Healing The Wounds of History

Intercultural Conflict Transformation and Peace Building Through Drama and The Expressive Arts

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Healing the Wounds of History

Our Process

Healing the Wounds of History is a process in which experiential techniques are used to work with a group of participants who share a common legacy of historical trauma.

Developed by psychotherapist, drama therapist and theatre director Armand Volkas, the process is based on the premise that there can be no political solutions to intercultural conflict until we understand and take into consideration the needs, emotions and unconscious drives of the human being. HWH, which takes a psychological approach to conflict, provides a map to help both groups traverse the emotional terrain to reconciliation. We invite participants from groups in conflict, who are willing to be emotional pioneers for their cultures, to participate in this groundbreaking work.

How Does it help?

Healing the Wounds of History helps participants work through the burden of shared historical legacies by transforming their pain into constructive action. 

Armand Volkas’s work has received international recognition for bringing groups in conflict together as well as cultures who carry collective trauma: Descendants of Jewish Holocaust survivors and The Third Reich, Palestinians and Israelis, Japanese and Chinese on the legacy of The Nanjing Massacre and WWII, Koreans on the legacy of comfort women; Tamil and Singhalese in the aftermath of the Sri Lankan Civil War, Armenians and Turks, Turks and Kurds, African-Americans and European-Americans on the legacy of Slavery, Muslim Palestinians and Lebanese Christians and the factions involved in the Lebanese Civil War.

Healing the Wounds of History
in Lebanon 2012

Healing the Wounds of History, facilitated by founder Armand Volkas, provided intensive training  in peacebuilding through the arts for psychotherapists, social workers and teachers in the aftermath of the Lebanese Civil War.

What Media Tell About Us

Workshop at the JCC Dbayeh Center

Many members of the Palestinian and Lebanese communities have negative images of one another. This, over the years, has lead to hatred, misunderstanding, fear and discrimination amongst the communities. These attitudes have been long standing and are being passed from parents to children. Negative images exist not only at an individual level but also at a community level.

Conflict Transformers: How theater is helping heal ethnic tensions 16 years after war in Kosovo

A young Kosovar Serbian actress sinks to her knees and, stricken with grief, expresses her longing for an uncle who is still “missing” 16 years after Kosovo’s ethnic conflict ended in 1999. The Kosovar Albanian man sitting to her left on stage watches mesmerized. It is his story that the actress is telling, and though he is unable to understand her words, spoken in Serbian, he tells the audience after the performance that she has captured the essence of his grief and pain. Through theater, the actors are retelling the history of violence between ethnic Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo in a new way that encourages empathy and healing. At the end of the evening, which is full of audience stories re-enacted, another audience member stands up and asks the interethnic theater group in front of her, “Where have you been for the last 16 years?”

What we do

Our Offerings

Workshops & Trainings

We offer ongoing or one-time peacebuilding and conflict transformation workshops and trainings for healing generational, historical and ancestral trauma through drama therapy.

individual sessions

We offer high quality individual, couples and group psychotherapy services provided by Licensed and Pre-Licensed therapist on a sliding scale.

commission a playback theatre Performance

We offer Playback Theatre performances, workshops, and classes for private groups and for the general public.

do you have an idea?

Join one of our projects as a participant where we explore what it means to be an emotional pioneer who helps pave the way for others to follow.

What Drives Us

Our Mission

Under the umbrella of the 501(c)3 not-for-profit Center for the Living Arts, Healing the Wounds of History develops and implements innovative approaches to transforming and healing historical trauma in the individual, family and the collective through the use of drama and the expressive arts.

Our Director

Armand Volkas, MFT, RDT/BCT

Armand Volkas, MFT, RDT/BCT

Director

Armand Volkas is a psychotherapist and Registered Drama Therapist in private practice and Clinical Director of the Living Arts Counseling Center in Oakland, 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.

read more about Armand.

Get Involved

Join us in an effort to work through the layers of the unresolved feelings we carry about each other. You can support this work by:

  • Be a participant of one of our projects
  • Propose a new project or a gathering between “enemies”
  • Sponsor an encounter
  • Donate

Upcoming Events

A Drama Therapy Workshop for Men
January 30 @ 9:30 am5:00 pm