ERIC Number: EJ721289
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Nov
Reference Count: 11
Theatre as Therapy, Therapy as Theatre Transforming the Memories and Trauma of the 21 September 1999 Earthquake in Taiwan
Chang, Ivy I-Chu
Research in Drama Education, v10 n3 p285-301 Nov 2005
On 21 September 1999, a 7.3 magnitude earthquake in Taiwan destroyed more than 100,000 houses, causing 2,294 deaths and 8,737 injuries. In the aftermath of the earthquake, a great number of social workers and cultural workers were thrust into Nantou County and Taichung County of central Taiwan, the epicentre of the earthquake, to assist the survivors. In this article, I will focus on the therapeutic workshops of the Truth Good Beauty Human Potential Centre (TGB), which held therapeutic workshops in more than eight elementary schools and junior high schools to help those children who suffered the loss of family members. Wang Nai Zhang, Director of Pu Li workstation, mentioned that the organisation also established a workstation in Pu Li in April 2000, aimed at training local volunteers and counselling local people (Wang Nai Zhang, 2001). In their therapeutic workshops, they combined the techniques of Freitz Perl's Gestalt therapy and Moreno's psychodrama [J. L. Moreno (1959) Psychodrama (vol. II) (New York, Beacon House); to assist those who suffered from post traumatic stress disorder. In my fieldwork and research, I have been investigating the efficacy as well as predicament they have experienced in their workshops. In some villages of central Taiwan, local people are quite conservative and they find western concepts of psychotherapy or therapeutic theatre quite foreign. Suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, many people would rather seek help from a shaman or indigenous ritual than consult a psychotherapist or social workers. Under such circumstances, it becomes a very challenging task for therapists and social workers to break the ice and win the trust of village people. The research is presented here in three parts. Firstly, I will conduct performance analyses on the creative process of therapeutic theatre with an emphasis on awareness awakening through behavioural changes as well as on the interactions among the director, actors and audience members. Secondly, when exploring the theories and practices of Perl and Moreno's therapeutic theatre in Taiwanese locales, I will examine carefully how practitioners translate western techniques into a local context by incorporating cultural resources inherent in local communities. Thirdly, I will examine how they mobilise collective memories and the community network to achieve the best effect.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Junior High Schools, Workshops, Psychotherapy, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Elementary Schools, Natural Disasters, Coping, Counseling Techniques, Theater Arts, Cultural Relevance, Behavior Change
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Junior High Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Taiwan