COVID-19 Update from the Program

The Drama Therapy Program will hold courses virtually this Fall semester.  We will also uphold our sense of community and connectedness, and our academic advising, virtually. While we can’t be live, we hope to still be lively!   

We anticipate and hope that courses will be live (and truly embodied!) in the Spring semester.    

A new Theatre for Change production is remaining on schedule for this Fall – creatively adapted for our virtual times. Stay tuned for more details! 

[Photo above: Theatre for Change performance]

Icon of length of program, units required, and weeday/weekend attendance

Freedom and possibility are two key words that begin to describe the essence of drama therapy. Life is finite; there are only so many experiences we can have. But in drama, the opportunities and options are endless, enabling us to dive more deeply into the richness of life. And when the dramas are authentic and "real," they have the power to affect, and even alter, our real lives profoundly. For the past thirty years, we have been investigating how therapeutically adapted dramatic processes work over time to heal wounds, facilitate lasting change, and help people reach their highest potential.

– Renée Emunah, Program Founder/Director

For more than 30 years, the CIIS Drama Therapy program has been steeped in the exploration of how therapeutically adapted dramatic processes work over time to heal wounds, facilitate lasting change, and help people reach their highest potential. Our program integrates experiential, didactic, and clinical courses in a carefully paced and sequenced curriculum, to train students to become personally and culturally aware, attuned, and competent drama therapists and psychotherapists.

Our program is one of the only master's programs in the United States both regionally accredited and approved by the North American Drama Therapy Association, and is one of only a handful of such programs in the world. Furthermore, we are the only program that offers a path to the LPCC license. CIIS is internationally recognized as housing one of the world's most highly developed and rigorous training programs for drama therapists.

Our graduates work in a variety of leadership positions and settings, including community mental health centers, private practice, schools and educational centers, organizations for serving LGBTQ communities, and clinics offering services for trauma, eating disorders, loss, and self-care.

CIIS State Authorization & Professional Licensure Policies & Procedures

The Self in Performance

Renée Emunah, the Founder and Chair of the Drama Therapy Program, is the co-editor of the recent book:

The Self in Performance:  Autobiographical, Self-Revelatory, and Autoethnographic Forms of Therapeutic Theatre

Edited by Susana Pendzik, Renée Emunah, and David Read Johnson. New York and London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2016.

This book is the first to examine the performance of autobiographical material as a theatrical form, a research subject, and a therapeutic method. Contextualizing personal performance within psychological and theatrical paradigms, the book identifies and explores core concepts, such as the function of the director/therapist throughout the creative process, the role of the audience, and the dramaturgy involved in constructing such performances. International contributors address issues of identity, memory, authenticity, self-reflection, self-indulgence, and embodied self-representation in Autobiographical Therapeutic Performance, Self-Revelatory Performance, and Autoethnographic Performance.


"Working Through the Drama: The Art of Drama Therapy."

A Theatre Bay Area article by Jean Shiffman about studying Drama Therapy at CIIS


Informational Session with Drama Therapy Alumna
Sarah Harkness

Informational Session with Recent Drama Therapy Program Graduates
Laurel Elliott, Red Martinez & Whitney Turner

Drama Therapy (PDT) Alumna Sarah Harkness CIIS Drama Therapy Alumna Sarah Harkness Play Video
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Renee Emunah giving keynote speech Excerpt from Drama Therapy Professor Renée Emunah's NADTA Keynote Presentation Play Video
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