In September 1984, a few people interested in dramatherapy form into a group under the coordination of Dr. Sue Jennings. The group holds regular meetings every two months and gradually a nucleus of people with significant interest in dramatherapy emerges, and the need for education and training in Dramatherapy in Greece arises.
The group’s meetings have now turned into training seminars with several participants who
- either wish to learn the method so they can become dramatherapists themselves,
- or wish to experience dramatherapy as a path to personal development
In September 1986, at a time when there are no Greek dramatherapists, education on dramatherapy and playtherapy starts in Athens with the cooperation of Sue Jennings.
Responsible for organization and administration is the Centre of Therapy through Art. Educational support is provided by the Institute of Dramatherapy, London. The Institute provides and evaluates training leading to a Diploma in Dramatherapy or Playtherapy, which is accredited by the Dramatherapy Association of England.
The Centre of Therapy through Art remains in operation for three years, until June 1989.
In the fall of 1989, the professional association Greek Society of Dramatherapy– Theatre and Therapy is established on the initiative of students who wished to complete their training.
The educational program, always with the cooperation of the Institute of Dramatherapy, London and Sue Jennings, and the promotion of Dramatherapy in Greece continue under this new scheme. A number of international seminars are organized with the participation of dramatherapists who either practice Dramatherapy or carry out research in Dramatherapy in Europe and the U.S.A (such as Steve Mitchell, Robert Landy, Muli Lahad).
Several internationally recognized dramatherapists and important Greek mental health professionals interested in connecting healing with art in and theatre people interested in the healing role of their art contributed to the program.
The association focused on providing training in the theory and practice of Dramatherapy and Playtherapy. And even though one of the main objectives of the Association was to make Dramatherapy better known in Greece, it gradually it became almost exclusively a training agency. New members and new trainees were added.
In 1993 the name of the Association changes unofficially to become the Hellenic Association of Dramatherapists and Playtherapists (HADP). There is already a number of graduates (Diploma holders), who as professionals exercising a new method face new needs relating to the application and promotion of Dramatherapy. At this point the association cannot simultaneously cover the needs of the professionals and the needs of the training program. The term association, which is the term casually used by the members, testifies to the collective spirit under which the members operate and come together to serve the common goal, that of going on with the educational program.
In the context of practical training, dramatherapy was used in various populations and therapeutic frameworks, such as chronic psychotic patients, de-institutionalization programs, people with mobility problems, in Centres of Child and Adolescent Care, Hospitals and Day Care Centres, Psycho-social and Vocational Rehabilitation Centres, Drug Rehabilitation Programs, Prevention Programs, etc.
On the way to achieving the common objective, a number of difficulties become apparent, and the needs of professionals become clearly distinct from needs relating to the organization and operation of the training program. Some members decide to withdraw from the Association to pursue their own professional path applying successfully the methodology of Dramatherapy on specific populations, such as persons with addictions.
So, the efforts of professionals and students alike to establish Drama and Play Therapy as psychotherapeutic methods in the area of mental health are becoming more and more intensive but at the same time a new need emerges, that of discontinuing the involvement of the Association in the training.
In 1997 the Board of the Association decides to seek out a reliable private agency to assume the task of providing training. The search does not bring the anticipated results and in the meantime several differences among members become apparent. Training enters “a transitional stage” and the Association splits, with several members either leaving or being expelled.
In 1999 the Association redefines its objectives, and continues providing training without the cooperation of the Institute of Dramatherapy, London, but enriching the curriculum to satisfy the conditions required for comprehensive Dramatherapy and Playtherapy training. The experience of the Dramatherapy and Playtherapy professionals who provided the training along with the very constructive cooperation with other training programmes in the field of psychotherapy proved valuable. In tandem, a number of members seek to establish Dramatherapy and Playtherapy methods and their professional character in the organisations where they work.
In 2000-2001 the Association becomes a full member of the National Organization for Psychotherapy in Greece (NOPG), which is a member of the European Association for Psychotherapy. The Association now seeks a new and more comprehensive framework adapted to new needs which will allow it to formulate trade unionist demands and facilitate the professional development of its members. Thus in 2004 the articles of association of the Greek Society for Dramatherapy – Theatre and Therapy are amended and the name changes to Greek Association of Dramatherapists and Playtherapists in Greece, always based in Athens. The training program stops accepting new trainees and care is taken that existing students complete their studies.