About myself

My background is in education. For 10 years I taught in special schools for children and young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties. It quickly became clear that the use of drama was an effective tool with which to communicate with children and young people who had challenging and often self-destructive behaviour. Alison KellyHaving worked therapeutically with drama as a teacher, I discovered ‘dramatherapy’. I knew that was the path that I wanted to follow and have continued to passionately champion dramatherapy within education ever since.

In 1989 I qualified as a drama and movement therapist at the Central School of Speech and Drama on the full-time Sesame/Central training course.

Initially, after training, I worked in a variety of settings with different client groups including older people with dementia, adults with mental health difficulties, adults with multiple and profound disabilities, and children with autism. For the majority of my therapy work I have always worked within the education system.

In 1992 I started work in the pupil referral unit offering individual and group dramatherapy. In 1994, inspired and supported by Phil Edwards, the innovative Chief Educational Psychologist, I established dramatherapy departments in both the pupil referral unit and in the local Special School for children and young people with emotional, social and behavioural difficulties for the borough.

From 2003 - 2009 I worked as a dramatherapist within a multi-disciplinary team for Greenwich Education as part of a Behaviour in Education Support Team (BEST). I worked in both Primary and Secondary schools, providing individual and group dramatherapy.

In 2004 I co-founded Willow, a children's bereavement service within the NHS. Willow offers dramatherapy to children with life limiting conditions, as well as their siblings.

I also have a private supervision, consultation and dramatherapy practice, both individual and group.


Work History


Qualifications and Training


Publications / Papers

Kelly A & Daniel CJ (1996) ‘Beginning to Work with the Elderly’ in 'Discovering the Self through Drama and Movement', Pearson. J (ed) London JKP

Kelly A (2002) 'In the Wake of the Monster: When Trauma Strikes' in 'The Story so Far', Cattanach. A (ed) London JKP

Coleman A & Kelly A (2012) 'Beginning, Middle, End: Dramatherapy with Children who have Life Limiting Conditions and with their Siblings' in 'Dramatherapy with Children, Young People and Schools' (ed) Leigh. L, Gersch. I, Dix. A, Haythorne. D, (pub) Routledge

Coleman A & Kelly A (2017) 'Two to One' in 'Dramatherapy, Reflections and Praxis' (ed) Hougham. R, Jones. B, (pub) Palgrave. London