Maria Hodemarska

Maria Hodermarska, MA, RDT-BCT, CASAC, LCAT is a Clinical Associate Professor of Drama Therapy at New York University. She produces the As Performance Series for the NYU Program in Drama Therapy’s Theatre and Health Lab. Her current research focuses on issues of disability justice and collective liberation in drama therapy practice. Hodermarska is coordinator of creative arts therapies for Project Common Bond, an international symposium for young people who have lost a direct family member to an act of terror, armed or inter-religious conflict or due to military service or pandemic. Hodermarska serves on the Ethics Committee of the North American Drama Therapy Association. She is the proud granddaughter of Daniel Hodermarsky and Mary Kolessarova-Hodermarska, who lived in Hačava nad Bodvou, Slovakia, less than 40 km from the Ukraine border.

Abstract of paper: CAN’T/BREATHE: Drama therapy in a time of war, displacement, worldwide pandemic, and social-political reckoning.

Linking experiences across continents, oceans, and complex histories, a US drama therapist meditates on the value of drama therapy during these strange and uncertain times. Spontaneity, mutuality, and identities (or roles) that are central to drama therapy practice are the “muscle” and “backbone” of human survival in difficult times. Furthermore, they constitute the core elements of dignity necessary for conflict resolution. How does drama therapy help us to do the necessary care work of these days, to wage radical peace, find hope, and perhaps, when we are finally able to, breathe?

  • References:

Crenshaw, K. (2016, December 7). The urgency of intersectionality [Video]. Youtube.TED Conferences.

Davis, A. (2016). Freedom is a constant struggle: Ferguson, Palestine and the Foundations of a Movement. Haymarket Books.

Frazier, D. (2021, May 26) The woman who filmed Goerge Floyd’s murder.

Hicks, D. (2011). Dignity: Its essential role in resolving conflict. Yale University Press.

Johnson, D.R. & Sajnani, N. (2015). Developmental transformations and social justice. A Chest of Broken Toys: Journal of Developmental Transformations, 1, 58-70.

Menakem, R. (2017). My grandmother’s hands: Racialized trauma and the pathway to mending our hearts and bodies. Central Recovery Press.

Mosley, D. (2019). Radical hope in revolting times: Proposing aculturally relevant psychological framework. In Social Psychological Compass. © 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Pitre, R., Sajnani, N., & Johnson, D. (2014). Trauma-centered Developmental Transformations as exposure treatment for young children, Drama Therapy Review, 1 (1), 41-54.

Rhodeen, P. (retrieved 7, March 2022) The crucifixion of George Floyd. In, America Magazine.

Tippett, K. (Host). (2020, June 4). Resmaa Menakem: ‘Notice the Rage; Notice the Silence’ [Audio podcast episode]. In On being. Public Radio Exchange.

Varanasi, A. (2021, April 19). Decolonizing therapy: Why an apolitical mental health system doesn’t work: Undoing the narrative that ‘just talking about your feelings is enough.’ Rewire.

Zelensky, V. (2022, March 1) Freedom Square Speech. Retrieved from:

Abstract of workshop: “WHERE IS THE KING?”

In Vienna after World War I, J.L. Moreno, the father of psychodrama, sociometry, and drama therapy, rented a theatre, filled it with 1000 patrons, placed a throne on an empty stage, asked “Where is the King?” He invited audience members to come to the stage, sit on the throne and share their ideas for a new Europe and how to bring it stability. His performance was a miserable failure.

In these difficult and challenging times of war, displacement, pandemic and social-political reckoning, we will endeavor to build upon Moreno’s experiment. Rather than seeking a single leader, we will work together as a council in a long table to imagine a future for the world that centers fairness and difference rather than universality. Collectively, we will breathe, listen and try to answer the central question of ethics and the practice of drama therapy: “How shall I act?”

  • References:

Davies, B. (2022, March 27) John Rawls and the “Veil of Ignorance”. In Wilburn, H. (Ed.) Philosophical Thought. Open access source. Retrieved from:

Nolte, J. (2014) The philosophy and theory of J.L. Moreno: The man who tried to become god.

Split Britches (2022) Long table format. Retrieved from: