Students and Alumni of the Drama Therapy Program
Aileen B. Cho received her BA in theatre (with a minor in psychology) from UC San Diego. She was a domestic violence and sexual assault crisis hotline counselor at the Center for the Pacific Asian Family in Los Angeles. At CIIS, she did her clinical pre-practicum work at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. She is currently an MFT trainee at the Community Health for Asian Americans in Oakland.
Sarah Pizer-Bush earned her BA in art from San Francisco State University. She has worked in the Bay Area as the director of communications at a K-8 school, and as an arts educator teaching video and web design. Currently she is interning in a Bay Area hospital.
Daniel Smith has a BA in studio art. Before moving to California, he worked at a refugee center in Louisville, Kentucky. He is an avid bicyclist and improvisational actor. He is conducting his practicum at the California Pacific Medical Center, where he is practicing Developmental Transformations with patients with dementia.
Latille "Tia" Phillips received a BFA in theatre from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. She spent three years as tour-actor-director with two traveling children's theatre companies. Phillips also spent three years living in Miyagi, Japan as a theatre director, creative dramatics teacher, and assistant ESL teacher. Currently she is an MFT trainee in two homeless shelters in San Francisco.
Roni Alperin (MA '10) works as an MFT Intern at the Living Arts Counseling Center in Oakland, where he offers psychotherapy and drama therapy for individuals, couples, and groups. Since 2001, he has used drama to promote healing with diverse populations in both Israel and the United States. He is passionate about creating self-revelatory theatre pieces with clients as a therapeutic act and plans to open a drama therapy center in Tel Aviv.
Claudia Cuentas Oviedo (MA '10) was born in Lima, Peru and has lived in the U.S. for thirteen years. She studied movement and expressive arts therapy at the Tamalpa Institute prior to coming to CIIS, and also studied indigenous ways of healing and transformation from around the Americas. Oviedo has practiced individual, family, couples, and group therapy in schools, nonprofit organizations, and women's shelters using theater, movement, music, and ritual as primary resources in her drama therapy and healing practices.
Toni-Joan (TJ) Alton (MA '09) left her beloved hometown in South Africa to study drama therapy at CIIS. She had completed a degree in psychology and drama, and a postgraduate degree in education and drama, and was excited to combine her studies into one modality. She is a program director at the local facility where she completed her practicum, working with adolescents and adults who have substance abuse issues, and is now ready to apply for her MFT license.
Nazbah Tom (MA '07), an MFT Intern, uses drama therapy techniques with substance-abuse populations in outpatient treatment who are presenting with trauma, substance abuse, and effects of historical trauma. She is program director in an HIV services department called Circle of Healing. She is also exploring the integration of drama therapy, Western traditional psychotherapy, indigenous knowledge and cultural practices, and somatics in working with urban Native American/First Nations individuals, families, and groups.
Saun-Toy Trotter (MA '00), MFT, is a therapist and clinical supervisor at Youth Uprising/Castlemont Clinic within the Children's Hospital and Research Center Oakland. She is also a director and solo performance artist, specializing in self-revelatory pieces. Trotter recently completed a yoga teacher training to integrate drama therapy and somatic practices.
Robert Sarison (MA '98), RDT, MFT, is manager of the Alzheimer's Residential Care Program at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, where he supervises drama therapists and expressive arts therapists. He is also on the faculty of the Institute for Developmental Transformations West. Sarison has a private practice with families, couples, and individuals.
Susana Pendzik (MA '87), PhD, RDT is a senior drama therapist in private practice, a supervisor accredited by the Israeli Association of Creative and Expressive Therapies, and a founder and honorary member of the Swiss Drama Therapy Association. She teaches in Israel and Switzerland, does extensive international work, and is collaborating in the creation of an International Institute of Applied and Therapeutic Theatre. She is a poet, theatre director, and researcher. She developed a drama therapy-based assessment method (the 6-Key Model), and is the author of numerous articles on drama therapy, a book for using action techniques with abused women, and coeditor of Assessment in Drama Therapy.