A scoping review of observed benefits of Developmental Transformations (DvT)

Nisha Sajnani, Marc Willemsen, Jason D. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Developmental Transformations (DvT), a practice involving interactive, improvisational play in pairs or groups, has gained international appeal as a therapeutic intervention for different populations in a variety of health, care and recreational contexts. However, a rigorous review of the benefits of DvT has not been conducted. The purpose of this study was to review extant literature for the observed benefits of DvT, identify gaps in the literature and make recommendations concerning future research including identifying possible areas for outcome measurement for preliminary studies. The authors, who each completed training in this approach, conducted a scoping review of English-language, published, peer-reviewed and grey DvT literature through 2021. From an initial 745 records retrieved through databases and a manual search, 51 publications met criteria, which, when analysed using in-vivo and pattern coding, resulted in a total of seventeen categories of observed benefits ascribed to DvT. These included six general categories – relational, emotional, social, cognitive, behavioural and physical benefits – and eleven complex categories of benefits to participants across the lifespan. In addition to benefits for participants, benefits of DvT were also observed and reported for facilitators, therapists, teachers and supervisors engaged in this practice. This review revealed inconsistencies regarding the reporting of practitioner training, frequency, format, population, intended goals, assessment measures and outcomes. Future studies with increased experimental rigor, standardized outcome measures and consistent reporting are recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-315
Number of pages43
JournalDrama Therapy Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2023


  • benefits
  • Developmental Transformations (DvT)
  • drama therapy
  • health
  • improvisation
  • play
  • scoping review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and Manual Therapy
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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