Drama Therapy

Students and Alumni

Students and Alumni of the Drama Therapy Program

The drama therapy program encourages embodied self-inquiry which gave me the foundation and self-understanding to offer quality clinical care to others. The combination of social justice work, psychological theory, and creativity provided me with the tools to approach my work in a rich, holistic way.

-Allyson Hurlburt, MA (2011)

The drama therapists I talked to who completed the masters program at CIIS were enthusiastic - and employed.

Jean Schiffman, Theatre Bay Area magazine article on drama therapy, Nov/Dec 2014

Alumni Profiles

Aileen B. Cho, RDT (MA '12) received her BA in Theatre (with a minor in Psychology) from UC San Diego. She completed her practicum in the mental health department of a VA medical center, a community mental health and psychological services agency, and in the public high school and middle schools. She has worked in several residential inpatient, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient treatment programs for both adults and adolescents recovering from eating disorders in both San Francisco and Southern California. Aileen is affiliated with the Korean American Psychological Association and currently a MFT Intern at the Living Arts Counseling Center and a primary therapist at the Casa Serena Eating Disorder Program. Aileen also directs Self-Revelatory Performances, performs with the Living Arts Counseling Center's Playback Theatre Ensemble, and continues to pursue further training through the Developmental Transformations (DvT) Institute.

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.

Ben Rivers (MA, '10), RDT, was born in the UK and raised in Australia. He specializes in the use of applied theatre for community mobilization, cultural activism and collective trauma response.  Ben has taught and practiced in Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and North America.  He is a founding member of The Freedom Theatre's Freedom Bus initiative (Jenin, Occupied Palestine) and a Co-founder of the Arab School of Playback Theatre (Beirut, Lebanon).  He is currently completing doctoral research at the University of New England, Australia. Ben is based in the Middle East where he works as a freelance trainer, facilitator, psychotherapist and community organiser.

Nazbah Tom (MA '07) used drama therapy techniques with community members seeking services at Native American Health Center and Friendship House Association of American Indians, Inc. during her internship.  Individuals sought services in both outpatient and inpatient  treatment and presented with trauma, substance abuse, and effects of historical trauma. Currently, Nazbah is working on expanding her community practice as a Somatic Practitioner in Oakland with a focus on ensuring their practice is accessible to communities often underserved and/or are seeking a transformative process beyond talk therapy.  They continue to explore 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 as well as LGBTQ2-S, poor/working class, movement workers, and groups focused on various healing processes.

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 performance. Saun-Toy 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. Rob has a private practice with families, couples, and individuals.

Drama Therapy Exercise