Expressive Art Therapy (Focus: Drama) in Special Needs Education

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by Neha Bhat on Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Performing Arts

Session type

Technical level


The objective of the workshop is to introduce participants (teachers, social workers, drama-enthusiasts etc) to the value of using music, visual art and process drama’ as tools for therapeutic interventions in centres or schools serving children with special needs.
The focus of this ‘intermediate’ workshop, though will be ‘process drama’ over the other art forms.


The session aims to introduce to participants, key tools to working with the body using drama techniques focused on Indian mindfulness practices.
The session will be partly experiential and partly theortical with a Q&A at the end.

Session Plan:
The session will begin with intensive mindfulness-based body work.
The facilitator will take participants through a music based ritual, a body-based communion (longest engagement of the session) and a visual art based closure.
Participants will be then be lead through a presentation that will be reflective of the session. The presentation will explain the types of interventions possible and their researched benefits of the same.


-Participants must wear loose clothing for the session and bring a notebook along. -A4 size sheets and basic stationery like a box of basic acrylic paint and brushes

Speaker bio

Neha Bhat is a certified expressive arts therapist who works in the spaces between visual art and drama. As the in-house art therapist at Mumbai’s Gateway School, a school for children with special needs, she designs and executes arts- based therapeutic interventions for close to 60 mixed-age children per week.
Neha has worked as a drama therapist in a women’s prison in Ypislanti, Michigan for close to two years- designing creative rehabilitiation programs for incarcerated inmates. (part of PCAP- Prison Creative Arts Project) In Mumbai, she has her private exressive art therapy practice and also facilitates art therapy workshops for various NGOs for communities at risk.
Neha graduated from the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore and went onto pursue Interdisciplinary Performance Art in the US. She has presented her research on the value of expressive art therapy for children with special needs in many education conferences, the most recent being the International Conference of Education and Social Sciences in Istanbul, Turkey in 2015.