Today I feel honored to be a part of the Central Region Drama Therapy community and proud to finally feel justified in calling myself a Drama Therapist. It has been a long journey to finally feel as if I deserved that title. I was starting to wonder if the day would ever come. My journey began at K-State studying under Sally Bailey in 2007. K-State was the dream that I never wanted to wake up from. I was immersed in Drama Therapy, given the autonomy to create my future and met people who I will probably know for the rest of my life. When I left K-State, I went back to Florida to a job at a law firm that I was able to hold on to while I was in school and began my job search to work as a Drama Therapist. At this juncture I believed I was a Drama Therapist but, not being able to find work was discouraging; it slowly ate away at my self-esteem, my faith in the skills I was taught and my confidence in the knowledge I had acquired. After a year of only finding one contract position as a Drama Therapist, I made the decision to go back to school to get a degree that promised licensure. This decision did not come easy. I would be committing myself to at least three more years of graduate school and would be ‘selling out.’ I can still hear the torn voice in my head, “I don’t want to be a ‘talk’ therapist, I’m a Drama Therapist!” It went against every grain in my body, but I had to do it to get where I wanted to be, so I decided to ‘do my time.’ I would go to classes and get out as soon as possible.
In my first semester of my second run in grad school I felt like an outcast. Every time I related something back to the creative arts therapies, I was given funny looks by my peers and shrunk back into my shell. I eventually stopped sharing my drama therapy experiences in classes and instead just chose to incorporate the expressive arts into required assignments. For human development class, I wrote a paper about the importance of play in adulthood. For addictions class, I did a poster presentation about the creative arts therapies and their efficacy in addictions treatment. For research class my question was, “Does the use of the creative arts therapies reduce stress and anxiety in veterans with PTSD?” Slowly but surely I started to understand my place again…I was a drama therapist! One of my proudest moments was when we had a guest speaker in class who had gone through Castlewood’s program with Laura Wood and she told our entire class that the drama therapy portion of her treatment was the most helpful in her recovery, and all my peers gave me an approving look, recognizing my affiliation with the work. During my last semester I was even invited to be a guest lecturer to teach the drama therapy section for our program’s Arts and Counseling class…another proud moment.
Nowadays, I am working as a Counselor/Case Manager at a 28 day residential treatment program for people recovering from addiction and I get to do drama therapy everyday if I want. My clients are so appreciative of the work and I am so appreciative for them being open to it. It is also very helpful to have a supervisor who is currently studying drama therapy herself. I continue to learn more and more about my craft with every group. The work we do as creative arts therapists is so special and complex, even in its seemingly simplest forms. I still can’t believe how much schooling I have done and how long it has taken for me to get here, but I have learned so much about myself and life along the way. None of the choices I made were in vain and I know now that I was exactly where I was supposed to be every step of the way. It has certainly been a long, bumpy and humbling road, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I can’t wait to see what is in store for me around the bend.