Living Arts is proud to offer a lineup of innovative and transformative workshops, groups & trainings. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are currently providing all offerings online until further notice. Register now to expand your drama therapy and expressive arts therapy skills! Continuing Education credits for health professionals are available on select offerings.

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Theatre as a Therapeutic Act: Transform Your Life through Autobiographical Therapeutic Performance

The Living Arts Drama Therapy Institute presents
Theatre as a Therapeutic Act

Transform Your Life Through
Autobiographical Therapeutic Performance

A 12-week Group & Individual
Drama Therapy Process – Live Online

    • Uncover your life script–the unconscious patterns that shape your personal narrative in both positive and negative ways
    • Explore and embody new life-affirming narratives
    • Create a solo theatre piece as a therapeutic act in a 12-week “rite of passage” process
    • Perform your story to an invited group of reparative and trustworthy witnesses

Group Facilitated by:
Armand Volkas, MFT, RDT/BCT

Individual Performances Directed by:

Armand Volkas, MFT, RDT/BCT
Rose Cha, LCSW, PRDT

12 Group Sessions
September 21 – December 7, 2021 
Tuesdays, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm (PST) 

Culminating Performances: December 1 to 5, 2021
Final Integrative Session: December 7, 2021

Group Fee: $900
(12-Week Group Therapy Process, $75 per session)

Additional expenses will include:

  • 11 individual drama therapy sessions with your drama therapist/director which includes the performance, $150 per 1.5 hour session
  • Sessions to be scheduled with your drama therapist/director
  • You will be matched to your director after the initial group session

Group will be taught live online via Zoom
Link sent with registration

For more information contact:
Armand Volkas
(510) 595-5500, Ext 11

Rose Cha
(415) 967-2382

Continuing Education Credits:
36 Continuing Education Credits available for
Psychologists, MFTs, LPCCs and LCSWs for an additional $75 fee

**Scroll down for more CE information**

Alternate Training Program in Drama Therapy:
This course partially fulfills educational requirement for in the Alternative Training Program with the North American Drama Therapy Association when combined with additional required coursework. An additional $50 administrative fee required. Contact Armand Volkas for more information.

What does the Autobiographical
Therapeutic Performance involve?

  • Twelve 3-hour drama therapy group sessions
  • A small cohort of supportive witnesses accompanying you on your creative and therapeutic journey
  • Ten 90-minute individual sessions with your drama therapist/director, to be arranged based on your schedule
  • Technical and creative design support for your theatre piece


Want to lean more about the process?

Read Armand Volkas’s Chapter on Autobiographical Therapeutic Performance from the Self in Performance.

Workshop Description

Participants will explore formative moments in their lives and identify self-limiting beliefs transmitted by family, society and personal traumas. Group and individual therapy sessions will include an engagement with memories, images and emotions. Through the creation of your Autobiographical Therapeutic Performance (ATP) you will begin to embody new life-affirming narratives. The journey will culminate in a “rite of passage” performance presented to a group of your invited reparative and trustworthy witnesses.

What is Autobiographical Therapeutic Performance?

Autobiographical Therapeutic Performance is an innovative short-term therapy approach that supports participants in identifying and transforming self-defeating “life scripts” through drama therapy processes. Life scripts are unconscious patterns that organize and shape personal narratives and identities in both positive and negative ways. ATP incorporates acting, improvisation, drama therapy, psychodrama and Playback Theatre techniques. The theoretical underpinnings of ATP are informed by Transactional and Jungian Analysis as well as attachment theory. 

In the creation of your ATP you will:

  • Take courageous emotional risks in a safe and supportive environment
  • Embark on, what Joseph Campbell called, “The Hero’s Journey” moving through the phases of a transformative therapeutic process
  • Begin to embody a new life-affirming narrative

ATP is Performance as a Therapeutic Act!

Is the ATP process for me?

ATP is for anyone interested in exploring their life through theatre, metaphor, embodiment and myth — psychotherapists, creative arts therapists, social workers, wellness and life coaches, human service professionals, educators and teachers, community leaders, spiritual guidance counselors, group facilitators, actors, theatre workers and activists.

No prior theatre experience is necessary.
Shy people are welcome!
Use theatre to recreate your life as a living, breathing work of art!

About the Facilitators & Directors

Armand Volkas, MFA, MA, MFT, RDT/BCT is a psychotherapist, drama therapist and theatre director. He is a Registered Drama Therapist in and Marriage, Family Therapist in private practice and Clinical Director of the Living Arts Counseling Center in Emeryville, California. Armand is a Board Certified Trainer with The North American Drama Therapy Association.  

In addition, Armand is Associate Professor in the Counseling Psychology Program at California Institute of Integral Studies and has been Adjunct Professor at John F. Kennedy University, the Summer Peacebuilding Institute and the Canadian School of Peacebuilding. He has developed innovative programs using drama therapy and expressive arts therapies for social change, intercultural conflict transformation and peacebuilding.

Armand Volkas directs Healing the Wounds of History, a therapeutic approach in which theatre techniques are used to work with groups of participants from two cultures with a common legacy of violent conflict and historical trauma. Healing the Wounds of History has received international recognition for its work in bringing groups in conflict together: Germans and Jews; Palestinians and Israelis; Japanese, Chinese and Koreans; Armenians and Turks; African-Americans and European-Americans, to name a few.
He is also Artistic Director of The Living Arts Playback Theatre Ensemble. Playback Theatre transforms personal stories told by audience members into theatre pieces on the spot using movement, ritual, music and spoken improvisation. Sometimes a story becomes myth, sometimes a realistic enactment: some stories are tragic; others are funny or illuminating. The ensemble is in now in its 30th year of existence. At the heart of Armand’s work is a profound respect for the power of personal story to build bridges between people and cultures. 
In his approach to autobiographical therapeutic performance, Armand combines his extensive experience as a professional actor, director, teacher and playwright with his skills as a clinician.

Contact: (510) 595-5500 | Ext 11 |

Rose Cha, LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Alternative Track Drama Therapy Trainee with ten years of experience providing trauma-informed experiential therapy. She has extensive training in gestalt, sandplay, psychodynamic, and cognitive behavioral therapy, self psychology, and neuropsychological and personality testing. She also received training and consultation in child-centered play therapy, EMDR, and Somatic Experiencing. Rose comes from a strong research background, co-authored a chapter publication on forgiveness and health, and worked on studies examining brain processing of social emotional stimuli, empathic accuracy, embodied emotion, attachment and delay of gratification. Rose is a life-long learner, currently studying psychodrama, Playback Theatre, Developmental Transformations, Rehearsals for Growth, Jungian oriented psychotherapy, and shame.

Rose prioritizes safety and holding. She believes people are the experts of their own experiences, for which she has genuine curiosity. Clients describe her as naturally empathic, warm, non-judgmental, and intuitive. Friends and colleagues describe her as having authenticity, generosity, passion, and integrity. She sees the drama therapist’s role as a fellow human and guide who assists the client in their journey to the underworld to encounter their inner demons and return home transformed. Her understanding is informed by her personal experience as a client, insights from her experience as a writer and performer, and Jungian concepts such as archetype, personal and collective unconscious, persona and shadow, and synchronicity. Rose frequently uses improv and chair work in sessions. Her approach has been described as loving and firm: you will feel cared for, and she will keep you on track towards your goal.

Rose earned a masters degree in clinical social work from NYU, and a BA in English from Vassar College. At Vassar, she fell in love with Shakespeare, and acted in a women’s ensemble group that performed original pieces written by its members, working alongside peers who were also professional stage and Hollywood actors. Rose lived in NYC for 20 years, where she absorbed hundreds of plays and performances, from fringe theater, to Broadway, to Barrow Street. More recently, she began training at Berkeley Rep School of Theatre, studying physical theatre and Theatre of the Oppressed, and at HB Studio in NYC, studying Uta Hagen’s Acting Technique, Fitzmaurice Voicework, Knight Thompson Speechwork, Alexander Technique, and Michael Chekhov’s “psycho-physical” approach to acting. Improv is Rose’s passion and addiction. Thanks to the pandemic, she has been training in long-form and narrative improvisational acting daily from instructors and coaches all over the world, and performing with international ensembles weekly. As a result, she has global exposure to the art of spontaneous theatre, ranging broadly in influence from Viola Spolin to Del Close to Jacques Lecoq, as well as significant up-to-date experience and technical know-how in acting with the camera, specifically over Zoom.

Contact: (415) 967-2382 |

For more information contact:
Armand Volkas, MFT, RDT/BCT
510.595.5500, ext. 11 

Information about Continuing Education Credit for Mental Health Professionals Sponsored by The Spiritual Competency Academy

See Below

Drama Therapy Techniques

  • For therapists, this experience of being in a drama therapy group will provide a first-hand experiential foundation from which to draw when applying the teachings in their clinical work with clients.
  • A variety of drama therapy techniques will be taught, demonstrated, and utilized, including improvisation, acting techniques, psychodrama, Playback Theatre and other action methods.
  • The techniques taught can be used as action methods with groups, families, couples, and individuals.
  • Therapists will have the opportunity to practice and explore drama therapy processes and techniques in a safe and supportive environment in the service of creating therapeutic theatre.
  • In the process of developing therapeutic theatre pieces, therapists will observe, experience, practice and experiment with psychodramatic techniques such as the empty chair, role training, doubling, mirroring, and role reversal.
  • In the group process of creating therapeutic theatre, therapists will have the opportunity to observe the role of director, and experiment with the roles of auxiliary, protagonist, and group member.
  • Therapists will participate in activities and interactive experiences based on theatre techniques that will develop the qualities of spontaneity and creativity in themselves and in their clients.

36 CE Credits – Information on Continuing Education Credit for Health Professionals:

  • CE credits for psychologists are provided by the Spiritual Competency Academy (SCA) which is co-sponsoring this program. The Spiritual Competency Academy is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Spiritual Competency Academy maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • The California Board of Behavioral Sciences accepts CE credits for LCSW, LPCC, LEP, and LMFT license renewal for programs offered by approved sponsors of CE by the American Psychological Association.
  • LCSW, LPCC, LEP, and LMFTs, and other mental health professionals from states other than California need to check with their state licensing board as to whether or not they accept programs offered by approved sponsors of CE by the American Psychological Association.
  • SCA is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN Provider CEP16887) for licensed nurses in California. RNs must retain this document for 4 years after the course concludes. SCA is an approved CE provider for National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coaches (CEP Number 100196)
  • Please note: An additional $75 fee is required to cover CE administrative costs.  
  • For questions about enrolling in CE or receiving your Certificate of Attendance, contact:
  • For other questions about CE contact David Lukoff, PhD at .

CE Learning Objectives:

At the end of the program, participants will be better able to…

  • Compare the terms “under-distanced”, “over-distanced” and “aesthetic distance” in drama therapy and autobiographical therapeutic performance
  • Apply the elements of Playback Theatre in developing autobiographical therapeutic theatre
  • Describe how autobiographical therapeutic performance can be an effective form of short-term therapy
  • Apply the “Map of Messages” technique to uncover positive and negative spoken and unspoken messages inherited from ancestors, culture and social institutions 
  • Apply David Read Johnson’s Developmental Transformations approach to developing autobiographical therapeutic performance pieces
  • Design and describe a drama therapy progression of exercises and techniques with an autobiographical therapeutic performance group
  • Apply the 5 phases of Emunah’s drama therapy model in autobiographical therapeutic performance group facilitation
  • Utilize psychodramatic sharing during the post-enactment phase of a psychodrama helping the protagonist and group members integrate feelings stirred up during the drama
  • Apply the psychodramatic technique of “role reversal” in developing empathy during the autobiographical therapeutic performance process
  • Describe the use of “the double” in working with a client’s autobiographical therapeutic performance piece
  • Analyze the “warm-up” or readiness of a group to move into action methods in preparation for deepening the creative and therapeutic process
  • Demonstrate the concept of “hero’s journey” as applied in the the autobiographical therapeutic performance process
  • Demonstrate the concept of “rite of passage” as applied in the autobiographical therapeutic performance process
  • Compare self-indulgence versus therapeutic transformation in autobiographical therapeutic performance  
  • Discuss “repetition compulsion” in “life scripts” and the role of “re-decision” in therapeutic performance
  • Discuss the roles and dynamics among “perpetrator” “victim” “rescuer” and “bystander” in unconscious trauma processes 
  • Explain how role-playing and role-taking through rehearsal for life practices and performance bring about therapeutic results  
  • Describe how the role of exposure in front of “reparative witnesses” facilitates healing from trauma
  • Describe how the pressure of the impending performance date influences and creates an opportunity for therapeutic change 
  • Explain the metaphor of how “symbolically marrying oneself” illuminates the transformative nature of autobiographical therapeutic performance 
  • List three Transactional Analysis tools used and applied in autobiographical therapeutic performance 
  • Explain the importance of establishing “the therapeutic contract” and using it as a compass in the development of autobiographical therapeutic performance pieces
  • Describe the “use of self” in the roles of psychotherapist/drama therapist/theatre director in autobiographical therapeutic performance process
  • Explain how uncovering and transforming dysfunctional “life scripts” can help a client develop a new life-affirming narrative 
  • Discuss how autobiographical therapeutic performance can be understood as a journey of re-decision
  • Compare Self-Revelatory Performance and autobiographical therapeutic performance 
  • Describe the importance of post-performance integration after the risk-taking of any therapeutic theatre performance


September 21 - December 7

| $900


September 21
December 7
Event Category: