Armand Volkas is a psychotherapist and Registered Drama Therapist in private practice and Clinical Director of the Living Arts Counseling Center in Berkeley, California, where he directs a training program for students, interns and therapists who want to integrate drama therapy into their practice. He is a Board Certified Trainer in this discipline with The North American Drama Therapy Association. In addition, Armand is Associate Professor in the Counseling Psychology Program at California Institute of Integral Studies and Adjunct Professor at John F. Kennedy University, Sofia University, the Summer Peacebuilding Institute and the Canadian School of Peacebuilding. Armand has been honored with the Raymond Jacobs Award for his dedication to diversity and cultural competence and The Gertrud Schattner Award from the North American Drama Therapy Association for his distinguished contributions to the field. He has developed innovative programs using drama therapy for social change, intercultural conflict transformation, intercultural communication and peacebuilding.
Armand Volkas directs Healing the Wounds of History, a therapeutic approach in which theatre techniques are used to work with groups of participants from two cultures with a common legacy of violent conflict and historical trauma. Healing the Wounds of History has received international recognition for its work in bringing groups in conflict together including, descendants of Jewish Holocaust survivors and The Third Reich; Turks and Armenians; Turks and Kurds; Palestinians and Israelis; Japanese and Chinese, Tamil and Singhalese, Japanese and Koreans; African-Americans and European-Americans and the factions involved in the Lebanese Civil War.
Armand is also Artistic Director of The Living Arts Playback Theatre Ensemble. Playback Theatre transforms personal stories told by audience members into theatre pieces on the spot using movement, ritual, music and spoken improvisation. Sometimes a story becomes myth, sometimes a realistic enactment: some stories are tragic; others are funny or illuminating. The ensemble is in now in its 30th year of existence. At the heart of Armand’s work is a profound respect for the power of personal story to build bridges between people and cultures.