Login | Register

Physical Touch in Drama Therapy to Increase Intimacy for Older Adults in Assisted Living


Physical Touch in Drama Therapy to Increase Intimacy for Older Adults in Assisted Living

Showers, Susannah (2020) Physical Touch in Drama Therapy to Increase Intimacy for Older Adults in Assisted Living. [Graduate Projects (Non-thesis)] (Unpublished)

[thumbnail of Showers_MA_S2020.pdf]
Text (application/pdf)
Showers_MA_S2020.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Spectrum Terms of Access.


The aim of this paper is to propose an intervention design to facilitate intimacy and physical contact in a trauma-informed drama therapy group with older adults in assisted living. This study is an abridged intervention research that includes a literature review and a proposal for an intervention program structure, but does not include an assessment of the proposed intervention. The literature review spans findings on the importance of touch, impacts of abuse and neglect on the nervous system, development and sexuality of older adults, ageism, policy of sexual expression in assisted living, and group drama therapy. Survival responses from complex trauma, changes in health and physical ability, and systemic and internalized ageism can lead to isolation, a loss of bodily agency, and low social engagement. These factors can impede an individual’s ability to find intimacy and opportunity for sexual expression. In this intervention, group therapy for this population could help restore intimacy when it involves play, body movement, and metaphor. The proposed intervention outlines a model based on polyvagal theory and drama therapy for reducing isolation, increasing bodily autonomy, and increasing socialization.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Creative Arts Therapies
Item Type:Graduate Projects (Non-thesis)
Authors:Showers, Susannah
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Creative Arts Therapies (Drama Therapy Option)
Date:8 July 2020
Keywords:drama therapy, older adults, sexuality, intimacy, group therapy, assisted living, embodiment, polyvagal, nervous system
ID Code:986954
Deposited By: Susannah Showers
Deposited On:17 Jul 2020 15:42
Last Modified:17 Jul 2020 15:42


Abbott, E. (2016). Reviewing the literature. In Wheeler, B. L., & Murphy, K. M. (Eds.), An
introduction to music therapy research. Barcelona Publishers.
Buckley, T., Punkanen, M., & Ogden, P. (2018). The role of the body in fostering resilience: A Sensorimotor psychotherapy perspective. Body, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy, 13(4), 225-233. DOI: 10.1080/17432979.2018.1467344
Butler, C. (2018). Billy’s Drum: Feet and rhythm in Sesame therapeutic practice. Dramatherapy, 39(2), 63-75. https://doi.org/10.1080%2F02630672.2018.1482363
Butt, D., & Nguyen, C. (2018). After #metoo Report. http://www.aftermetoo.com Cattanach, A. (1999). Links between the arts therapies. Process in the arts therapies (pp.
191-197). Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Chiumento, A., Rahman, A., & Frith, L. (2020). Writing to template: Researchers’ negotiation of procedural research ethics. Social Science & Medicine, 255. https://doi.org/10.1016/ j.socscimed.2020.112980
Conroy, S., & Cotter, A. (2017). Self-reported sexual assault in Canada, 2014. Juristat: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. Retrieved from https://tinyurl.com/y8m8xpk8
D'Avello, M. (2015). Intimacy policies in long-term care facilities. [Doctoral thesis, Green State University]. Ohiolink.
Dieterich-Hartwell, R. (2017). Dance/movement therapy in the treatment of post traumatic stress: A reference model. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 54, 38-46. DOI: 10.1016/j.aip2017.02.010
Dileo, C., & Bradt, J. (2005). Medical music therapy: A meta-analysis and agenda for future research. Jeffrey Books.
Everett, B. (2007). Ethically managing sexual activity in long-term care. Sexuality and Disability, 25(1), 21-27. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11195-006-9027-3
Field, T. (2010). Touch for socioemotional and physical well-being: A review. Developmental Review, 30, 367-383. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dr.2011.01.001
Fisher, J. C. (1993). A framework for describing developmental change among older adults. Adult Education Quarterly, 43(2), 76-89. https://doi.org/ 10.1177/0741713693043002002
Floyd, K. (2013). What lack of affection can do to you. Psychology Today. https://tinyurl.com/ y8dfclz9
Frankowski, A. C., & Clark, L. J. (2009). Sexuality and intimacy in assisted living: Residents’ perspectives and experiences. Sexuality Research and Social Policy Journal of NSRC, 6(4), 25-37. DOI: 10.1525/srsp.2009.6.4.25
Fraser, M. W., Day, S. H., & Galinsky, M. J. (2009). Intervention research: Developing social programs. Oxford University Press.
Fraser, M. W., & Galinsky, M. J. (2010). Steps in intervention research: Designing and developing social programs. Research on Social Work Practice, 20(5), 459-466. https:// doi.org/10.1177/1049731509358424
Gendlin, E. T. (1996). Focusing-oriented psychotherapy: A manual of the experiential method. Guilford Press.
Gendlin, E.T. (2000). The 'mind'/'body' problem and first person process: Three types of concepts. In R.D. Ellis & N. Newton (Eds.), Advances in consciousness research: The caldron of consciousness: Motivation, affect and self-organization (pp. 109-118). John Benjamins.
Godsal, J. (2017). Neurodevelopmental approaches. In Hougham, R. & Jones, B.
(Eds.), Dramatherapy: Reflections and praxis (pp. 99-122). Macmillan International Higher Education.
Grewen, K. M., Anderson, B. J., Girdler, S. S., & Light, K. C. (2003). Warm partner contact is related to lower cardiovascular reactivity. Behavioral Medicine, 29(3), 123-130. DOI: 10.1080/08964280309596065.
Hafford-Letchfield, T., Couchman, W., Webster, M., & Avery, P. (2010). A drama project about older people's intimacy and sexuality. Educational Gerontology, 36(7), 604-621. DOI: 10.1080/03601270903324511
Hebb, D. O. (2005). The organization of behavior: A neuropsychological theory. Psychology Press.
Hoare, C. H. (2002). Erikson on development in adulthood: New insights from the unpublished papers. Oxford University Press on Demand.
Jennings, S., (2013). An exploration of creative ageing and social theatre. Nursing and Residential Care, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.12968/nrec.2006.8.1.20245
Jennings, S. (2005). The ageing fool: The importance of humour and stimulus for older people. Dramatherapy, 27(4), 14-16. https://doi.org/10.1080/02630672.2005.9689674
Jesse, C. & Farabaugh, S. (2018). Pelvic pain clinic. Erospirit.
Johnson, D. R. (2009). Developmental transformations: Towards the body as presence. In Johnson, D. R., & Emunah, R. (Eds.), Current approaches in drama therapy. (pp. 65-88). Charles C Thomas Publisher.
Jones, P. (2007). Drama as therapy volume 1: Theory, practice and research. Routledge.
Kapitan, L. (2017). Introduction to art therapy research. Routledge.
Kleinplatz, P. J., Paradis, N., Charest, M., Lawless, S., Neufeld, M., Neufeld, R., & Rosen, L. (2018). From sexual desire discrepancies to desirable sex: Creating the optimal connection. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 44(5), 438-449. https://doi.org/ 10.1080/0092623X.2017.1405309
Leijssen, M. (1998). Focusing microprocesses. In Greenberg, L. S. Watson, J. C. & Lietaer, G. (Eds.), Handbook of experiential psychotherapy, (pp. 121-154). Guilford Press.
Levine, P. A. (2010). In an unspoken voice: How the body releases trauma and restores goodness. North Atlantic Books.
Loutsis, A., Hougham, R., & Jones, B. (2017). Body, movement and trauma. In Hougham, R. & Jones, B. (Eds.), Dramatherapy: Reflections and praxis (pp. 145-168). Macmillan International Higher Education.
Mahieu, L., & Gastmans, C. (2015). Older residents’ perspectives on aged sexuality in institutionalized elderly care: A systematic literature review. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 52(12), 1891-1905. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2015.07.007
McBride, N. (2016). Intervention research: A practical guide for developing evidence-based school prevention programmes. Springer.
Milioni, D. (2007). Embodiment and metaphor in dramatherapy: A discursive approach to the extra-discursive. Dramatherapy, 29(3), 3-8. DOI: 10.1080/02630672.2008.9689729
Rutigliano, M. (March 2020). Phone interview with Hebrew Home at Riverdale.
Smith, A. G. (2000). Exploring death anxiety with older adults through developmental transformations. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 27(5), 321-331. DOI: 10.1016/ S0197-4556(00)00074-5
Soydan, H. (2010). Intervention research in social work. Research on Social Work Practice. 20(5). 457-458. DOI: 10.1177/1049731510361480
Stolinsky, S. A. (2002). Act It Out. New Harbinger.
Tracy, S. J. (2010). Qualitative quality: Eight “big-tent” criteria for excellent qualitative research.
Qualitative Inquiry, 16(10), 837-851. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1077800410383121
Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (2019). Retrieved from: http://www.pre.ethics.gc.ca/eng/policy-politique/initiatives/tcps2-eptc2/ Default/
Whitehead, J. (2008). Using a living theory methodology in improving practice and generating educational knowledge in living theories. Educational Journal of Living Theories, 1(1), 103-126. https://ejolts.net/files/journal/1/1/Whitehead1(1).pdf
All items in Spectrum are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved. The use of items is governed by Spectrum's terms of access.

Repository Staff Only: item control page

Downloads per month over past year

Research related to the current document (at the CORE website)
- Research related to the current document (at the CORE website)
Back to top Back to top