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Participants' Comments

From San Francisco Chronicle:
Like any good director, Sylvia Israel doesn't need much more than an empty space, a few chairs and some colored scarves to conjure a theatrical event. In both groups and one-on-one sessions, the San Rafael drama therapist casts her patients as protagonists and supporting players in scenes that replay and seek to repair emotional wounds.

The techniques, including role reversal, doubling of characters by the therapist, playback theater, freezes, Brechtian devices for emotionally "under-distanced" clients and Living Arts immediacy for "over-distanced" ones, can be elaborate. A drama therapy session or more intense psychodrama may run 2 hours or more.

"It may look and sound a lot like drama school, but the aims are strikingly different. 'Many people think we are working in metaphor', says Israel. 'I believe this use of the arts is abut concretizing and externalizing experience and making you see that you and what happens to you are not the same thing."
-Steven Winn, SF Chronicle drama writer, Arts and Healing, (July 24, 2003, Section E-1)

"Sylvia is a very sensitive, creative, powerful facilitator. More growth and insight than I expected to experience. Excellent!"
-Gene Gore, psychiatric nurse and actor

"You create a very safe environment for those of us more guarded."
- Trina Rushing, mortgage broker.

"What was most meaningful to me was experiencing the transformation of myself through the transformation of the sandtray."
- Li Walter, researcher & writer

"Your gentle calm and formidable expertise was greatly appreciated."
-Marilyn Jean, psychotherapist

"Knowledgeable and charismatic teacher! Sylvia was prepared and always maintained a well-structured plan that was beneficial. Students were able to learn from her activities. This class was so fulfilling due to the professor's knowledge and to the respect she gave to each student. She created a safe environment that allowed students to open fully. I walk away from this class feeling in touch with myself, knowing I can conquer any battle or struggle I have. Israel has such a caring quality about her. Great lady, great teacher, should win awards!"
- Sonoma State University student

"The freedom to be myself is what brings me back and makes me recommend this work to others."
- Adrienne Karp, psychotherapist

"A comfortable and supportive place to share, take some risks, challenge ourselves and play."
- Lizz Domash, expressive arts/music therapist

"A powerful and enjoyable workshop experience . . . lots of good ideas for my work."
-Michael Carney, minister

"You've re-kindled my spirit! A safe space conducive to self-expression."
- Camilla Polhemus, drama therapist

"The work is so important, it reaches right into the heart chakra."
- Lenore Gerard, lawyer

"An enriching, lovely and gentle day in a safe and sacred space."
- Toby LoPresti, psychotherapist

"In witnessing Sylvia direct, I noticed clarity, strength and skill and excellent timing of her interventions. I saw her facilitating by actively being part of the scene, but also outside the circle, and always in the clear role of director. Thanks for opening up new horizons."
-Christy Viloria, art therapist intern

"You make a healing space that lends itself to self-compassion."
- Anonymous

"My aristic self, long dormant, reawakened through the drama therapy work. I continue to make a place for this part of me."
- Bobbi Ausubel, educator

"Quite simply, this was the best workshop experience of my life. Sylvia is a gifted facilitator."
- Cathy Wild, healer and writer

"Soulful work that opened my heart."
- Lana Sembra, counselor and teacher

"A great group for depth, heart and profound internal changes. Thank you!"
- Marcia Rayene, corporate trainer

"Meaningful and fun! I was introduced to a part of myself I didn't even know was there."
- Mitch Foundray, geriatric caregiver

"The work you do is a gift to the soul. For creative people like me, it's hard to find a home that speaks the language of heart."
- Helen Walsh, community organizer

"The safe space you created allowed me to relax, focus and experience appreciation."
-Mary Tarbell-Green, addictions specialist

"By taking on different roles of others in my life, I felt as if a higher self were working though me, giving me information about how to continue my life."
-Pauline Laurent, author and founder of Catalyst for Change

"Thank you for all the fantastic work you do with our clients. It is so clear that you put a lot of thought and effort into your work. The counselors and the clients get so much from you, and that is no small feat for women with eating disorders. You enrich all of our lives."
-Marcy Dubova, Program Director- Ohlhoff Eating Disorders

"Sylvia brings as incredible rich and mature experiential base to her instruction. Her attention to the process is phenomenal. For this type of course-five stars! I am an MFT with 15 years clinical experience and this class significantly enriched me."
- Sonoma State University student

"Thank you for an excellent class and experience. I appreciated your sensitivity, professionalism and experience. I think you did a great job 'holding' the class."
- Sonoma State University student


Marin's only dedicated Drama Therapy / Psychodrama Center