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

Using psychodrama to heal the scars of the Holocaust

An adjunct professor of expressive arts therapy at San Francisco’s California Institute of Integral Studies, Volkas is the founder of workshops for people who share collective trauma stemming from a historical event. For the last 30 years he has taken the workshops to troubled regions all over the world.

As the son of Holocaust survivors and a therapist, Volkas said his early interest was more personal: He wanted to study how the legacy of trauma handed down in Jewish families also affects generations of Germans. It was not work he necessarily chose, Volkas said, but rather was something he could not turn away from — nor erase inside himself.

All the World’s a Stage

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.

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