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Drama therapy for schizophrenia or schizophrenia-like illnesses

  • Review
  • Intervention




Medication is the mainstay of treatment for schizophrenia or schizophrenia-like illnesses, but many people continue to experience symptoms in spite of medication (Johnstone 1998). In addition to medication, creative therapies, such as drama therapy may prove beneficial. Drama therapy is a form of treatment that encourages spontaneity and creativity. It can promote emotional expression, but does not necessarily require the participant to have insight into their condition or psychological-mindset.


To review the effects of drama therapy and related approaches as an adjunctive treatment for schizophrenia compared with standard care and other psychosocial interventions.

Search methods

We searched the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group's Register (October 2006), hand searched reference lists, hand searched Dramatherapy (the journal of the British Association of Dramatherapists) and Arts in Psychotherapy and contacted relevant authors.

Selection criteria

We included all randomised controlled trials that compared drama therapy, psychodrama and related approaches with standard care or other psychosocial interventions for schizophrenia.

Data collection and analysis

We reliably selected, quality assessed and extracted data from the studies. We excluded data where more than 50% of participants in any group were lost to follow up. For continuous outcomes we calculated a weighted mean difference and its 95% confidence interval. For binary outcomes we calculated a fixed effects risk ratio (RR), its 95% confidence interval (CI) and a number needed to treat (NNT).

Main results

The search identified 183 references but only five studies (total n=210) met the inclusion criteria. All of the studies were on inpatient populations and compared the intervention with standard inpatient care. One study had drama therapy as the intervention, one had role-playing, one had a social drama group and two used psychodrama. Two of the included studies were Chinese and it is difficult to know whether psychodrama and indeed inpatient psychiatric care in China is comparable with the drama interventions and inpatient care in the other included studies. There were no significant findings about the value of drama interventions for keeping inpatients engaged in treatment. Due to poor reporting very little data from the five studies could be used and there were no conclusive findings about the harms or benefits of drama therapy for inpatients with schizophrenia.

Authors' conclusions

Randomised studies are possible in this field. The use of drama therapy for schizophrenia and schizophrenia-like illnesses should continue to be under evaluation as its benefits, or harms, are unclear.




要務是精神分裂或類精神分裂疾病的唯一治療,但許多患者在藥物治療下仍持續有精神症狀(Johnstone 1998)。除了藥物治療以外,創造性的治療,如戲劇治療,也許能證明其效益。戲劇治療是一種鼓勵自發與創造性的治療。它能夠促進情緒表達,但不需要參與者對她們的狀況具有病識感或心理感知。




我們搜尋Cochrane Schizophrenia Group的臨床登錄(2006年10月),徒手搜尋文獻清單,戲劇治療(the journal of the British Association of Dramatherapists),以及心理治療中的藝術,並且聯絡相關的作者。











此翻譯計畫由臺灣國家衛生研究院(National Health Research Institutes, Taiwan)統籌。



Plain language summary

Drama therapy for schizophrenia or schizophrenia-like illnesses

Drama therapy is one of the creative therapies suggested to be of value as an adjunctive treatment for people with schizophrenia or schizophrenia-like illnesses. Randomised studies have been successfully conducted in this area but poor study reporting meant that no conclusions could be drawn from them. The benefits or harms of the use of drama therapy in schizophrenia are therefore unclear and further large, high quality studies are required to determine the true value of drama therapy for schizophrenia or schizophrenia-like illnesses.