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Workshop Schedule

October 18

7:15-7:50 AM EST- Dramatherapy, Storymaking and Mental Health

Offering mental health clients a fairytale to encourage them to express what they want to take with them on their life journey and what they want to leave behind.

Presenter: Dr Joanna Jaaniste, BA(Hons), DipEd, DipDramatherapy, PhD, AThR

Joanna is a registered dramatherapist and Adjunct Fellow of Western Sydney University. She enjoys guest lecturing there and at Melbourne University’s new Master of Dramatherapy Course. She is Director of The Dramatherapy Centre, Sydney, which teaches introductory and advanced courses and is the ANZACATA board member of the World Alliance of Dramatherapy. She specialises in the areas of dementia and mental health and has lectured and presented in Europe, USA, South Africa and New Zealand and published widely on dramatherapy.


7:50-8:20 AM EST- Stories of Life 

A presentation about a dramatherapy skills training workshop with counselors, trainers, therapists and future therapists in Kuala Lumpur.

Presenter: Vanitha Chandrasegaram

Vanitha Chandrasegaram is the pioneer in the field of Dramatherapy (Creative Arts Therapy) in Malaysia. Her interest in using arts as means of personal development and healing, stems from her background in Dance and Psychology, and had inspired her to pursue a second Master’s degree, in Creative Arts Therapy (specifically Dramatherapy) in the UK. Vanitha is the Founder & Director of Integrative Creative Movements (previously known as Creative Movements) established to develop and facilitate creative arts therapy and dramatherapy training/workshops locally and internationally, to facilitate dramatherapy group and individual sessions, to conduct assessments for therapy and many more.

October 19

7:15-8:15 AM EST- Developing Self Esteem with Young Adults

In the workshop we propose, we will use storytelling, and acting to create a story together. Being part a group, feeling related to others, using the imagination and the body will be at the heart of this proposition. 

Presenters: Barbara Lau and Elsa Commergnat


Barbara Lau is a France based dramatherapist and family therapist. She works in a middle school she co-founded as a dramatherapist and in a private practice. She is the co-leader of the DvT French institute. She co-founded the first dramatherapy festival in France, and is the vice president of the Association Nationale de Dramathérapie. 


After training and experience as an actress and clown, Elsa Commergnat studied art therapy (DU Paris5) and very quickly worked in the educational and social sectors. Today graduated with a double master's degree in drama therapy and artistic creation, she works as an art therapist for adults with "intellectual disabilities" in nursing homes and also practices traditional Chinese medicine. Assistant secretary of the AND, Elsa actively continues her research in the fields of care and art."

October 20

7:15-8:15 AM EST- The Village of Grief - A Circular Model for Bereavement


The Village of Grief offers a metaphoric container for the journey of emotion we go on when we lose someone we love and enter into loss, grief and mourning.  

This playful approach was created by Dr Axel Schwaigert a German Funeral Director and Priest and developed, with his encouragement, into a Dramatherapy model.  

Please bring a cloth with you and a candle.   

Presenter: Mary Smail 

Mary is a Sesame trained dramatherapist and an integrative transpersonal psychotherapist. She was the Director of the Sesame Institute for 20 years and a visiting dramatherapy lecturer at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London. She founded and now convenes Psyche and Soma, a “Lower Education” a training in spirituality and soul wisdom through the arts for registered practitioners. Mary co-edited Dramatherapy with Myth and Fairy tale (2013).  Recent chapters are Story Enactment in Psychotherapy (2018) and Doorways to the Deathlands – the imaginal seeing of story (publishing 2022).  

October 21

 7:15-8:15 AM EST- Playing with Polarities in the Pandemic 

Intensely polarised opinions around the pandemic are a widespread phenomenon, infecting many relationships both personal and global.  Furthermore, in the last few years, this polarisation appears to extend to almost every topic, with social media fanning the fires of intolerance. This workshop addresses the topic through dramatherapy. Using embodied work, empathic listening, and collaborative presentations, we are going to explore the polarities around the pandemic, looking to arrive at some forms of integration and balance.  

Presenters: Susana Pendzik & Paula Kingwill

Prof. Susana Pendzik (PhD., RDT) Former Head of the Drama Therapy Graduate Program at Tel Hai Academic College (Israel), lectures also at the Theatre Department of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Swiss Dramatherapy Institute, as well as in other institutions of higher education in Europe and Latin America, and conducting workshops worldwide. Published poetess, theatre director, and researcher, Susana is the author of numerous publications in drama therapy, including a book on Group work with abused women (in Spanish and German, 1999), co-editor of Assessment in drama therapy (2012) and The self in performance: Autobiographical, self-revelatory, and autoethnographic forms of therapeutic theatre (2016). She is co-author of Dramaterapia: Un enfoque creativo para el trabajo terapéutico (2018). She is a supervisor and has a private practice.


Paula Kingwill (MA dramatherapy) has worked with a range of populations in South Africa for the last 20 years. She was a founding member and director of The Bonfire Theatre Company.  She has worked extensively with training in the field of community development, for using the arts in healing.  She has been involved in a number of capacity building initiatives in her local community. She has an online private practice with groups and indivuals.She has made two documentary films on the subject of Dramatherapy: Tending the Saplings: Dramatherapy in South Africa (2005) and We don’t Fly Kites Here (2010). She has published in Applied Drama/Theatre as Social Intervention in Conflict and Post-Conflict Contexts ,Editor(s): Hazel Barnes, Marié-Heleen Coetzee and Creative Arts-Based Group Work with Adolescents: Theory and Practice  edited by Craig Haen

October 22

7:15-8:15 AM EST- Dramatherapy and the Oppressed 

A short presentation about Dramatherapy and the Oppression in Thailand, followed by an open group discussion. The presentation is based on some of the findings from the facilitators’ PhD and MA studies regarding Dramatherapy with the context of Thai culture.

Presenters: Chanaphan Thammarut and Preekamol Chantaranikorn


Chanaphan is a registered dramatherapist and a founder of Dramatherapy Thailand Association (DTTH).  After completing her training in 2008, she has worked as a dramatherapist at mental health hospitals in Bangkok and as a course lecturer at Bangkok University. Currently,  she is registered for a research PhD, “Developing Dramatherapy Approaches for Thai Adult Patients with PTSD” at the Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research (CIMTR), Anglia Ruskin University (UK).


Preekamol is a Drama and Movement Therapist (HCPC, UK) who graduated MA Drama and Movement Therapy at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. The primary approach is the ‘Sesame approach,’ which gives weight to work with the unconscious through drama, role play, myth and story, movement, symbol and metaphor. Preekamol is also interested in a wide range of Arts therapy, meditation, transformative learning, and alternative healings. 


October 23

7:15-8:15 AM EST- “घर, Plural (Home, बहुवचन)”

*Live Transcription is enabled for this event

‘घर, Plural’, is a self-revelatory performance that grapples with locating the essence of home. It is an attempt at embracing the plurality of home in intersecting identities, physical spaces, relationships, and internal roles.This screening would be followed by a video collage of conversations with Drama Therapists, Artists, Facilitators, and fellow Humans who’ve used their ‘self’ in performance/work and continue to do so. 

Presenters: Ishita Pohoja, Maitri Gopalakrishna. and Christian Asa Harris


Ishita Pohoja (Ze/She/Hir), MA, AMFT, identifies as a Queer, South-Asian, Alien Monkey, Drama Therapist. Ishita currently serves the roles of a Case Manager and Therapist at a Community Mental Health setting, serving people with housing, substance use, mental health and case management needs.Over the past two years ze served as a Drama Therapist for elementary and middle school students and their families as well as for residents in an in-patient facility living with dementia and alzheimers. Ishita has a passion for making Drama Therapy accessible at grassroots level. Ze aspires to delve deeper into the genius of indegenious roots of Drama Therapy.


Maitri Gopalakrishna, PhD, RDT  is a drama therapist, counselling psychologist, theatre maker and practice-researcher. She has a PhD from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai) and an MA in Drama Therapy from the California Institute of Integral Studies (San Francisco). Maitri works in community building, preventative care, mental health support, psychotherapy, and training in a variety of contexts. She has experience working with issues of gender, sexual trauma, and childhood sexual abuse. Maitri's recent areas of practice-research include drama as an intervention for sexual trauma, therapeutic theatre, and drawing on theories and practices from the Natyashastra in therapeutic work. She is based in Bangalore, India.

Christian Asa Harris (He/Him/His)
Christian earned his MA in Counseling Psychology, focusing on Drama Therapy at the California Institute of Integral Studies. At the San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living, Christian uses his skills as a drama therapist and magician to enrich the lives of older adults. He also works as a teacher at Improv for Interaction and is grateful for every opportunity to find growth and healing through play.


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