Paula Heller is a therapist specializing in individual, couples and family therapy, and maintains a private practice in St. Louis, MO.
For 27 years, I have taught High School Theatre and English. During that time, I continually saw the therapeutic benefits of students in my theatre program. The students, as well as their parents, felt they belonged to a sort of family. Students had a safe haven. Students could be themselves because theatre needs not only performers and musicians, but technicians, costumes, makeup, student directors, business minded individuals for marketing and sales, etc. There was something for everyone and every ability. As I made my decision to change careers, I realized that we all need to belong and feel needed. So I began my journey of therapeutic theatre through drama therapy training. Through drama therapy training, I realized how necessary creativity and play is to mental health. Therefore, I continued my education a step further to attain my MA in professional counseling. I also have a year of additional training working with trauma and am trained in EMDR.
For the past several years, I have been working with adolescents and adults in private practice and contracting with Youth In Need as a therapist, where I work with youth and their families. Many of these families are found families through foster care and adoption. Understanding and navigating the unique emotional issues in adoptive families has been an incredible journey. And I run a drama therapy group at the Independent Center which focuses on adults with mental health diagnoses.
Through my own therapeutic work, I have realized that when we get stuck in one role, we often don't see opportunities that come through life transitions and evolving relationships. Through the combination of therapeutic modalities that center on the connection between the mind and body, real healing and transformation is possible. The caterpillar doesn't know it is becoming a butterfly. If we can be patient and take the time to understand ourselves, we can create the life we want.