The power of theater to promote individual recovery and social change

Faigin DA, Stein CH.  Department of Psychology, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403, USA.  Psychiatr Serv. 2010 Mar;61(3):306-8. doi: 10.1176/

Although theatrical activities are used in a variety of therapeutic settings, little attention has been paid to the ways that theater can enhance the recovery process and community integration for people living with psychiatric disabilities. Community-based theater involving people with psychiatric disabilities offers unique opportunities for personal growth, social connection, and advocacy efforts. This Open Forum posits that theater has the power to both facilitate individual recovery and improve the social conditions of people living with mental illness. Critical elements of theatrical activities that relate to processes of recovery and community integration are examined. Implications for future research and program development are discussed.