Journal article

"We copy to join in, to not be lonely": Adolescents in special education reflect on using dramatic imitation in group dramatherapy to enhance relational connection and belonging

Amanda Musicka-Williams

Frontiers in Psychology | Frontiers Media | Published : 2020


This paper focuses on doctoral research which explored relationships and interpersonal learning through group dramatherapy and creative interviewing with adolescents in special education. A constructivist grounded theory study, positioning adolescents with intellectual/developmental disabilities as experts of their own relational experiences, revealed a tendency to “copy others.” The final grounded theory presented “copying” as a tool which participants consciously employed “to play with,” “learn from,” and “join in with” others. Commonly experiencing social ostracism, participants reflected awareness of their tendency to “copy others” being underpinned by a need to belong. Belonging was the..

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Funding Acknowledgements

I wish to acknowledge the research participants, without whom I would have nothing to say, the support of Port Phillip Specialist School, Victorian Education Department, and the Creative Arts and Music Therapies Research Unit, University of Melbourne which funded and enabled this research. Gratitude to my supervisors Professor Katrina McFerran, Professor Anna Seymour, and Dr. Lucy Bolger for guidance throughout.