Talk therapy isn’t for everyone.
Western Psychology is rooted in harmful assumptions about “normal” and “abnormal” behavior. This makes mental health care inaccessible to marginalized and oppressed communities.
Health care professionals receive inconsistent and often outdated training about marginalized communities. This leads them to invalidate your lived experience. Or, to make really harmful assumptions about you. Constantly navigating microaggressions and educating healthcare providers is exhausting.
If you are skeptical about seeking support due to past experience, I understand!
COVID-19 has only highlighted systemic inequalities in the U.S. A lot of queer and trans folks live in poverty and don’t have access to health insurance. Even if you do, that doesn’t mean mental health support is easily accessible.
My Lived Experience
My work is informed by my lived experience of marginalization and oppression. I value social justice. I believe everyone deserves access to support. And everyone deserves to have the resources they need to thrive!
I am neurodivergent (Autism / ADHD / 2e). I understand what it feels like to feel different. To try and fail to be “normal.” You deserve to work with someone who can meet you in all the intersections of your identities.
My Professional Experience
My background in Theatre and Performance Studies. I have experience as an actor, director, dramaturge, playwright, and technician (costuming, makeup, props). I bring my experience as a theatre artist to the table.
My knowledge of dramatic tools and processes (movement or gesture, role play, storytelling, masks, puppetry, etc.) informs my work. It also shapes how I understand what it means to be human.
Acting in plays in college helped me experience and express intense emotions without being overwhelmed. I could use the experiences of a character to work through issues in my own life. And I could practice interacting with the world in a different way.
We can use anything that might reasonably be involved in the creation of a stage play in our work together. It might help if you think of the narrative of your life like a play script. We can read it, analyze it, and even revise it!
What is “Therapy?”
We often informally refer to psychotherapy as “therapy.”
This is in part due to the history of the term. The prefix “psycho-” comes from a Greek word that means “soul” or “mind.” (Unfortunately, it has different connotations in English.) Therapy comes from the Greek word for “healing.” So, psychotherapy translates to a process of healing the mind.
We also sometimes call psychotherapy “talk therapy.” That is because it uses verbal speech as the language of healing. In other words, you talk with your therapist. Talking is the process that is supposed to help you feel better.
Drama comes from the Greek verb “to do or to act.” Drama therapists use drama as a language to create insight or change. We believe that DOING something new is what helps people feel better! Drama therapy is healing in ACTION.
How Is Drama Therapy Different?
We will often still talk, especially at first. But the goal is to move towards embodiment. That means awareness of the feelings and sensations happening inside your body in the present moment.
If you can, take a minute right now. Make sure you are somewhere comfortable. Put your feet flat on the floor if possible. Now, close your eyes and take a slow, deep breath. Just notice if you have any awareness of physical sensations in any part of your body. It is 100% okay if you don’t!
Over time, this kind of process can increase your awareness of and tolerance for those sensations. It can also cause or increase anxiety. We can go slow!
It all depends on your comfort level and experience. I will meet you where you are today. You never have to do anything you don’t want to do.
What Might We Do Together?
Drama therapy often involves role play with parts of Self.
For example, the Inner Critic, or your Inner Child. Or social roles like parent, child, sibling, friend, or partner. It can include the role(s) you take on at work. Any aspect of your identity that is important to you is valid.
When you are in different situations, you might access different roles. That can influence your thoughts and behavior patterns. Some people also get “stuck” in certain roles. Drama therapy can help you find a way out.
Some people find it helpful to build a conscious relationship to different aspects of themselves. You can take your thoughts, and turn them into a character. That means you can have a conversation with them. Doing it out loud in session makes it easier to do inside your head later.
In my own journey, I started noticing certain thought patterns. I would label them as coming from Depression. That meant I could see Depression as a part of “me.” But also as something that didn’t have to take full control. It became easier over time to not fall into a spiral of negative thoughts.
Often, those repetitive scripts come from things adults said to us in childhood. Whether parents, grandparents, teachers, religious leaders. We internalize messages in childhood and repeat them to ourselves as adults. This might turn into an Inner Critic that isn’t very nice to us!
How Do I Know If Drama Therapy is Right for Me?
If you are an artist, but feeling creatively blocked. Or, if it is hard for you to access emotions or creative expression. Through trial and error, you can learn what forms of artistic or creative expression you like and don’t like. And I can help you stay accountable to building routines and rituals.
Maybe you are highly creative. You already regularly use the arts (drawing, painting, songwriting, poetry, acting or improvisation, etc.) therapeutically. That’s great! I can help you find additional tools to your toolkit. Or support you in becoming more intentional and consistent in your creative practice.
Creativity is like a muscle. The more you work it, the easier it gets. It requires willingness to stick a toe outside your comfort zone. This leads to getting more comfortable with trying something new.
A lot of my clients start participating in creative hobbies more consistently, which leads to a positive shift in mental health.
Since drama therapy is creative, it is very flexible. It can be easily molded to your unique strengths and needs. Because every culture creates art, it is also inclusive. I’m open to what excites YOU about adding more creativity to your life.
Since we don’t have to talk, it is okay if English is your second language. If you have difficulty expressing yourself verbally, we can explore non-verbal communication together.
What’s the Next Step?
All this information might feel overwhelming.
But you don’t have to know anything about theatre or drama, or have any experience acting. That’s why I’m here!
I chose drama therapy because it is a holistic approach to health and wellness.
Your mind is a part of your body. Noticing in your body where and how you feel emotions can make them easier to navigate. Seeing your body as an ally can be hard! I can work with you to build that relationship with yourself.
If the idea of talk therapy has never interested you. Or you’ve tried traditional methods with limited success. If you like the idea of getting more in touch with creative expression.
Then, contact me! I’d love to see how I can support you on your journey.