Tabitha Harriet Deh (Department of Theatre Arts) Defends her Ph.D Thesis

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Tabitha Harriet Deh (Mrs) successfully defended her Ph.D thesis on 17th August, 2017 at the School of Graduate Studies. She is a student of the department of Theatre Arts. The title of her thesis is: Drama Therapy and Children with Special Needs: A Case of the Cognitive Impaired in Ghana. The thesis was supervised by Dr. Ossei Agyemang and Prof. S. A. Danquah.

The following is the abstract of the thesis.

A closer look at the components of the Expressive Arts; drama, dance, music, visual art etc., discloses an enormous potential in effecting positive attitudinal and behavioral change in its users. This research explores drama therapy, as an aspect of Drama in Education to heal and improve the lifestyle of children with special needs. This group of children with special needs falls within the category of cognitive impairment or intellectual disability, and has frequently suffered rejection, isolation, neglect, stigmatization, and marginalization. Culturally and socially, they have been branded under the notion that ‘nothing good can come out of them’. Drama therapy, which encourages spontaneity and creativity, employed action methods and improvisations in three special institutions namely: the Dzorwulu Special School, Echoing Hills Village both in the Greater-Accra Region of Ghana and the Three Kings Special School in Bator in the Volta Region of Ghana as varied techniques to attain healing, empowerment and self-esteem. Healing in this context means to enliven the situations in which these children find themselves, so that the creative activities they indulge in become a symbol in this adjunct therapeutic process. The special needs children in this research have been inspired to develop their artistic capabilities regardless of their intellectual inadequacies. The interventions have brought transformation through the inspiration to explore the latent creative and intuitive capacities which are housed in the right hemisphere of the brain. These creative interventions have resulted in tremendous therapeutic outcomes such as independence, progress and self-esteem. As Rogers (1993) rightly puts it; “creativity and therapy overlap: what is creative is often therapeutic and what is therapeutic is frequently a creative process.” In this regard creativity and therapy complement each other rather than oppose one another.

Examiners and some members of the audience