Year of Graduation: 1997
Graduate School: Drama Therapy-New York University; Clinical Psychology-Minnesota School of Professional Psychology
Please give a brief description of your current position and where you're working.
I'm a drama therapist and a psychologist at Washburn Center for Children where I provide therapy and testing for children and adolescents.
What path did you follow to arrive at your current job?
My path started at CSB where I was a psychology major. I had done theatre in high school and so I auditioned for a play at St. Ben's. Later, I took a counseling course where I had to write a paper about modality of therapy and that's how I learned about drama therapy. From St. Ben's I applied to New York University for drama therapy. After graduating from NYU, St. Cloud Hospital actually created a job of Drama therapist for me and I worked there before having my own private practice. However, I felt limited in private practice because there was no licensure of creative arts therapist in Minnesota like there was in New York. I went back to school at the Minnesota School of Professional Psychology to become a psychologist. Working as a psychologist at Washburn has been great; I've been able to incorporate drama therapy into my work with my clients. When I first started, there weren't many drama therapists, so I've been able to watch the field of drama therapy grow.
What advice/suggestions would you have for students who might be interested in your career?
I recommend talking with or interviewing drama therapists. Learn about drama therapy from the national association of drama therapy (http://www.nadt.org/ ) , and have a strong background in both psychology and theatre
What skills are important in your field?
To be an effective drama therapist you need to be spontaneous and creative. You also need to have a high tolerance for uncertainty and faith in the process. It's a very playful way of getting people to open up, but you need to be persuasive, and pretty soon they'll find they love it!
What activities/experiences were helpful at CSB/SJU (and elsewhere) in preparation for this career?
Being involved in both the psych and the theatre departments really helped me. My professors encouraged me and helped me realize that I had the capacity to do what I wanted to do. Ultimately the relationships that you develop with the faculty are the most valuable for preparing for the future.
What is the most satisfying/rewarding part of your job?
It's very satisfying to witness people experiencing emotions through drama therapy that they haven't been able to, or allowed themselves to experience. For example, I've seen suicidal or catatonic teenagers able to express emotion in the intense but controlled environment provided by drama therapy, which allows them to talk about, deal with, and learn about themselves.