Cultural Competency in Dramatherapy Training

PhD Thesis

Sunday, L. 2022. Cultural Competency in Dramatherapy Training. PhD Thesis The University of Derby College of Arts, Humanities & Education
AuthorsSunday, L.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameDoctor of Philosophy

This research grew out of the researcher’s experience encountered during their Dramatherapy training. It explores the concept of cultural competency and ways in which it can be embedded in the training. Many definitions of cultural competency have been put forth in the growing body of literature related to this subject. Each definition indicates that to become culturally competent, healthcare professionals must actively engage with people who differ from themselves. All the definitions identified in this research indicate that it is a journey that one never fully arrives at. The question that this research poses is ‘when should this journey into cultural competency begin?’ Does it start when one is in training to become a therapist or when one qualifies? All the participants that took part in this research indicate the importance of this journey starting earlier, while one is still undertaking the training.
This research highlights that there is a demand for cultural competency to be explored in-depth in Dramatherapy training programmes. One of the important points raised by participants in the research is that cultural competency is explored only when the students bring up the topic and then the lecturers would address it, which indicates that if the topic is not raised by the trainees, then it will not be addressed by the trainers.

This research also examines the policies of the British Association of Dramatherapists (BADth), who are the professional organisation for Dramatherapists in the UK, along with the Health and Care Professional Council (HCPC), who are the regulator for the Dramatherapy profession in the UK. In terms of discovering what emphasis is placed by BADth and HCPC’s policy documents in relation to cultural competency, the findings indicate that not much prominence is placed on the concept.

This research uses a qualitative approach and the rationale for choosing this approach is that it’s about discovering the experience of participants with regards to their Dramatherapy training. This forms the descriptive aspect of this study’s methodology, where data is generated through words rather than numbers (Bricki, 2007). A triangulation approach was also used to check and establish the validity of the research by analysing the research questions from multiple perspectives.
The contribution that this research makes to the field of study, is through creating a tool-kit that provides a guide to Dramatherapy training institutions of how cultural competency can be embedded in the training. This PHD journey has been one that has met with many challenges and struggles. The most significant of these has been the silence around the topic. How does one capture silence, when the whole aim is to be vocal? One of the aims of this research has been to consider who holds the power to push forward the change that is required in Dramatherapy training regarding cultural competency, which again reflects this concept of being vocal around this issue.
The research concludes that all hold the power for change; Dramatherapy trainees can keep demanding that such topics be given greater emphasis. HCPC could also reinforce this in their policies to the training institutions and Dramatherapy training institutions can choose to place greater emphasis on the topic and be willing to break the silence and discomfort around it.

KeywordsCultural Competency, Training, Dramatherapy, HCPC, BADth
PublisherCollege of Arts, Humanities & Education, University of Derby
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Output statusUnpublished
Publication process dates
Deposited24 Nov 2022
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Related outputs

The internal dialogue of a Black Dramatherapist: ‘Am I the only one who feels like this?’
Linda Sunday 2022. The internal dialogue of a Black Dramatherapist: ‘Am I the only one who feels like this?’. Dramatherapy. 42 (1-3), pp. 1-10.