychodrama, Dramatherapy, Theatrotherapy, Therapeutic Theatre, Acting, Performance, Psycho-social development, Narrative Theatre, Trauma-informed positive education, Educational Theatre.


Trauma-informed theoretical and practice development are current directions in human

services, social work, teacher education, and other professions. There is evidence that adults

who participate in formal and informal education for arts and performance-based activities,

have experienced a traumatic event in their lives. This article outlines the first stage of an

ongoing research project on trauma and drama production processes that reviews some of

the academic literature exploring examples of how acting and performance has been used as

a form of trauma-informed personal development. This summary of relevant literature aims

to highlight acting, theatre, performance, and drama as possible creative arts therapy alternatives

within current social work practices, as they offer a non-threatening alternative to talking

therapies, highlighting that there is evidence of improvements in people’s social lives through

involvement in the creative arts.