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Intersecting modes of aesthetic distance and mimetic induction in therapeutic process: Examining a drama-based treatment for military-related traumatic stress

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Can Shakespeare be a treatment for posttraumatic stress in military veterans? This is the question that our research team has been examining through the empirical investigation of the DE-CRUIT program. DE-CRUIT uses Shakespeare’s verse to help veterans with the articulation, sharing and processing of trauma. In this article, we focus specifically on the therapeutic process of the program that involves various modes of aesthetic distance in combination with mimetic induction, a treatment technique in which fictionalized narrative reflects the real-life experience of trauma. After describing that process, we illustrate these various intersecting therapeutic components through the case of ‘D.’, a military veteran who took part in DE-CRUIT after many years of living with a secret, non-disclosed trauma.
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Keywords: Shakespeare; aesthetic distance; military veterans; mimetic induction; theatre; trauma

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: New York University 2: Veterans’ Center for the Performing Arts

Publication date: October 1, 2018

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  • Drama Therapy Review (DTR) is committed to documenting and disseminating drama therapy research, promoting scholarship about drama therapy theory and practice, encouraging interdisciplinary dialogue, and providing a forum for lively debate in the field. DTR profiles and critically reflects upon current and emerging practices involving the intentional and therapeutic uses of drama and performance in clinical, educational, community, organizational, and research contexts.
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