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Dramatherapy Chapter in the Association of Creative & Expressive Therapies:


 DT in Israel is part of an umbrella association for creative arts therapies, called YAHAT: The Israeli Association of Creative & Expressive Therapies, which includes a specific chapter for dramatherapy.


Professional recognition and registration:


In the past, the Ministry of Health used to recognise creative arts therapists who fulfilled the requirements of the professional association (YAHAT). But legal claims to the High Court of Justice by institutions that were not recognized by YAHAT questioned the State’s recognition, leading to all recognitions being frozen and halting all registrations by the State, until they would be regulated by law. As a result, creative arts therapists are now working without permission from the government.  


In spite of this, thousands of creative arts therapists (including drama therapists) are working in the public sector, in the school system through the Ministry of Education, in mental health hospitals, psychological services (as well as medical insurances!) through the Ministry of Health, in prisons, hospices, battered women refuges and other social settings, through the Ministry of Welfare, etc. They work under another profession (such as teacher, occupational therapist, etc.), as there are no formal positions for creative arts therapist as long as the profession is not recognized.


A legislation process has been going on for several years now – every time coming to a halt due to political reasons (both internal and external). Usually, urgent matters and events (i.e. war) get in the way. Currently there is a lot of pressure from all creative arts therapists to move ahead with the legislation. Particularly, the younger generations are becoming more present, being a key factor now in pressuring the government.


In preparation for the law, several steps have been made by creative arts therapists through YAHAT as well as all the training programs in the country, aimed at advancing the legislation.


One of them is academization: All the trainings have become graduate programs now, so that the field is only taught at MA level in public institutions (universities or colleges). The Council of Higher Education of Israel was requested by the Kneset  (the Israeli Parliament)  to speed up the process of granting permission to open graduate programs to well-established trainings. Programs that could not get to the graduate level are requested to close by 2018 (private institutes cannot grant Master’s degrees in Israel without the approval of the Higher Council of Education). Creative arts therapists who finished their training after 2004 are requested to take an extra year in one of the accredited institutions in order to complete their MA.


The other measure that has been taken is the creation of a body called the Higher Board of Arts Therapies in Israel, composed by representatives of YAHAT, as well as of all the accredited training programs. The meetings of this body are attended by representatives from the Ministry of Education; and the Ministry of Health is also invited.  This body discusses and provides guidelines concerning issues that are common to all practitioners in the field (such as advancing the legislation, revising and updating the ethic code for the digital era, homogenizing supervision requirements, etc.)


Dramatherapy training:


There are currently two training courses in DT, both of them at the MA level: Haifa University and Tel Hai Academic College. A third program that was functioning at the Academic College for Society and the Arts is now closed.


About 50 new practitioners a year are getting their MA degrees in DT. These belong to all sectors of society, including Jews (secular, religious and ultra-orthodox), Arabs (Muslim, Christian, Druze, and Bedouins), etc. There is an overwhelming majority of women.


In order to be accepted by the programs, the institutions follow strict regulations by the Council of Higher Education: Candidates should have a Bachelor degree in theatre or the health professions (or socio-educational field). There are clear requirement for those who do not hold a degree in theatre to have 500 hours of proven theatre study/training/ work; and vice versa, for those who come with a degree in theatre/art to take 5 specific courses in psychology and 2 research courses, which are a prerequisite. Candidates with a bachelor in another field (for example, biology, engineer, etc.), may also be accepted, provided that they do the theatre hours and the 7 basic courses).


After the two-year MA course, students are required to take an extra year of practicum, in order to gather 960 hours of supervised work. The practicum is run by the institution that provided the MA. All in all, students are expected to leave their training having fulfilled 1560 hours of supervised work in dramatherapy.


The regular MA training lasts 2 years + the 3rd year of advanced placement.


Requirements for personal therapy and supervision:

There is no requirement for personal therapy (however it is encouraged) but high requirement for supervision (which is overseen by YAHAT).




Yahat -


Tel Hai Academic College –


Drama Therapy – The Graduate School of Creative Arts Therapies, Haifa University



Susana Pendzik, Ph.D., RDT is Head of the Drama Therapy Graduate Program at Tel Hai Academic College, Upper Galilee, Israel, lecturing also at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Dramatherapy Institute of Switzerland, as well as in other institutions of Higher Education in Europe, Mexico and Argentina, and conducting workshops worldwide. She a Registered Drama Therapist at NADTA (North American Drama Therapy Association), a founder and honorary member of the Swiss Dramatherapy Association, and an accredited supervisor by I.C.E.T. (Israeli Association of Creative and Expressive Therapies). She is a mother, a poetess, a theatre director, and a researcher. She is the author of many articles on drama therapy, a book for using action techniques with abused women, co-editor of the volume Assessment in Drama Therapy (2012), and of the recently published The Self in Performance: Autobiographic, self-revelatory, and autoethnographic forms of therapeutic theatre.

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