The Dramatherapy Centre, About us

Joanna Jaaniste, PhD, AThR (Drama), B.A.(Hons.), Dip.Ed., Dip.Dramatherapy, is a registered Dramatherapist who has spent 19 years practising dramatherapy in the mental health area, and has extensive experience in the adolescent and substance abuse fields. She specialises in story work, roleplay and improvisational interventions. Her lively approach is influenced by the work of Carl Jung and Rudolf Steiner. She believes strongly in the power of dramatherapy to assist participants to find new directions for their lives. She is Principal of the Dramatherapy Centre in Sydney, and runs courses together with her colleague, Adrian Lania. She teaches at masters level at Western Sydney University, and has co-written a Postgraduate Diploma in Dramatherapy at IKON Australia. She is now lecturing on this new course, the first in Australia of its kind. She has presented papers in Europe, USA and South Africa and is the Australian Representative for ECArTE, the European Consortium for Arts Therapies Education. She has published articles on dramatherapy in many international journals and chapters in edited books, especially in the area of dramatherapy and dementia.

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Natalie Mackenzie is a registered dramatherapist with a Masters degree in Dramatherapy from Roehampton University in London, UK. She currently works as a dramatherapist in a therapeutic centre for children who have experienced grief, loss or trauma. She has experience working with adolescent mental health and adults experiencing enduring mental health difficulties both in the community and in forensic secure settings.

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Lana Sussman Davis is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker, and a registered Dramatherapist, achieving her Masters degree in Drama & Movement Therapy(Sesame) at The Central School of Speech and Drama, London University. Lana has experience working both in Sydney and London with a wide variety of client groups including children and families, the aged, adolescents, people living with disabilities and their carers, as well as survivors of domestic abuse. Lana's  sessions are available to individuals, groups, couples and families. She provides the sessions in her private practice or at institutions including schools, children and family centres, residential and day centres (for the aged and people with disabilities), as well as corporate environments.

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Kirsten Meyer is a registered member of ANZATA as well as the Health Professions Council of South Africa. She obtained her Postgraduate Diploma in Dramatherapy from the University of Hertfordshire (UK) in 1999.  She is co-founder of a Not for Profit Organisation the Zakheni Arts Therapy Foundation and continues to serve on the Board.  Currently she is based in Melbourne working on her PhD research, running a small practice and facilitating professional development and training workshops.

Kirsten has extensive intercultural Dramatherapy experience in various contexts including clinical, community and educational settings.  She has worked with diverse communities including: female offenders, children and adolescents living with HIV and AIDS and care workers offering psychosocial support to vulnerable children.  Publications include ‘Dramatherapy with adolescents living with HIV: story making, drama and body mapping’ in Jones Phil (ed) Drama as Therapy Volume 2 (Routledge 2010) and “I’ve got HIV” research vignette in Jones Phil Drama as Therapy Volume 1: Theory Research and Practice (Routledge 2007).

Her educational experience includes developing and running an Honours level Introduction to Dramatherapy course at Wits University, Johannesburg, as well as lecturing and mentoring students on applied drama methodologies and creative facilitation skills.

She has worked extensively throughout South Africa, as therapist, facilitator and educator; as well as in the UK and Lebanon.  She brings with her a sound understanding of the creative arts and how they can be used effectively in education, healing and transformation.

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© Dramatherapy Centre 2017