Drama Therapist: Wanning Jen

 What do you love most about being a drama therapist?

 Through playing, guiding, and witnessing I facilitate change. I love playing with my clients. When we explore the theme of procrastination, I played as a procrastinated monster with kids. We explored why we procrastinate by interacting with the monster. We found procrastination is a protection mechanism against our fear of incapability and unknown. So together as a team ,we did hard work to examine the overwhelmed feelings, to reset our goal, and to set up reasonable plans so each individual can tackle the habit of procrastination. 
When we explore relationship with others, I guided kids each steps towards each individualized goal. We set up fictional scene and rehearse as a way to practice relationship skills in a safe space. Every step we take, we take it slowly. It’s not easy so sometimes we need to retreat to gain more strength in order to move forward and that is okay.  When we have more strength, we leap together. 
When we work towards trauma, I witnessed how much my clients want towards their transformations, how resilient they are going as far as they could and I witness the growth every second they spend with me. I also witness how much I gained in return by working with them. 

 Why did you go into your career as a drama therapist?

 As a performing artist and drama therapist, I was never satisfied just being on stage. I am more intrigued by the psychological growth of theatre. I witnessed my transformation through theatre. Doing improvisation allows me to be spontaneous and enjoy myself at the moment. I used to be a everything-needs-to-well-prepared perfectionist. It was tiring to live in a situation where I need to be fully prepared for literally everything in advance. And if I don’t prepare, it is as if I am falling. It makes me feel I don’t perfect that moment and that leads to the feeling of incomplete and incompetent. It was difficult and unbearable to live with myself until I found theatre. Through theatre I learnt not to judge the product of my decision at every moment. And more importantly, I learnt to embrace the imperfection. Imperfection is truly another angle of perfection. Now I’m comfortable to be with the imperfect aspects of life and enjoy the here and now, it’s all because of the therapeutic power of theatre. To me, theatre is a way to cultivate life. So as a drama therapist, I will continue to promote the idea that theatre is to bring change. 

 What does your job entail?

 In the dramatic therapy space, I am a guide, I guide clients towards their destination by overcoming their obstacles. Eventually they will internalize the guide in them; I am also a play object, an object that can be transformed as their parents, their best friend, someone they are afraid of, or someone they are fond of. Utilizing the transference and working on the relationship between us, the relationship of clients with others will transform; I am a  healer, I heal and to be healed. I work on my own issues through supervision and theatre, so I don’t project my own judgment onto my clients. Thus, I am able to treat every clients regardless of their backgrounds with love, unconditional positive regard and respect.