Armand Volkas and the Living Arts Playback Theatre Ensemble at CAMFT’s 2015 Annual Conference
an article by Mariam Babayan, JD, Outreach Coordinator, January/February 2015, Professional Exchange
It is a well-known adage that experimentation is an active science. But from his home base at the Living Arts Counseling Center in the tree-nestled, bustling community of Berkeley to the four corners of the world, internationally renowned drama therapist, educator, and theatre director Armand Volkas has proven that is it also a profoundly active art.
An ‘experiential’ therapist, Volkas transcends the marginalized, fringe perception such a title often evokes. A professionally trained actor with an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles, Volkas went on to earn his MA degree in Counseling Psychology from Antioch University in San Francisco, where he specialized in drama therapy. Drawing from both deeply personal cultural influences that long predate his work in therapeutic arts, Volkas has developed innovative programs using drama therapy for social change, conflict transformation and intercultural communication.
Founded and directed by Volkas, Healing the Wounds of History has received international acclaim for its therapy based peace-building initiative. 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, the program has brought together many groups in conflict to address personal and collective trauma.
The profound respect for the power of personal stories to build bridges between people and communities lies at the heart of all of Volkas’ work. Many of the techniques utilized in Healing the Wounds of History, such as psychodrama, drama therapy, and Playback theatre, are ones he incorporates and builds on as an educator, clinician, and theatre director.