Adjunct Senior Lecturer
Integral Counseling Psychology
Counseling Psychology Department
School of Professional Psychology and Health
MA, California Institute of Integral Studies
MA, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, BA, State University of New York, Albany
A 1999 graduate of the Expressive Arts Therapy Program at CIIS, Suraya has facilitated mindfulness-based Expressive Arts and Drama Therapy practices with marginalized populations including at-risk youth, children with special needs, adults with developmental disabilities, prison inmates, and others for more than 15 years. She has taught at Santa Rosa Junior College, JFK University, and is an Adjunct Professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies. A master trainer in Expressive Arts and Drama Therapy, Suraya facilitates trainings on how to integrate cutting-edge arts practices into work with a variety of populations.
Originally from New York, Suraya has had a passion for the arts for as long as she can remember. She has studied theater, dance and yoga extensively in the U.S. and abroad, and has also lived and worked in Ecuador, Spain and India. Suraya’s dedication to the arts and to theater is grounded in her love of creativity, and in the belief that when we express what is inside us, we create the possibility of transforming not only ourselves but the community around us.
As Shakespeare for Social Justice Director for Marin Shakespeare Company since 2005, Suraya has directed and co-directed 9 Shakespeare shows and 4 performances of autobiographical theater with incarcerated men, and has worked extensively with at-risk children and teenagers. She also supervises CIIS students in pre-practicum and practicum experiences at the prison.
As an actress and solo performer, Suraya has performed locally and internationally with Marin Shakespeare Company, Golden Thread, California Travel Troupe, Cassandra’s Call Production and many others. Favorite roles include Tina in Tony-n-Tina’s Wedding, Dory in Sex, Death and Aerobics, and Samantha in the hit show Zen Boyfriends. Her autobiographical solo shows, including From Prison to Peru: A White Girl’s Journey Home, and Turbulence, have been performed throughout the Bay Area and at New York City's United Solo Festival.
Suraya also works as Clinical Supervisor for the Expressive Arts Therapy Program with the Art of Health and Healing through Contra Costa Health Services, which provides one-to-one and group Expressive Arts Therapy sessions for hospital patients, children and families, and individuals with severe mental illness.
Suraya is also a grateful mama to a 4 year old, and a dedicated yogini. She maintains a private practice in San Rafael, California.