‘Great red anemone and its beautiful black pollens’: On tele-drama therapy sessions with older adults in times of COVID-19

Shiri Kordova, Shoshi Keisari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The curfews and social isolation that are enforced in response to the COVID-19 outbreak significantly affect older adults whose only social contact is out of the home such as at adult day care centres, community centres, and those who rely on the support of social care. This social isolation places them at greater risk for mental and physical health problems (Armitage and Nellums 2020). In addition, the restrictions that led to the closing of the adult day care centres, also limited their mental and psychical healthcare services. Accordingly, a substantive need emerged to support older adults in their homes. This essay reflects on tele-drama therapy sessions with two older women, members of an adult day centre, during the outbreak. The literature indicates the value of drama therapy for helping older adults process their life experiences and for improving their sense of competence and relationships with others (e.g. Keisari and Palgi 2017; Keisari et al. 2018; Dassa and Harel 2019). When the pandemic broke out, many drama therapy sessions were transformed into online therapy sessions using video applications, such as WhatsApp and Zoom (Atsmon and Pendzik 2020). However, many of the ageing population in Israel are not familiar with video communication technology and use neither smartphones nor computers. Therefore, many drama therapy sessions with older adults had to continue in a telephone setting through the medium of voice alone. The two case vignettes presented here demonstrate individual tele-drama therapy with older adults and the process of bringing the dramatic reality (Pendzik 2006) to the telephone setting. Both sessions are part of individual drama therapy processes that were conducted in an adult day centre by a second-year drama therapy student, as part of her practical training and with the supervision of a professional drama thera-pist. Both processes started in November 2019, with face-to-face individual weekly drama therapy sessions that used varied techniques, such as storytell-ing, role-playing, exploring metaphors and small psychodrama vignettes (such as empty chair and role reversal). In March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread, the drama therapy sessions became twice-weekly tele-drama therapy using the telephone as the most readily available and familiar technology for both women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-19
Number of pages5
JournalDrama Therapy Review
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Intellect Ltd Essay. English language. h.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and Manual Therapy
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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