Upcoming Workshops and Events | February and March 2019

Upcoming Workshops and Events in Los Angeles this Spring!

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Saturday February 9
PLAYBACK THEATRE CONFERENCE
with Keynote Speaker Armand Volkas!

9am-5:30pm
“Exploring the Use of Playback Theatre in Clinical Settings”
Eagle Rock, Los Angeles
7 CEs available
Saturday February 24
ADDICTIONS AND DRAMA THERAPY COURSE
10:30am-6pm
“Drama Therapy for Addiction Populations:
Addressing Burnout and Systems in Crisis”
Drama Therapy Institute of Los Angeles
7 CEs available 
Saturday March 2
DRAMA THERAPY WORKSHOP
9am-4:30pm

“Exploring the Concepts of Power and Oppression through Drama Therapy”
Los Angeles County Psychological Association
6 CEs available
March 28 – March 31
EXPRESSIVE THERAPIES SUMMIT LOS ANGELES
Thursday 3/28 at 10am:
“Playback Theatre: Improv for Clinical Settings
and Community Cohesion”
Sunday 3/31 at 1:30pm:
“Transformation of Failure & Self-Blame:
Techniques from Theater of the Oppressed”
Hilton Los Angeles Airport

On addiction treatment and drama therapy

When working with people seeking help for addiction, the addiction is often the entry point to therapy. Underneath the addiction are sometimes years of trauma or loss that have gone unaddressed. I have worked with incredibly creative and dynamic survivors who have just never had the opportunity to fully explore their story. When we look at substances as the primary coping tool for a person in distress, we are able to reframe the narrative away from a moralistic view – and help our clients do so too.

One of the biggest strengths I see in using Drama Therapy is that it allows people to expand their understanding of themselves beyond just the roles of “Addict” or “Lost One.”  Many people come to treatment for addiction with shame, guilt, and self-hatred for hurt they have caused their loved ones. Much of the process of healing starts with tapping into a radical self-compassion. Drama therapy is perfectly suited for holding the complexity of both taking responsibility for one’s actions as an adult, while simultaneously expressing anger or loss at the trauma one experienced as a young person. 

I’ve worked with clients at a number of addiction treatment settings and levels of care. Drama therapy looks drastically different in each! What is possible and helpful in a long-term residential or dual-diagnosis treatment facility is different from a 30-day rehab or 8-day detox. In long-term residential, my relapse prevention groups integrated Playback Theatre and Theatre of the Oppressed techniques. The 30-day rehab program allowed for a structure where men and women could have drama therapy groups separately to deal with histories of trauma or abuse, and address toxic masculinity or internalized oppression.

Currently, my work using short-term interventions at a detox facility is focused on mindfulness, grounding in the body, and managing acute physical pain and anxiety. It can be exhausting going deep with new people each week and then almost immediately terminating. I’ve also had to adjust my expectations to make space for the physical illness of detox. My drama therapy groups might look like guided meditation or friendship bracelet making to an outsider – but it’s still drama therapy!  The common thread across sites is that the space we create for people to feel seen and heard is incredibly and irrevocably meaningful.

This ability to adjust my drama therapy interventions to fit the needs of each treatment level/site is something I attribute to the depth of my training at the NYU Drama Therapy Program. In our Clinical Populations course, Prof. Sara McMullian would often say that ‘the work is small.’ I thought I understood what she meant at the time, but years of working in different addiction treatment systems have deepened my understanding. At every level of care, I’ve found that my work in the room is impactful for the clients, however sometimes I forget how much power we have to impact a person/group/system with our interventions.

Just the other day, I was walking out of detox heading home, and I said goodbye to some clients by the elevator. Thanks and best wishes were exchanged. As I turned the corner, I overheard one man say to his peers with all sincerity, “She did her job today… because I didn’t leave.” My heart exploded! Sometimes our job is small, so small we don’t even realize we are making an impact. However, when we keep people in the room and in conversation with their healthiest selves, we plan the seeds to change the way they define themselves in the world. That step can be enough.

On detox and thanks

Found this on my desk a couple weeks ago from a client at the #detox recovery center. So much talent in one little frame. The client was a special individual – even though he struggled to see it. Addiction doesn’t discriminate. And it continually amazes me the power of human connection and fortitude even when the body is going through hell. 🌹

#addictionrecovery #addictiontreatment #detoxtreatment #creativeartstherapy #traumarecovery #mentalhealthawareness #arttherapy #selflove #selfkindness https://ift.tt/2Pd6edt

Workshop | Fri. 4/27/18 | Expressive Therapies Summit LA

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Role Work for Addiction: Healing the Effects of Trauma, Shame & Regret
Friday, April 27th, 1:30-4:30pm
Expressive Therapies Summit Los Angeles 2018

Clients dealing with addiction may also have a history of unaddressed trauma accompanied by feelings of shame and regret. This 3-hour discussion and experiential-based workshop aims to enhance our work as clinicians by providing drama therapy-based tools for individuals and groups that can be used to address the impact of addiction. Using the lens of Landy’s drama therapeutic Role Theory, along with addiction theorist Wegscheider-Cruse’s Family Roles, participants will explore how these roles can facilitate a trauma-informed approach in understanding addiction. Counselors and therapists will have the opportunity to integrate this playful approach (using objects and embodiment) into their practices, and enhance their clinical skills in working with resistant, traumatized, and/or institutionalized clients. Participants are asked to bring in 5-10 small objects found in their home or work space that can be shared during the experiential portion of this workshop. These items will be returned to their owners at the end of the workshop, but they might be handled by other participants during the exercise, so they shouldn’t be too expensive or irreplaceable. Eligible for 3.0 Clock/Credit Hours: NBCC, ATCB; ASWB, APA, MFT, Nursing; LCAT, LCSW (NY State only)