Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology, Concentration in Drama Therapy

California Institute of Integral Studies

Program Description

Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology, Concentration in Drama Therapy

California Institute of Integral Studies

MA in Counseling Psychology with a Concentration in Drama Therapy

Freedom and possibility are two key words that begin to describe the essence of drama therapy. Life is finite; there are only so many experiences we can have. But in drama, the opportunities and options are endless, enabling us to dive more deeply into the richness of life. And when the dramas are authentic and "real," they have the power to affect, and even alter, our real lives profoundly. For the past thirty years, we have been investigating how therapeutically adapted dramatic processes work overtime to heal wounds, facilitate lasting change, and help people reach their highest potential.

-Renée Emunah, Program Founder/Director

The program allowed me to tap into the limitless storehouse of compassion, imagination, play, and resiliency inside of me and helped me channel all that into my fullest potential as a therapist and human being. It was an all-encompassing and transformative experience. As a storyteller, scholar, and now clinician, the impacts of the Drama Therapy program at CIIS will continue to serve me professionally and reverberate through me and those with whom I come into contact.

-Aileen Cho, Program Alumna, MA (2012)

One of my most life-changing experiences! The Drama Therapy program at CIIS gave me the personal and clinical resources I needed to become a skilled therapist while remaining in touch with my artist self.

-Dorothy Lemoult, Program Alumna, MA (2011)

The CIIS Drama Therapy program is one of only three master's programs in the United States both regionally accredited and approved by the North American Drama Therapy Association, and is one of only a handful of such programs in the world. CIIS is internationally recognized as housing one of the world's most highly developed and rigorous training programs for drama therapists.



Admission opens November 15th, 2015. All application materials need to be submitted by January 15th, 2016. Interviews will take place in late February and early March 2016.

About the Program

The Drama Therapy Program at CIIS is one of the only master 's level programs accredited in the field nationwide.

Our aim is to take students on a challenging and compelling personal and intellectual journey toward deeper levels of understanding and developing competence in drama therapy. Our commitment is to provide a serious, multilayered training in using this potent medium ethically, respectfully, and skillfully. Faculty and students delve into the complexities, subtleties, and possibilities of drama therapy.

Coursework is sequenced and progressive. Theoretical, practical/clinical, and experiential formats are incorporated. Small, action-oriented classes within a cohort model support students' personal development and a sense of community. While many people come to our program already personally familiar with the transformative power of drama, even the first semester of the program reveals new dimensions to the field and gives a glimpse of the vast range of exploration ahead.

An integral part of the program is on-site clinical training and supervision at a wide range of possible placement sites. Interns receive individual weekly supervision on-site by a licensed clinician, as well as small-group supervision at CIIS with a Registered Drama Therapist (RDT).

In their final semester of the program, students take an Integrative Seminar which supports the development of a capstone project. This final project may be a theoretical article, live, self-revelatory (therapeutic) theater performance, or a DVD documenting a drama therapy treatment process. All formats are presented publicly to a community of peers, family, and friends, leading to a sense of culminating achievement in the program.

CIIS is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The program follows the academic guidelines set forth by the North American Drama Therapy Association and meets academic requirements for registry as a drama therapist (RDT). The program also fulfills academic requirements for Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT*) licensure in the state of California. Coursework preparing for licensure as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) is also available.

*Please note that in order to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, you must also complete 3,000 hours of internship in addition to your educational requirements. You will graduate from our program with between 700 and 1,000 hours that will count toward licensure.

Apply to the Drama Therapy Program

We seek (and seem to attract!) creative, motivated, mature students who have already demonstrated a strong interest in the integration of theater and therapy.

Integrity, introspection, and dedication are all essential attributes. Our students come to the program from around the world. Applicants must have a background in drama/theater and a minimum of two undergraduate psychology courses. Volunteer or paid work experience in human services is strongly recommended.


We encourage and embrace diversity in our program, and place a high value on having students from a variety of racial and cultural backgrounds; other representations of diversity (including age range) are also important to us. We look at each applicant holistically, and if you feel passionate about this field, we welcome your application.

Admission Requirements

THE DEADLINE TO APPLY FOR THE FALL SEMESTER IS JANUARY 15. Admission is for the Fall semester only. Those applicants who are selected to interview will be invited to San Francisco for interviews that are held in late February to early March.

  • Admissions Application.
  • Non-refundable $65 Application Fee.
  • Degree Requirement: An undergraduate degree (BA, BS, or BFA) from an accredited college or university.
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from all accredited academic institutions attended within the United States. Transcripts must arrive in their official, sealed envelopes.
  • Autobiographical Statement: A five to seven page (12 pt font, double-spaced) introspective essay in which you reflect on significant childhood and adult life experiences that have affected your personal development.
  • Goal Statement: One page (12 pt font, double-spaced) statement of your educational and professional interests, goals or passions.
  • Two Letters of Recommendation: From academic advisors, professors or professional supervisors. Recommenders should use standard business format and include full contact information-name, email, phone number, and mailing address.
  • Resume/Outline: A one to two-page outline listing your background/experience (if any) in (1) theater (2) psychology (3) human services work, and (4) creative arts therapy.
  • Academic Prerequisites: Two undergraduate psychology courses from an accredited college or university are required. They may be in progress during the application process.
  • Interview: Individual and group interviews by invitation from the admissions committee.

International students and individuals who have studied at institutions outside the US and Canada may have additional requirements.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated December 12, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2018
2 years
Full time
USA - San Francisco, California
Start date: Sept. 2018
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2018
USA - San Francisco, California
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info