I’ve come to Drama Therapy after years working in theater and psychology. I finally merged the two fields! As a playwright, actor and director I always sensed the healing powers of theater. There is something in the community bonding and ritualistic aspects of theater that allow for healing on both the individual and community level. As an actor, both in training and playing roles on stage, I could feel the benefits of creativity, spontaneity, and expanding the repertoire of roles I could play. I could also see the benefits to other actors the ways in which rehearsing a play manifested as a form of group therapy for many involved. As a playwright, I always felt I had “arrived” when my play had not just an entertaining effect but also a powerful healing impact on my audiences, and I appreciate this element when I go to the theater. In working with student actors as a teacher or director, I witnessed over and over how individuals grew and become more confident and empowered. My background in psychology began when I studied psychology as an undergraduate at Cornell University and then entered a PhD program in Child Clinical Psychology. However, I quickly learned that the field of clinical psychology lacked a certain element of creativity that I associated with mental health. I read books about a drama therapy Institute which had begun in England and dreamed of a day when could become part of a creative arts field which, at the time, was in its infancy. I am grateful to now be earning my Registration in Drama therapy and bring together all I have learned over the years in both fields.
Nadine Bernard is a playwright, actor, and theater educator, and she is en route to becoming a registered Drama Therapist through the North American Drama Therapy Association. She sees drama therapy clients under the supervision of a Board Certified Trainer in Drama Therapy. In addition, she is a Board Certified Life Coach (BCC) and has had a part-time life coaching practice in Montclair. Nadine is currently leading drama therapy sessions at the school Celebrate the Children in Denville, NJ, and this summer she will be running therapeutic drama sessions for the CATS program for at risk youth, through the Bergen County Department of Family Guidance, as well as assisting with their teen improvisational theater program on social issues. In summer 2018 she directed the Luna Fantasy Factory Theater Camp at Luna Stage in West Orange which fostered socio-emotional development through theater. She has led the Hero Workshop at B’nai Keshet in Montclair, which used therapeutic drama to help children with learning disabilities develop their socio-emotional skills. She is the Founder and Director of Sibshop and Teen Sibs Montclair (in collaboration with Cornerstone, Montclair), a supportive group for siblings of children with special needs, which utilizes creative arts as a healing modality. Nadine has taught theater to undergraduates at Lehman College, middle school students at the Montclair Cooperative School, elementary school students in Ann Arbor Michigan, and throughout schools in NJ. In addition, Nadine has worked two years for Story2, coaching high school students to write their college entrance essays. Nadine holds a BA in English and Psychology, magna cum laude, from Cornell University, an MA in Child Clinical Psychology from the University of Denver, and an MFA in Theater from Sarah Lawrence College.
As a professional playwright, Nadine’s plays explore women’s issues and current social issues, and have been produced across the US and developed in theaters and festivals throughout NYC and New Jersey: Veils, The Way to Summer, Miss Valentine, Then Let the Fish Go, Seize the Day After, Female Factor, Breaking the Silent Code, Three Degree Drop, The Almost Baby, Waiting for Fame to Come, Gitel and Rivka. She has empowered women all over the country through her play and one-woman show, In the Shadow of My Son, based on the lives of women who experienced and recovered from postpartum depression. She is currently developing her play which raises awareness about what parents experience as they care for a child with special medical needs. Nadine is passionate about stepping into new worlds, and believes each person deserves an audience for their unique life story.
Read more about some of Nadine’s past plays at:
Bernard, Nadine (2019) A Personal Reflection: Psychodrama Training as a Method of Deepening the Actor’s Craft, The Journal of Psychodrama, Sociometry, and Group Psychotherapy, Ref.: Ms. No. ASGPPJOURNAL-D-18-00019
Script – In the Shadow of My Son
Therapeutic theater piece about postpartum depression. Scene highlights can be see at Performerstuff.
Monologue Featured from In the Shadow of My Son
The Smith and Kraus Best Women’s Stage Monologues, 2008