photo by Cheryl via Flickr Creative Commons

photo by Cheryl via Flickr Creative Commons

I know I’ve been MIA for a bit due to the NADTA conference, but I didn’t realize it had been over two weeks! It’s difficult balancing two part-time jobs, writing, and school. More difficult than I anticipated. I’ve spent the past week decompressing and trying to integrate what I have learned into how I can move it forward. I will keep blogging through this process, especially since I have several patrons on who are helping to fund my writing. But things might start looking a little different around here.

I’ve tried in vain to think of a way to crystallize my experience at the conference in blog form, but I just don’t think that it’s possible. The context necessary to make the experience comprehensible is far too vast for a blog entry, and as they say, you just had to be there.

I will say that I think it’s a positive time for me to be joining the drama therapy community, and I’m glad the profession is putting more of an eye toward social justice issues at this point in time. There are currently 800 NADTA active members, and this annual conference was the best-attended yet. A significant portion (over 1/3) of the membership are students, which means drama therapy is starting to gain footing and visibility.

There are complex issues surrounding licensure as counseling and psychotherapy close ranks in an attempt to limit who can claim their professional identities, and art therapy follows suit. But plenty of drama therapists have been able to make a case for their work and to find jobs with or without licensure. With a background in theatre not counseling it will be difficult for me to get licensed in Texas, but I think there are ways to do the work without that as long as I cultivate allies.

I stuck out some initial feelers to see who might be willing to work with me when I am able to start my internship hours, and the response leaves me hopeful. It may take some work to be able to serve my preferred population and be paid for it, but at this point, I will take the work I can get and see what develops.

I hesitate to provide a definition of drama therapy here, since I am new to the field. Instead, I will let the NADTA do the talking for me: In a nutshell, drama therapy is a form of applied theatre. It makes sense to me that since we live embodied lives, our process of healing ought to be likewise embodied in order to be as effective as possible. Drama therapy allows us to actually experience new ways of moving in the world, instead of talking about it or intellectualizing it. In this way, it can bypass a lot of the resistance and defense mechanisms inherent to talk therapy.

I’ve struggled to define the work I want to do and to make others understand it. One main difference between devised theatre and drama therapy is outcomes. Devised theatre is experiential and process-oriented. Drama therapy is rooted in goals and outcomes. Which seems to make it easier for people to understand how this work can help them and how it relates to what they want to achieve in their own lives and work. By using theatrical and dramatic processes to meet client goals, drama therapy moves performance from therapeutic to therapy.

As I move through this process, a lot of my future writing will likely be centered around what I am learning and experiencing as I move toward credentialing, taking into account privacy concerns once I move into my internship hours. Hopefully this website will become a place potential clients can look to in order to better understand what I do and how it can help them.

I hope to find another paid outlet for my writing as well, but time will tell. I will do my best to write the kind of content I have in the past, as time and brain space allows. I know my personal writing fell by the wayside while I was in graduate school the first time, and I will do my best to make sure that does not happen again. I hope to settle into some sort of schedule, and to be able to carve out time each week for writing here as I have been.

After being immersed in the conference environment, it took me time to come back to the real world. But here I am. And here you are. And off we go.

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