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About me

Hello. My name is Karen. I am a HCPC Registered Arts Therapist specialising in Dramatherapy.  I offer a safe, empathic, and open creative space for people of all ages and from all walks of life.

Dramatherapy is a unique and creative form of psychological therapy.  It can be a particularly helpful therapy for Children, Young People and Adults:-

  • When verbal communication is difficult or it is hard express what’s going on.
  • When emotions or issues are unknown, overwhelming or too confusing to express verbally.
  • When words are not enough or too much to bear.

I work with people of all ages who are facing a range of issues, disabilities or diagnoses. These may include:

  • Children & Young people with emotional, social or psychological difficulties, causing behaviour which may be difficult to manage or hard to engage.
  • Mental health, emotional and psychological issues, ranging from depression and psychosis, to recovery from abuse or addictions.
  • Learning or physical disabilities.
  • Developmental or attachment disorders.
  • Life limiting conditions
  • Physical illness

Because Dramatherapy does not rely on a purely 'talking' approach, it can allow people to communicate, express and explore indirectly, safely and in your own unique way.   You do not need any previous experience or skills in drama or the arts.

In general terms, Dramatherapy aims to enable you to:

  • Express your feelings, thoughts and emotions.
  • Explore your world, your relationships and opportunities for change.
  • Experience different ways of viewing yourself, others and issues you bring to therapy.
  • Build on your strengths to help you manage difficulties and make troubling issues more bearable.
  • Support you to explore and find your own resolutions.

Sessions can include using the imagination and talking, art, music, story, sand play, puppets, movement, drama, mindfulness and meditation, depending on your preferences and needs.

Training, qualifications & experience

During my Masters Dramatherapy training at Roehampton University I was awarded an M.A with Distinction through my work and research with Young People and Adults within mental health settings and schools.  Once qualified, I began developing my private practice here in Stratford-Upon-Avon and alongside this I worked part-time with the specialist Warwickshire based charity Safeline (2015 -18). The Child & Adolescent Dramatherapy service I created and led at Safeline, provided 1:1 Dramatherapy to young people at risk of sexual exploitation, Survivors and those affected by Rape and Sexual Abuse and those presenting with Sexually Inappropriate Behaviour.

I have developed and grown my private practice over the last nine years, working alongside people with a broad range of physical, emotional, psychological, social and learning challenges.  In 2020 I completed my Diploma in Neuro-Dramatic Play,  an approach developed by Prof. Sue Jennings, based on building safe, playful and nurturing attachment relationships.  NDP builds the foundations for a child's healthy growth and resilience in all areas and their ability to go on to develop safe and trusting relationships with others. . Karen was able to train with Sue Jennings and now integrates NDP into her Dramatherapy practice.

My clients to date have included those attracting formal diagnoses of Schizophrenia, Bi-polar, Anxiety, Depression, Trauma/PTSD, Personality Disorder, Disordered Eating, Attachment disorders, Autism and Autism with a PDA profile. Clients also include those with a present and/or history of Trauma, self-harm, abuse, bereavement/loss, relationship breakdown, substance use, emotional dis-regulation, body dysmorphia, issues around gender & sexuality and low self-esteem.

I am registered with The Health Care Professions Council,  am full member of The British Association of Dramatherapists (Badth) and I access regular clinical supervision.

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Member organisations

Registered / Accredited

Registered / Accredited

Being registered/accredited with a professional body means an individual must have achieved a substantial level of training and experience approved by their member organisation.


Health and Care Professions Council

The HCPC are an independent, UK-wide health regulator. They set standards of professional training, performance and conduct for 16 professions.

They keep a register of health professionals who meet their standards, and they take action if registered health professionals fall below those standards. They were created by a piece of legislation called the Health Professions Order 2001.

Registration means that a health professional meets national standards for their professional training, performance and conduct.

Other areas of counselling I deal with

I work with a wide range of ages and people with social, physical, emotional & psychological difficulties.

Please contact me to discuss your individual needs.

Photos & videos


Concessions offered for

  • Students
  • Unemployed

Additional information

1 hour session  £50.00

Concessionary rate of  £45.00 can be offered to those on a low income (i.e. Students, Unemployed)

Further information

I have witnessed the power that play and creativity can offer within the safe therapeutic relationship, to enable my clients to explore their world, access their inner resources, learn and develop the skills to manage pain & distress and find their own path of healing. I will work alongside you, keep you safe and provide a range of creative therapeutic approaches which meet your needs and offer opportunities for change.


Leamington Spa

Type of session

In person

Types of client

Young people
Older adults

Key details

Wheelchair user access

Wheelchair user access

Wheelchair-accessible premises should have step-free access for wheelchair users and individuals who are unable to climb stairs. If a counsellor's premises aren't step-free, they may offer alternative services such as telephone/web-based appointments, home visits, or meeting clients in different location, so you can choose the option that suits you best.

You can contact the counsellor to discuss the options available.

Under the Equality Act 2010 service providers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that individuals with disabilities can access their service. You can read more about reasonable adjustments to help you to access services on the CAB website.

Languages offered

Non-verbal play and interaction


Karen McDonald, Arts Therapist, Dramatherapist HCPC Reg, M.A,Dip NDP, B.A(Hons).

Karen McDonald, Arts Therapist, Dramatherapist HCPC Reg, M.A,Dip NDP, B.A(Hons).