DRAMA THERAPY | MENTAL HEALTH
Light Within Creative Healing Arts
Journey to your authentic self
What is the Light Within Creative Healing Arts?
LWCHA is a unique drama therapy and psychotherapy approach to discovering and embracing your authentic self. Every individual has a unique story that is worth being heard and celebrated. LWCHA offers tailored support that is founded on evidenced based drama therapy and psychotherapy practices. We explore those narratives that no longer serve you to thriving into your very own hero’s journey.
I work with groups, children and adults.
Let’s get to work!
CURRENTLY ALL SESSIONS ARE OFFERED VIA TELEHEALTH OR VIRTUAL PLATFORMS + I AM ONLY MEETING VIRTUALLY BUT INTEND IN THE FUTURE TO MEET FACE-TO-FACE
The Light Within Creative Healing Arts Approach.
I utilize a variety of theater and psychotherapy techniques to holistically support the individual explore their unique needs whether meeting one-on-one or in the group setting. I engage in a very compassionate manner to support the individual to feel validated in their truth.
Clients have the opportunity to rehearse for life while trying on new life roles and exploring new narratives to meet their true selves. No theater experience is needed as the work we will do is all about the journey and not the product. Let’s embark on the journey!
Below are a few ways in which I can meet a variety of individual and group needs*
I offer one-on-one sessions with the goal of guiding children and teens to discover healthy ways to manage their feelings in order to be seen and heard. We engage in play to explore those narratives that prevent the child building healthy relationships and engaging healthy expression.
I can help your child or teen work through their feelings. I utilize storytelling, imaginative play, props such as toys and art, as well as theater techniques like improvisation and performance, to help them explore their feelings, connect with others, and problem-solve difficult situations in a safe environment. I always consider their comfort level before engaging in each session.
My individual sessions are designed to work through those narratives that simply do not serve you. As your guide, I help you work through those self-defeating narratives to adopt healthy ways to engage in life. We will try on new life roles and attitudes in a safe environment that is compassionate, empowering and playful to lead a much more present and joyful existence.
My goal is to provide you with an opportunity to tell your story in order to be seen and heard as you would like. Life is too short to carry on without feeling your most authentic self.
The Light Within Group Work.
I believe in the communal power of healing. Through telling our stories in a supportive and compassionate setting, we are able to heal while being able to relate with others. No longer is there a need to feel unique in our own experiences. I implement my unique blend of drama therapy and psychotherapy techniques based on the group needs and abilities.
I offer group sessions for children and adults in a variety of community and mental health settings, such as recovery treatment centers, school programs, universities, hospitals, parks and recreation to name a few.
Currently offering the following programs but I am available to design additional programming based on needs of an organization. The following programs can be set-up for consecutive weeks/days or as a one-day workshop.
This support group provides a safe space to reflect on current events with peers to find comfort in their experiences. Both drama therapy and psychotherapy modalities will be utilized to guide and support participants to express their unique experiences to find commonalities. Ensemble work will be creative with emphasis on process over production value.
Light Within Project
This support group is designed for tween/teens to dismantle the effects that social media and mainstream trends effect self-esteem and self-worth. Group members will explore their experiences through the expressive arts to develop original work to showcase experience and the journey into self-acceptance.
Step into the Light
In addition to the collective healing model, I offer creative play groups to unwind and connect with peers in an informal setting. Step Into The Light (SITL), is offered for all ages and skill levels to explore the transformative power of the creative arts. Group work involves ensemble building exercises to allow for creative flow and play. Group members will engage in a creative arts and narrative process to develop and showcase original pieces amongst group members.
I have developed partnerships with educational and arts organizations throughout years, such as Little Haiti Cultural Complex and Florida International University, offering therapeutic arts programming addressing social issues. As a drama therapist and performer, it is important that I continually learn from and collaborate with others when the opportunity is presented.
I can offer engaging programing to meet a variety of needs.
What does a typical session look like?
As your drama therapist, my role is not to teach you acting or judge your creativity. My goal is to guide your creative self to bring about symptom relief and improved well-being. I try to find a balance of creative arts and talk therapy that is suited to meet your needs per session.
I offer in-person and virtual sessions.
In each session, we will explore reoccurring themes and roles that are present in your life. We explore what narratives serve you and which ones you wish to release to lead a much more productive and joyful life. Because what we do is beyond talk therapy, I may ask you to engage expressively, such as by journaling, enacting a scene, storytelling, moving or utilizing music for a uniquely creative approach to the therapeutic experience.
In my virtual sessions, I aim to deliver the same experience for those who are unable to meet in-person. Some techniques will be adapted from in-person sessions, but the goal of accessing your creative self for symptomatic relief is still at the forefront. I utilize ZOOM, Doxy.me and similar platforms to meet in the virtual play space. In addition, by meeting virtually there is no longer the worry of not being able to meet due to transportation or being out of area. We simply schedule and you settle in a space where you feel safe to explore the work!
For groups the same goal is strived for each session. “Members of a cohesive group feel warmth and comfort in the group and a sense of belongingness; they value the group and feel in turn that they are valued, accepted, and supported by other members.” ―
Irvin D. Yalom, The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy
What Is Drama Therapy?
The following is from the North American Drama Therapy Association website nadta.org. Drama therapy is the intentional use of drama and/or theater processes to achieve therapeutic goals.
What Is Drama Therapy?
Drama therapy is an embodied practice that is active and experiential. This approach can provide the context for participants to tell their stories, set goals and solve problems, express feelings, or achieve catharsis. Through drama, the depth and breadth of inner experience can be actively explored and interpersonal relationship skills can be enhanced.
What is a Drama Therapist?
A Registered Drama Therapist (RDT) is certified in the practice of drama therapy, and follows the NADTA Code of Ethics, and adheres to the NADTA Scope of Practice.
The educational requirements for the RDT involve: A master’s or doctoral degree in drama therapy from a program accredited by the North American Drama Therapy Association OR a master’s or doctoral degree in theater or a mental health profession with additional in-depth training in drama therapy through NADTA’s alternative training program. Board Certified Trainers/Registered Drama Therapists (RDT/BCT) train and supervise students in this alternative training program. Drama therapy education includes coursework in psychology and drama therapy, experience in theater, and supervised internship and work experience.
How does Drama Therapy work?
Drama therapy uses play, embodiment, projection, role, story, metaphor, empathy, distancing, witnessing, performance, and improvisation to help people make meaningful change.
A drama therapist first assesses a client’s needs and then considers approaches that might best meet those needs. Drama therapy can take many forms depending on individual and group needs, skill and ability levels, interests, and therapeutic goals. Processes and techniques may include improvisations, theater games, storytelling, and enactment. Many drama therapists make use of text, performance, or ritual to enrich the therapeutic and creative process. The theoretical foundation of drama therapy lies in drama, theater, psychology, psychotherapy, anthropology, play, and interactive and creative processes.
Who can benefit from Drama Therapy?
Drama therapy is for everyone across the lifespan. You do not have to be “good” at acting to benefit from drama therapy!
Client populations may include persons recovering from addiction, dysfunctional families, developmentally disabled persons, abuse survivors, prison inmates, homeless persons, people with AIDS, older adults, behavioral health consumers, at-risk youth, and the general public.
Drama therapists work in a variety of mental health and community settings. Below are some possible examples of locations where drama therapists can be found:
- Mental Health Clinics
- Hospital Medical Units
- Hospital Mental Health Units
- Substance Abuse Treatment Centers
- Adult Day Treatment Facilities
- Correctional Facilities
- Community Centers
- After School Programs
- Programs for Older Adults
- College Counseling Centers
- Programs for Persons with Disabilities
- Programs for Refugees and Immigrants
- Residential Facilities
- Nursing Homes
- Private Practice Settings
- Housing Projects
- Medical Schools
- Training Organizations
What are the outcomes?
- Drama therapy is beneficial for individuals, families, and communities struggling with transition, loss, social stigmatization, isolation, and conflict. It is an effective option for the treatment and prevention of anxiety, depression, and addiction, among other conditions. Drama therapy can promote positive changes in mood, insight, and empathy, and it can facilitates healthy relationships.
We invite you to learn more about Drama Therapy Research and the Drama Therapy Review.
What is the North American Drama Therapy Association (NADTA)?
- The North American Drama Therapy Association (NADTA) was incorporated in 1979 to establish and uphold rigorous standards of professional competence for drama therapists. The organization maintains requirements that must be met to qualify as a registered drama therapist (RDT). NADTA promotes drama therapy through information and advocacy.
- As a member organization of the National Coalition of Creative Arts Therapies Associations (NCCATA), the NADTA is aligned with professionals in the fields of art, music, dance, and poetry therapies, as well as group psychotherapy and psychodrama.
Learn More About Me...
Hi! My name is Michelle Foster. I am a heart-centered registered drama therapist and psychotherapist and the founder of Light Within Creative Healing Arts.
My Drama Therapy journey began during my undergraduate years while working with at-risk youth finding their authentic voice utilizing theater techniques. Being a theater major, I was presented with a wonderful opportunity to utilize my training in a way to make classical theater such as Shakespeare accessible by presenting the material in a very informal way to engage and work through their resistance.
Most of the students I assessed had never been exposed to much theater but were full of personality and eager to get into the work. “You see, Shakespeare was one of the first rappers back in the day. He worked with beats and made material work for the people,” was how I sold the Bard of Avon to the students.
I was able to guide them into finding their own creative voice. Each session I met with the students, I was able to provide a platform to validate their voices while challenging their limiting self-beliefs in order to be seen and heard. In turn from that experience, I felt validated as an artist with the ability to create transformative experiences for others.
The shift into drama therapy
My experience working with the group of Upward Bound students created a shift from wanting to exclusively be a professional theater artist to eventually mesh my artistry and desire to help others find their voice to becoming a registered drama therapist. My curiosity as a drama therapist has created opportunities for me to engage with various groups and individuals helping them find their unique voice. We journey from challenging self-defeating narratives to replacing them with self-affirming ones. Because of my personal exploration, I am confident I can guide the individual to discover and embrace their authentic self.
Qualifications to be your guide
I earned my graduate degree in drama therapy from Nova Southeastern University while completing over the necessary clinical hours to meet the requirements to become a registered drama therapist. I have worked in the private and public sectors of mental health. In addition, I have worked in educational settings facilitating drama therapy workshops. I have completed post-graduated trainings in psychodrama, narrative therapy, trauma-informed interventions, role-theory, cognitive behavioral therapy, positive psychology, mindfulness-based stress relief, autobiographical therapeutic performance, playback.
I continue to enroll in ongoing trainings to give me a working knowledge to best serve my clients. I actively participate in improvisation and theatrical performances to keep me engaged as an artist. I have a self-care practice which includes some of the following, yoga, laughing, art, spending quality time with loved ones, preparing good meals, early morning walks with my dog. I strongly believe that when I am able to meet my needs through self-care, I am able to best serve others.
Let me be your guide
I can take the individual from existing in a place that no longer serves them to exploring their unique journey that is waiting to be experienced! For groups, we will engage in a collective healing model that is supportive yet fun. Let’s embark on your journey to your authentic self!
Being Seen and Heard with Michelle Foster
Spencer V. ~Florida
“My time spent under Michelle’s drama/music therapy guidance was that of which the most beneficial to my recovery. Vivid pastel like colored guided meditations that really put me into an open state of exploring my inner child’s wandering, my creativity, and developing a catharsis that allowed me to face the traumas I wanted to keep hidden. It allowed me to embellish on a vice that was blocked for some time which was poetry.
Somehow expressing through, poems, playing a song of my choice and explaining how it related to me- made facing my demons easier. Finding commonalities between one artists songs and my own feelings brought a sense of empathy and feeling understood and less alone. Writing a poem that was slightly encrypted but nonetheless true to me allowed me to inch out of my shell rather than being pulled. But it was through her encouragement and methodology that I found a therapy well suited for me.”
Amanda D. ~Maine
“I met Michelle at an inpatient facility that I was in. She was always so bright and happy when I saw her. She is one of the least judgmental people I’ve ever worked with. I had zero interest in drama therapy, for the first few days I just watched. She eventually helped me step out of my comfort zone to participate, and I wish I would’ve jumped in right away.”
Laura B., ~Florida
“I’ve had the honor of working alongside Michelle for almost 2 years! Michelle will always have a special place in my heart as the energy she vibrates is like no other! Michelle has impacted so many lives, not just the clients we work with but also her colleagues. Her bright smile, kindness and positive attitude is contagious! Michelle’s passion for drama-therapy and helping others is evident by her daily interactions. I count myself extremely lucky to have Michelle as a former colleague and a close friend!”
Alicia G., ~Florida
“In my session with Michelle, we worked on some anxiety that popped up–it was scary and unexpected. Michelle made me feel comfortable immediately, and, throughout our session, I could tell that she was really listening, even though we weren’t in person. Our session was not only helpful, but really fun. Tapping into my creativity helped me bring down my inhibitions, get honest with myself, and just be in the moment I was in.”
Gaby F., ~Florida
“Michelle is not only an exceptional therapist, she is a loving and compassionate human being. Her big smile, easy going techniques and wonderful sense of humor made me feel comfortable, heard and safe during our session. She was truly born to shine her beautiful light!”
Find Your Balance.
Imagine having access to your authentic self in a nonjudgmental atmosphere where you can explore new life roles, rewrite your narrative, while receiving compassionate support. Together we will move from feeling unseen to feeling validated. I can guide individuals and group members to leading more meaningful lives.