2010 Annual Report
One Drama Therapy Group Story
Throughout the weeks of drama therapy groups, the CANY staff keep track of changes in our clients. Here we recall one client's journey.
Veronika is an adolescent girl with a history of being sexually trafficked. She is now in a CANY drama therapy group at The Gateways program at the JCCA in Westchester. When she first joined the group she was withdrawn and watchful. She was wary of interpersonal trust and sharing.
In the drama therapy group held the day before the U.S. mid-term elections, the CANY co-leaders invited the girls to think of one thing that they might fight for if they were to run for political office. The girls were then going to create characters as candidates for office. To everyone’s surprise Veronika created the character of Princess Vee. Princess Vee was running for President of the United States and she wanted to create safe foster homes for children.
The group created a makeshift podium and asked Princess Vee to make a campaign speech. In this role, Veronika transformed into a presidential candidate. She stood at the podium and smiled broadly at the prospect of sharing her passionate beliefs to an attentive crowd. From a therapeutic perspective, Veronika was experiencing the transformation from silent passive follower to leader; from resistant teen to sharer of feelings and thoughts.
As the dramatic scene came to an end the co-leaders asked the group to imagine where Princess Vee might be in 3 months time. The girls unanimously decided that Princess Vee would be voted into office as President of the United States. The CANY co-leaders then invited the group to organize themselves into a final group “photo:” pose at the inauguration with Princess Vee. Princess Vee stood victorious surrounded by her supporters, smiling and proud of all that she had shared.
In a conversation at the end of this group, Veronika expressed her response to playing the role of Princess Vee. “That was awesome,” she said, “I’m going to run for class president now!” Having experienced a sense of competence and validation within the dramatic frame of the CANY group, Veronika seemed eager to explore a parallel sense of success in the real world. This presidential drama was a rehearsal for life. Veronika had experienced a new sense of power and success that affected her sense of her self in her current environment, potentially impacting her everyday choices and roles for the future.