Renee Emunah, Professor in the  MA in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Drama Therapy at CIIS Renee Emunah

Drama Therapy
Counseling Psychology Department
School of Professional Psychology and Health


Renée Emunah, PhD, RDT/BCT (Board Certified Trainer of Drama Therapists), Program Chair, is the founding director of the Drama Therapy Program. She is the author of the book, Acting for Real: Drama Therapy Process, Technique, and Performance (1994, New York: Brunner/Mazel/Taylor and Francis), considered a classic text in the field (and translated into Chinese and Japanese). A 2nd Edition of Acting for Real, was published in 2020 (Routledge/Taylor and Francis: New York and London). Dr. Emunah is the co-editor of the 2nd and 3rd editions of the textbook, Current Approaches in Drama Therapy (with Dr. David Johnson); the 2nd edition (2009 and 2020, Charles Thomas Publishers).  She is also the co-author of the book, The Self in Performance:  Autobiographical, Self-Revelatory, and Autoethnographic Forms of Therapeutic Theatre (with Dr. Susana Pendzik and Dr. David Johnson, 2016, published by Palgrave MacMillan).  She has authored numerous articles and chapters in the field. Dr. Emunah is the recipient of the North American Association for Drama Therapy Gertrude Schattner Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Field of Drama Therapy (in 1996), and the NADTA Excellence in Teaching Award (in 2019).   She served on the Editorial Board of the international journal, Arts in Psychotherapy, and is currently on the Advisory Board of the Drama Therapy Journal. She served as the 3rd president of the North American Drama Therapy Association. 

Her clinical work as a drama therapist began decades ago and includes fifteen years specializing in group drama therapy with emotionally disturbed adults and adolescents; initiating and directing a community theater company for ex-psychiatric patients, for which she received a Commendation by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors; and individual work with children and adults.  She has been a keynote speaker, trainer, and workshop leader internationally (including over many years in Asian countries).  Dr. Emunah is the founder of the Integrative Five Phase model of drama therapy, a primary model of practice within the field of drama therapy, as well as of Self-Revelatory Performance, a form of drama therapy and theatre. A pioneer in the field, she was among the first four drama therapists to be officially registered (RDT) in the US. 

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