Marjorie Melnick Heymann, B.F.A. , PH.D.
Lecturer in Psychiatry
Empowerment Through Theatre Program
The Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene
Healthy Schools, Healthy Students and Learning for Life (A Pilot Program for the NYC DOE)
Center for Educational Innovation-Public Education Association
Dr. Heymann, a former professional theatre director, developed, researched and implemented the Empowerment Through Theatre® program which teaches engagement and communication skills. The program trains participants to use active listening (by hearing both the words and the needs underneath the words), to empathize with others (by living in fictitious lives through scripts and role playing), to overcoming obstacles (such as depression, anxiety and physical complaints), to practice anger management techniques, and to advocate for their own needs and the needs of their child, student, patient and/or client.
Role plays are used to practice life situations with an emphasis on dealing with conflict and pausing to get instruction and/or training. Empowerment Through Theatre® (originally called Skills Through Drama) has been used with a variety of populations including parents, teachers, teenagers, doctors (psychiatrists, pediatricians and primary care physicians); parent advocates; clinic patients, public school counselors, immigrants, prison inmates, ex-offenders, and refugees from the war in the former Yugoslavia and others.
The program has been offered in many settings including: The Parent Empowerment Program; the Developing Center on Implementation of EBPs for Children; New York Presbyterian Hospital Pediatric Psychiatry Clinic (for parents of children in treatment and for teenagers over 14 years of age); Turn 2 Us and New York Presbyterian Hospital at PS 128 and PS 4 (which additionally used this approach with English training for Spanish speakers); CARING at Columbia at IS 218 (in coordination with The Children’s Aid Society) and at PS 128; the Mayo Clinic (with psychiatric residents); The Center for the Advancement of Children’s Mental Health; The Queens House of Detention for Men (under the Division of Continuing Education and the Adult Learning Center run by LaGuardia Community College); The Women’s House of Detention at Riker’s Island (through the Board of Education);and for Primary Pediatric Psychopharmacology Conferences, a national CME, sponsored by the University of Nebraska.
Dr. Heymann is director of Healthy Schools, Healthy Students and Learning for Life, a pilot program, which targets 3rd grade student behavior and learning in the classroom, plus family outreach by providing access to mental health doctors, parent advocates and hospital services.
Theatre Director/Sample Shows: NYC - Up! (one of the first feminist plays), Three by Grace (Paley); Summer Stock - Marat/Sade, Under Milk Wood.
Undergraduate: University of Connecticut, B.F.A. (Theatre), 1965 - 1969
Graduate: The Union Institute, PH.D. (Psychology), 1978 - 1982
130 West 79th St., Suite 5D
New York, NY 10024
Phone: 212 342 3304
Fax: 212 342 0120
1. Melnick M: Skills Through Drama: The Use of Professional Theater Techniques in the Treatment and Education of Prison and Ex-Offender Populations. Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama and Sociometry 1984;37(3): 104 - 116
2. Melnick M: The Constructive Use of Theatre in Prison. The New York Theatre Review 1979;3(3): 24 - 25
3. Melnick M: Learning on the Inside: Education through Theatre. Radical Teacher 1979;Mo. 12 Adult Education Issue: 6 - 11
4. Sainer A: Marjorie Melnick - Up!, Prisons, Motherhood, Applause Books, New York, NY, USA, 1997