Drama therapy invites us to uncover and integrate dormant aspects of ourselves, stretch our conception of who we are, and experience our intrinsic connection with others.

-Renée Emunah, Acting for Real

The Drama Therapy Program at CIIS is one of the two most long-standing programs in North America. 

Our aim is to take students on a challenging and compelling personal and intellectual journey toward deeper levels of understanding and developing competence in drama therapy. Our commitment is to provide a serious, multilayered training in using this potent medium ethically, respectfully, and skillfully. Faculty and students delve into the complexities, subtleties, and possibilities of drama therapy. Coursework is sequenced and progressive. Theoretical, practical/clinical, and experiential formats are incorporated. Small, action-oriented classes within a cohort model support students' personal development and a sense of community. While many people come to our program already personally familiar with the transformative power of drama, even the first semester of the program reveals new dimensions to the field and gives a glimpse of the vast range of exploration ahead.

[photos on this page credit: Charline Formenty]

Rebecca Siegel, alumna and practicing drama therapist, speaking when she was a student Play Video
Play Video


An integral part of the program is three semesters of on-site clinical training and supervision at a wide range of possible placement sites. Trainees receive weekly supervision on-site by a licensed clinician, as well as small-group supervision at CIIS with a Registered Drama Therapist (RDT).

Integrative Seminar and Capstone Project

In their final semester of the program, students enroll in Integrative Seminar in Drama Therapy which supports the development of a capstone project. This final project may be a theoretical or research article; a live, Self-Revelatory Performance piece (40-50 minutes); a video documenting an ongoing drama therapy treatment process; or directing a therapeutic theatre performance. All formats are presented publicly to a community of peers, family, and friends, leading to a sense of culminating achievement in the program.


CIIS is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. The program follows the academic guidelines set forth by the North American Drama Therapy Association and meets academic requirements for registry as a drama therapist (RDT). The program also fulfills academic requirements for Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT*) licensure in the state of California. Coursework preparing for licensure as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) is also available.

*Please note that in order to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, you must also complete 3,000 hours of internship in addition to your educational requirements. You will graduate from our program with between 700 and 1,000 hours that will count toward licensure.

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