Theatre And 'Madness'

A 19-year-old woman named Rebecca who was referred to Dr. Sack’s clinic for treatment purposes. She was ‘just like a child in some ways’, as stated by her grandmother. She could not find her directions, use a key, had left/right confusion, wear shoe or glove the correct way or side and wear clothes in a right way. Rebecca would sometimes notice her mistakes and fidget with it for hours or fail to notice at all. Overall, she was clumsy and ill-coordinated.

Her average IQ score was 60 or less (Sacks, 1998, p.178). Sacks (1998) found that above all that, at some deeper level, she was a calm, composed and spiritually complete person who was equal to all others. She had a deep love for stories, poetries, nature, her church and religion. Metaphors, figures of speech, striking similitudes, would come naturally to her (Sachs, 1998, p. 179). Rebecca insists on joining the theatre and dropping other classes and workshops. Her this choice can be justified as “madness” is appreciated in the theatre because it can help for innovation by going outside the box (Orjasaeter & Ottar, 2017).

Sachs (1998) saw all her strengths and powers eventually, which his tests and evaluations failed to show. He also noticed that joining the theatre did very well for her and no one could tell that she had gross-perceptual and spatio-temporal problems when she was on stage. An occupational therapist would have recommended Rebecca to continue with theatre. It was not only meaningful and important to her, but it had also provided art therapy benefits to her (as interpreted from Sack’s, 1998, p.

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185). Arts therapies are used for patients with psychiatric and psychosomatic illnesses in in-patient, out-patient and rehabilitative institutions (Fenner, Abdelazim, Bräuninger, Strehlow, & Seifert, 2017). Fenner et al. (2017) considered arts therapies (as cited in Dannecker, 2006) as techniques of music therapy, dance movement therapy (DMT), theatre therapy and poetic therapy which are used for maintaining and restoring mental health.

Art therapists have been developing and implementing frameworks for a wide group of clients who suffer from various kinds of trauma and psychiatric disorders (Fenner et al., 2017). Rebecca’s grandmother, who she loved dearly, had passed away which devastated her (Sacks, 1998, p.182). This might have caused some trauma for her. Fenner et al. (2017) stated that these therapies are proven to be an effective approach for improving social function, reducing negative psychotic symptoms and affect caused due to anger. A review by Torrissen & Stickley (2018) states that participants from a study have increased their confidence to relate to others through their participation in the theatre (as cited in Moreno, 1953, p. 336). They also admit to having a better self-image and believe that the theatre gave them an opportunity to redefine themselves in a positive and healthy way. Thus their social and functional being has been improved. As proven by various studies, art therapy has beneficial effects for patients like Rebecca. Any Occupational therapist, who believes in ‘evidence-based practice’ shall provide opportunities to her for engaging and participation in theatre, dance or other forms of art.

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