APA CE Workshops/Classes

APA-approved psychology continuing education (CE) programs


Creative Therapies Center, DBA Drama Therapy Institute of Los Angeles (CTC/DTILA), is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Creative Therapies Center, DBA Drama Therapy Institute of Los Angeles (CTC/DTILA) maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

The following continuing education (CE) courses, tailored to the specific interests and needs of psychologists and other mental health professionals, can be used to satisfy APA continuing education requirements:


Body Awareness and Movement in Personal Growth, Psychotherapy, and Education

Course Description:

This course will provide theory and an active experiential approach to learn about the mind and body connection, body awareness, and observation and assessment of movement through Laban Movement Analysis and Bartenieff Fundamentals. Piaget began to notice through his research how movement plays a part in development and perception. The introduction to Laban Movement Analysis provides a common language for therapists to observe, assess, and provide interventions. The experiential exercises are linked directly to the active development of professional knowledge and skill in the following three ways:

  1. The experiential exercises will help psychologists and mental health professionals in noticing the emotions in the body and tension that can be held from past traumas and learning.
  2. The experiential exercises will specifically look at the 6 developmental patterns of connectivity in the body as a way of finding inner connections that support the following four psychological skills: 1-outer expressivity, 2-self-esteem, 3-being in the world, 4-re-storying unhelpful narratives.
  3. The experiential exercises are crafted to develop stronger observational skills that will help psychologists and other mental health professionals bring awareness to clients’ movement preferences as well as others. This, in turn, can help in making more informed decisions on appropriate clinical direction for treatment.


Clinical Uses of Narradrama with Individuals and Groups

Course Description:

In this workshop, participants will (1) explore narrative and drama therapy theories and practices based on current research and (2) learn and practice specific drama and creative arts interventions (based on narradrama) that open more expressive, creative ways to work and to respect cultural differences. Opening up expressive modalities in conjunction with verbal expression expands communication. This enhanced expression helps both the therapist and client to more clearly understand the client’s issues and explore alternative solutions. This method also centers on discovering client strengths and encouraging spontaneity and creativity, which is a strong focus of narradrama. These methods are compatible with the leading psychological theories. Well-established narrative concepts—such as externalization, scaffolding and landscapes of action and identity—which may be familiar to psychology graduates, will be expanded through narradrama. Providing advanced training and understanding of these concepts will increase the possible methods of therapeutic intervention and communication. Limitations and risks related to creative expression (such as flooding of emotions, feeling safe, and de-rolling practices) will be thoroughly discussed and addressed. The experiential exercises are linked directly to the active development of professional knowledge and skill in the following three ways:

  1. The experiential exercise, “Externalizing the Problem,” illustrates the concept of externalization and provides practice in utilizing art, puppetry, and sculpting to assist the process.
  2. The experiential exercise, “Finding your Strengths,” explores action interventions through drama, music, art, and poetry to help expand the client’s voice.
  3. The experiential exercise, “Transformational Stories,” shows ways to help the client identify and enact a unique outcome or self-identity change story which has been a pivotal in their life.


Drama Therapy and Identity Transformation with Addictive Populations

Course Description:

This course focuses on providing psychologists and other mental health professionals a theoretical understanding of how drama therapy and other creative arts therapies can be integrated into addiction treatment. Professionals will actively participate in a practical forum for trying out different creative experiential exercises with clients dealing with substance abuse and/or process addictions. In particular, participants will learn how to help clients differentiate between the “addict self” and the descriptors used to identify one’s core self. Important treatment considerations—which involve cognitive restructuring, identifying triggering behaviors, and identifying future life choices in comparison to current life choices—will be explored.

The experiential exercises are linked directly to the active development of professional knowledge and skill in the following ways:

  1. Experiential exercises, such as the “Role Card Exercise,” will help psychologists and other mental health professionals assist clients identify the roles that they play in their lives that will either help promote or combat the addiction.
  2. Experiential exercises, such as “Befriending the Addiction,” will teach psychologists and other mental health professionals about the process of “disidentification,” where the client can learn to separate from the addiction and create a healthy dialogue with it (as opposed to being enmeshed in a toxic way).
  3. Experiential exercises, such as the “I Come From” poetry exercise, will help psychologists and other mental health professionals learn about the themes and patterns that arise in clients lives that might enable an addiction.
  4. Participants will explore ways that addicts can rebuild and reshape their identity from just “being an addict” through techniques of character creation, role play, poetry, and life mapping.
  5. Participants will be able to articulate the use of a variety of creative techniques and to demonstrate how these can be incorporated into practice with clients dealing with the effects of addiction.
  6. Participants will learn how to assist clients using drama therapy in building coping mechanisms through exercises geared to broaden role repertoire, address feelings of shame and guilt, provide healthy living alternatives, and build positive self-image, self-esteem, and self-discipline.


Healing and Rebuilding: Grief Work with Children, Teens, and Adults

Course Description:

Using art, music, dialogue, reenactment, guided imagery, and other therapeutic techniques, this workshop offers remembering and healing rituals to help clients who are coping with loss and trying to move forward with life. Specific experiential exercises will augment traditional talk therapy and help the active development of knowledge and skill for therapists in the following ways:

  1. Using the experiential exercise of “the empty chair technique” can help provide closure and identify unfinished business between the grieving client and the deceased.
  2. Using the experiential exercise of “sculpting” will assist in concretizing past, present, and future, and aid in identifying and setting goals throughout the therapy process.
  3. Using the experiential exercise of “story dramatization” can aid in emotional release and resolution of issues in instances of ambiguous grief.
  4. Co-creating with the client both “remembering and healing rituals” will assist in the process of transformation and honoring of the experience and memories of the client.


Intersectional Identities in the Therapeutic Encounter

Course Description:

This workshop will address the following questions:

How is our ethical practice in therapeutic, clinical, and educational settings informed by the way identities intersect and influence human experience? (NADTA 2015 and Talwar 2017); What is intersectionality as a theoretical paradigm and as a practice in drama therapy? (Sajnani, 2013, and Watts-Jones 2010), and how are gendered, racialized, neurodiverse, and queer bodies and perspectives quieted in our field? (APA 2015)

What can we do to help amplify—not quiet—intersectional identities? (APA 2017) This course will include a discussion of the new 2017 APA Multicultural Guidelines: An Ecological Approach to Context, Identity, and Intersectionality. Participants will engage in discussion and enactments of the 10 Overall Multicultural Guidelines to reconsider diversity and multicultural practice within professional psychology. Participants will consider how the term “multicultural” has evolved from its 2002 definition in APA literature as interactions between racial/ethnic groups in the U.S. and the implications for education, training, research, practice, and organizational change to a much broader conceptualization that considers contextual factors and intersectionality among and between reference group identities. Participants will also explore the five layers of the Layered Ecological Model of the Multicultural Guidelines in APA’s new guidelines. These layers include: the microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem, and chronosystem of multicultural identity formations.


Clinical Uses of Drama Therapy and the Creative Arts with Trauma

Course Description:

This course enhances the therapist’s ability to understand the utilization of drama therapy as a treatment for violence, chronic trauma, and PTSD. Traumatized clients are often frozen in a heightened state of arousal with limited relief from conventional interventions. Bessel Van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score (2014) argues for the utilization of theater as a healing process for traumatized clients. Van der Kolk points out that theater interventions assist with a client’s ability to heal through “confrontation of painful realities of life and symbolic transformation through communal action (335).” Drama therapy provides an envivo experience for the client and assists in the development of enhanced focus and emotional self-regulation through dramatic play and artistic expression. The therapist will develop skills to effectively guide clients through drama therapy projective artistic experiences, with the goal of increasing insight and emotional tolerance in the client. Drama, movement, art, poetry, and other creative arts add expressive modalities to the client’s verbal expressions and decrease the possibility of re-traumatization of the client (Zucker 2010). Limitations and risks related to creative expression (such as flooding of emotions, feeling safe, and de-rolling practices) will be thoroughly discussed and addressed.


Drama Therapy and Creative Arts with Special Populations: ADHD

Course Description:

The course offers an opportunity to engage in an active, experiential approach to facilitating change in individual and group therapy settings. Mental health professionals learn the skills of storytelling, projective play, and purposeful improvisation to help clients diagnosed with ADHD rehearse desired behaviors, practice being in relationship, expand and find flexibility between life roles, and perform the change they wish to be, and see, in the world. The instructor will cover selected theories and approaches to ADHD (Monastra 2008, Solanto 2011, and Gerdes et al 2015). The course will specifically show some different structures that a therapist can use to introduce drama and creative arts therapies. (Ray et al. 2007) Coaching techniques, time management, and mind mapping are also included. (Solanto 2011) These interventions may include components of masks, photos, movement, drama, and art and include fundamental concepts of embodiment, distancing, and dramatic projection. The participants may explore any of the following action tools targeted toward ADHD populations: monologues, story dramatization, dialogues, drama games, storytelling, and creative media. Instructors will discuss the benefits and risks associated with various approaches to treatment of ADHD. The goal is to promote an integrative approach that balances the use of medication with cognitive, behavioral, narrative, and coaching techniques through the use of drama and creative arts exercises that strengthen executive functioning and emotional regulation. (Barkley 2010, Barkley 2016, Looyeh 2012).

3205 Ocean Park Blvd Suite 240. Santa Monica, California 90405 Telephone: 310-226-2865 (prefer contact by email) Email: pamela@dramatherapyinstitutela.com or at: pdianedunne@hotmail.com