Barrier-Free Theatre at the Manhattan Arts Centre, Kansas
Under the direction and supervision of Sally Bailey, I participated in Barrier-Free Theatre a theatre troupe for actors with and without disabilities that creates an original play every year. We met and rehearsed once a week for eight months with a large troupe, developing communication skills, respect, team building and group cohesion. Our work was met with praise and support from the local community.
Drama therapy through RPG at Kansas State University
As an assistant to my colleague Amy Tichy, this group utilized drama therapy with university students through table-top role-playing games. Gamers were recruited from campus and were encouraged to examine shared dilemmas, experience conflict and brainstorm solutions in a safe environment. This internship taught me that drama therapy can be adapted to suit the client’s needs.
Play it Forward Playback Troupe at Kansas State University
Playback theatre promotes dialogue between different members of the community. It is a specific technique that is sometimes used by drama therapists who believe in the healing power of storytelling. As troupe members, we rehearse together and support each other, then travel to community spaces to honor people’s stories through improvisational performances. With this group, I performed for people of all ages, religions and backgrounds, including several visits to both the juvenile and women’s correctional facilities (prisons) in Topeka, Kansas.
Unmasking the Identity at the UFM Community Learning Center at Kansas State University
During this internship, I was recruited as the photographer/ videographer for a colleague’s thesis. Here I learned how to lead participants through the process of mask making, which allows people to explore the personas they reveal or conceal from the world. This work should be done very carefully, as clients often make deep realizations and discoveries which can be jarring. The final product is aesthetically pleasing and cathartic for the individual and the group. I used this same technique in my work with international women at Kansas State University.
Play Your Way to Better Communication workshop series in Kuwait
During winter and summer breaks, I was determined to raise awareness about my profession in Kuwait, to encourage others to play, grow and make self-discoveries. I offered experiential workshops designed to boost confidence, promote self expression, creativity and spontaneity through improvisation, role play and other drama therapy techniques. Some groups were designed for women only, whereas other groups were co-ed. These workshops spanned from a full day to a three-day experience.
Mommy & I workshop series in Kuwait
Another way to spread the benefits of engaging in play, was to hold mother and child play dates where parents were able to connect with their kids through drama therapy, without the distractions of technology. The workshops engaged participants in creative problem-solving games and helped release family tension, as well as introducing families to each other.
Creative Drama at LOYAC in Kuwait
In keeping with LOYAC’s mission to empower the youth to lead their communities, my creative drama classes were designed to teach self-awareness and encourage self-expression. I believe that emotionally intelligent individuals make better leaders, they are responsible and responsive, focused yet able to problem solve creatively. These workshops were offered several times in the past few years and for different age groups. In addition to children’s Creative Drama, I have offered workshops geared toward the actors enrolled at the Loyac Academy of Performing Arts (LAPA).
Acting for Fun Club at Kansas State University & Manhattan-Ogden School District 383
I was one of the therapists who facilitated this integrated after-school club for elementary students with Autism and for their typically developing peers. Working there for two years helped me develop my own skills and inspired me to seek my Students learn social skills through games and drama, with a short performance at the end of each semester.
Drama at Amanda Arnold Elementary School in Manhattan, Kansas
One of my internships consisted of a weekly visit to the therapeutic classroom at a local elementary school, where my co-therapist and I interacted with children and introduced drama, movement and music to children with Autism spectrum disorders. In most cases, each child had a para-professional who assisted us. On some days, we worked in conjunction with the school’s Occupational Therapist.
Filmmakers after school club at Eisenhower Middle School, Manhattan, Kansas
During my last year as a drama therapy student, I led a Filmmakers Club at one of the local high schools for students with autism spectrum disorders and their peers. The club engaged the participants in dramatic activities to promote self-expression and group work, while addressing their socioemotional needs. Some of the issues tackled in the program included navigating the familial relationship, accepting and welcoming those who look different from us, establishing boundaries in romantic relationships and setting realistic expectations.
Expressive therapy for individuals with Eating Disorders at Castlewood Treatment Center
In order to grow my practice and skill set, I interned with Dr. Laura Wood at an eating disorder treatment facility in St. Louis, Missouri. Here, I observed and assisted during various groups where participants tell their stories, set goals and solve problems, express feelings, and examine past experiences and current relationships. I am currently enrolled in a class with the physician Bessel Van Der Kolk, one of the leading experts on trauma work, so I can continue to work with individuals battling eating disorders.