Playback Theatre Ensemble

Autobiographical  Therapeutic Performance

Healing the Wounds of History

Counseling Collective


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

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

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

A 15-Week Group & Individual Drama Therapy Process
Live Online

Facilitated by
Armand Volkas, LMFT, RDT/BCT & Ornela Kapetani, MA, RDT

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 15-week “rite of passage” process
• Perform your story to an invited group of reparative and trustworthy witnesses

Use theatre to recreate your life as a living, breathing work of art!

January 22 – April 22, 2023 Monday Mornings 9am – 12pm PST

Performances take place between:
April 15 and 22, 2023, TBA

WHERE: Live Online via Zoom

$1,500 for a 15 Session Group (Payment plans available)

Individual drama therapy sessions TBA with your drama therapist/director
$150 per 90-min session (Payment plans available)

No previous theatre experience required! Shy people are welcome!

Armand Volkas, MFT, RDT/BCT [email protected] 510.595.5500, ext. 11
Ornela Kapetani, MA, RDT (438) 821-3239 [email protected]


Autobiographical Therapeutic Performance (ATP) 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, movement and Playback Theatre techniques. The theoretical underpinnings of ATP are informed by Transactional Analysis, Jungian Archetypal Psychology, Humanistic and Person-Centered approaches, as well as attachment theory. 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 inner journey through memories, images and emotions.

Through the creation of your ATP you will begin to rehearse and  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.

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 and for those wanting to transform their lives through the dramatic arts such as 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.

What does the Autobiographical Therapeutic Performance involve?
*4 three-hour drama therapy group sessions
*A performance date between December 11 and 17.
*One 3 hour integration session on December 18.
*A small cohort of supportive group members accompanying you on your creative and therapeutic journey
*10 individual 90 minute drama therapy sessions are recommended with your drama therapist/director
*You will be matched with your drama therapist/director after the initial group session
*Individual sessions to be arranged based on your schedule
*Technical and creative design support for your theatre piece


Is a psychotherapist and Registered Drama Therapist in private practice and Clinical Director of the Living Arts Counseling Center in Berkeley, California, where he directs a training program for students, interns and therapists who want to integrate drama therapy into their practice. Drama Therapy uses acting improvisation and Psychodrama as therapeutic tools. He is a Board Certified Trainer in this discipline with The North American Drama Therapy Association. In addition, Armand is Associate Professor in the Counseling Psychology Program at California Institute of Integral Studies. He has developed innovative programs using drama therapy and expressive arts therapy for social change, intercultural conflict transformation, reconciliation and intercultural communication.

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.

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 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..

Contact: (510) 595-5500 | Ext 11 | [email protected]


Is a drama therapist and a professional theatre and film actress. She is a registered drama therapist with the North American Drama Therapy Association and with the HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council) in the United Kingdom. She is a clinically certified trau

ma practitioner. Ornela is currently training as a Transpersonal Regression Therapist with the Tasso International Institute in the Netherlands.

In 2009, Ornela obtained her MA in Drama and Movement Therapy (Sesame Approach) in London, UK at the Central School of Speech and Drama (University of London). Since then she has been continuously working as a drama therapist for the National Health System (NHS,UK), within mental health facilities, mainstream education settings, NGOs and with individuals, from diverse cultural backgrounds, who experienced trauma. She has extensive training in Jungian psychoanalytic, psychodynamic, humanistic and person-centred approaches to psychotherapy. She has an established private practice and works with people from all walks of life.

In addition, Ornela is a full member of the ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) in Canada. She is a multi award winning actress and she’s been the leading actress in numerous European film productions. As a theatre practitioner she’s had extensive training in various theatrical disciplines such as the Stanislavsky method, the physical theatre of Jerzy Grotowski, Jaques Lecoq and the silent theatre of Marcel Marceau.  From 2008-2015 Ornela was a performer with the multidisciplinary theatrical group PartSuspended, an art collective that aimed to bring together artists from various disciplines to address social issues through performance.

Ornela combines her experience as a clinician and professional actress, in a way where both the psychological needs and the artistic potential of the person are intertwined to create a transforming liminal experience.

Contact: (438) 821-3239 | [email protected]

Want to learn more about the process? Read Armand Volkas’s chapter on Autobiographical Therapeutic Performance from The Self in Performance:


This course fulfills the core drama therapy 3 unit (45 hour) educational requirement for Advanced Elective in Drama Therapy in the Alternative Training Program with the North American Drama Therapy Association when combined with additional required coursework. An additional $50 administrative fee will be added to your course fees due. See below for an outline of course learning objectives. Contact Armand Volkas for more information.


• 36 Continuing Education (CE) Credits are available for
Psychologists, MFTs, LPCCs and LCSWs for an additional $75 fee.


• 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 their certificate of attendance for 4 years after the course concludes.
• For questions about receiving your Certificate of Attendance, contact Center for the Living Arts at (510) 595-5500, Ext 11, [email protected]. For questions about CEs, contact Spiritual Competency Academy at [email protected].


• 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.


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

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Armand Volkas, MFT, RDT/BCT [email protected] 510.595.5500, ext. 11 Ornela Kapetani, MA, RDT (438) 821-3239 [email protected]






The numbers below include tickets for this event already in your cart. Clicking "Get Tickets" will allow you to edit any existing attendee information as well as change ticket quantities.
Ticket - Payment Plan
$ 375.00
Ticket - Full Payment Up Front
$ 1,500.00
Ticket - Payment Plan
Prior to purchasing this ticket, please request a payment plan by emailing [email protected]
$ 500.00
Additional individual drama therapy sessions
Please purchase this along with the ticket for each additional 90-minute individual drama therapy session with your drama therapist/director.
$ 150.00