Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Michael Karson, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Judith Fox, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Joseph Tadie, Ph.D.


Theater, Acting, Actors, Training, Therapy, Therapists, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Rehearsal, Performance, Relationships, Stories, Storytelling, Growth

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


There is much in common between theater and therapy. Both happen live. Both are explorations of human experience. Both require participants to be emotionally and mentally present. Both are hard to do well (and easy to do poorly). Training to be a clinical psychologist requires hours of coursework, administrative work, supervision, and on the job clinical experience. Training to be a professional theater maker or actor requires hours of rehearsal. The elements of acting are deconstructed during training so that rehearsal consists of voice-work, physical theater, scene study, etcetera. Training to be an actor entails much more practice of the craft itself than training in clinical psychology. Training in acting – which is chiefly the business of learning to be present and full and alive – may have something to offer training in clinical psychology, specifically therapy. This paper is an exploration of the possibilities therein. It is an experiment. And, like therapy and theater, it aims to be alive.


42 pgs

Paper Method

Theoretical Analysis and Synthesis