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What is Drag Therapy? 

What is Drag Therapy? 

What is Drag Therapy? 

Drag Therapy can be a beneficial type of therapy for those looking to explore their gender. The art of drag is becoming increasingly popular. There are more seasons and franchises of RuPaul’s Drag Race launching, and it has become a cultural phenomenon. Despite its entertainment factor, drag is therapeutic and healing for individuals. This article dives into a specific therapy, Drag Therapy, by Leon Silvers

For more about the art of drag, we provide a background about this form of expression

What is Drag Therapy? 

Drag Therapy is a therapeutic modality created by Leon Silvers, a psychotherapist in New York City. This therapy aims to help “individuals access and embody various parts of themselves through costume and/or drag.” 

Drag Therapy is an interactive, mixed medium type of therapy that allows participants, regardless of their gender and sexual orientation, to identify, explore and embody different aspects or “Drags” of themselves. They can do so through the following mediums: costume, mask making, storytelling, performance, makeup, verbal and nonverbal communication, scent, play, visualization, and many more. 

What are Mixed Medium Therapies? 

Mixed medium therapies incorporate elements of various expressive and visual art therapies. Drag Therapy, in particular, uses art therapy, sand tray therapy, drama therapy, dance and movement therapy, and music therapy. 

In addition, participants can dress or use a mannequin to represent or express parts of their individuality. The possibilities are limitless – whether they are real or imagined characters.

What is the purpose of drag therapy?

Drag therapy focuses on identifying, embodying, and learning to know aspects of the “Self.” For example, many people have issues with feeling confident. In this case, you can create and embody “Confident Drag” by knowing what looks, feels, moves, sounds, and smells like. Essentially, it can allow a person to fully experience and embody that part of themselves and incorporate it into their lives.

Living more authentically can be challenging for many people. Many people struggle to express or stand up for themselves, set boundaries, and generally feel good. Feeling this way is often due to fear, shame, guilt, insecurities, mental health issues, and social and familial norms and pressures. Difficulties in life can cause people to become less playful. According to research, the less playful we are, the more depressed and anxious we can become. In Drag Therapy, the different Drag personas that are created can help individuals work through any barriers to mental health. Other benefits include increasing emotional flexibility, creativity, spontaneity, and joy. Learning different Drags enhances your Drag Repertoire and increases emotional well-being and self-expression.

What is Drag Therapy Based on?

Drag Therapy uses various theoretical orientations from the psychology and psychotherapy fields and is based on trauma theories. These therapies include: 

  • Psychodynamic/Psychoanalytic Therapy
  •  Internal Family Systems Therapy
  •  Drama Therapy
  •  Psychodrama
  •  Somatic Therapies
  •  Play Therapy

What are the different types of drag? 

Here are two common types of drag:

Character Drag/Cosplay Drag: This type of drag allows a person to try on different or similar parts of themselves. Many fictional characters function as archetypes, as a way to easily access their respective qualities. Even though these feelings might be more exaggerated, it can help people feel more empowered and prove that you can tolerate a wide range of emotions.

Character/Cosplay Drag also allows people to access and feel various parts or feelings at the same time. So, instead of embodying “Sad Drag,” Character Drag will enable people to handle many qualities and feelings and have more depth of emotion. In addition, since characters are generally complex, people can cope with many different feelings independently. 

Superhero Drag: Drag Therapy allows a person to create and embody their unique superhero or one already existing. A person can get in touch with those traits within themselves and the traits they aspire to embody. The Closet” in Silvers’ office features dozens of capes, cloaks, masks, and other superhero paraphernalia. These costumes allow people the space, freedom, and variation to express themselves in ways they may not be able to in daily life. It may also lead them to discover new traits about themselves. “The Closet” contains nearly every color cape available, so a person can design their own. They also have various shaped masks for participants to create their own. 

Takeaway 

By exploring Gender Drag Therapy, participants can have a safe space to explore and experiment with their gender. Exploring gender can help many people address shame, anxiety, fear, isolation, and self-loathing. In many cases, these feelings may be buried, and the person may not even be conscious of them. Having an affirming space to experiment with gender identity and gender expression can be beneficial for many people and alleviate any negative feelings. In addition, engaging in drag therapy can be therapeutic and create deep and meaningful work. 

If you are interested in drag therapy, check out Leon Silvers’ website. At LGBTQ and All, we encourage our readers to access any therapeutic treatment that will benefit them. In addition, you can browse through our extensive listings of therapists that offer LGBTQ+-friendly services. 

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Agata Slezak, Clinical Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Sexologist, Berlin, DE

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