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Jason Butler

Professor of Drama Therapy, Department Chair of Graduate Expressive Therapies

faculty jason butler

Dr. Jason D. Butler is a Registered Drama Therapist, Board Certified Trainer, and New York State Licensed Creative Arts Therapist. Jason is a former President of the North American Drama Therapy Association (NADTA) and previously served on the NADTA Board of Directors as President-Elect and Communications Chair. He is the editor-in-chief for The Arts in Psychotherapy and the former training director for DvT Montreal, a satellite of the Institute for Developmental Transformations.

Prior to joining Lesley University, Jason was a professor in Creative Arts Therapy at Montreal's Concordia University, serving for a portion of that time as the graduate program director for drama therapy and a member of the Arts in Health Research Collective.  

Jason is an internationally known drama therapist, having presented on drama therapy in many countries, including the Czech Republic, China, Hong Kong, South Africa, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. He has served as an adjunct faculty member at Lesley University and at New York University and was one of the first recipients of the NADTA Teaching Excellence Award in 2012. 

Prior to being a full-time professor, Jason was the director of Goddard Riverside Community Center’s The Other Place, a psycho-social program and drop-in center for homelessness and mental illness in New York City. Prior to finding drama therapy, he was a high school theatre teacher.

His publications include articles and book chapters on drama therapy education, arts therapies pedagogy, schizophrenia, developmental transformations, and role theory. His current research includes an exploration of the drama therapy student experience as well as the application of drama therapy theory to experiential learning.


Selected Publications

Feniger-Schaal, R., Orkibi, H., Keisari, S., Sajnani, N. L., & Butler, J. D. (2022). Shifting to tele-creative arts therapies during the COVID-19 pandemic: An international study on helpful and challenging factors. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 78(August 2021), 101898. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aip.2022.101898 

Emunah, R., Butler, J. D., & Johnson, D. R. (2021). The Current State of the Field of Drama Therapy. In D. R. Johnson & R. Emunah (Eds.), Current Approaches in Drama Therapy, Third Edition (Third, pp. 22–36).

Charles C Thomas. Cheung, A., Reid-Varley, W. B., Chiang, M., de Villemejane, M., Wood, L. L., Butler, J. D., & Fan, X. (2020). Dual diagnosis theater: A pilot drama therapy program for individuals with serious mental illness and substance use disorder. Schizophrenia Research, xxxx, 2018–2020. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2020.11.008

Butler, J. D. (2020). Phenomenology of the embodied encounter. Drama Therapy Review, 6(2), 65–68. https://doi.org/10.1386/dtr_00045_1

Arias, G., Dennis, C., Loo, S., Lazier, A. L., Moye, K. D., Connor, C. O., Rich, A., Weinberg, M., & Butler, J. D. (2020). A Space to Speak: Therapeutic Theater to Address Gender-Based Violence. Violence Against Women, 26(14), 1771–1789. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077801220942835

Pilgrim, K., Ventura, N., Bingen, A., Faith, E., Fort, J., Reyes, O., Richmond, M., Rosenthal-Schutt, S., Schwinn, S. A., & Butler, J. D. (2020). From a distance : Technology and the first low-residency drama therapy education program. Drama Therapy Review, 6(1), 27–48. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1386/dtr_00014_1

Butler, J. D. (2019). The use of role play in creative arts therapy education. In R. Hougham, S. Pitruzzella, S. Scoble, & H. Wengrower (Eds.), Traditions in Transition in the Arts Therapies (pp. 137–150). University of Plymouth Press.

Sajnani, N., Beardall, N., Stephenson, R. C., Estrella, K., Zarate, R., Socha, D., & Butler, J. D. (2019). Navigating the Transition to Online Education in the Arts Therapies. In R. Hougham, S. Pitruzzella, S. Scoble, & H. Wengrower (Eds.), Traditions in Transition in the Arts Therapies (pp. 153–170). University of Plymouth Press.

Butler, J. D. (2017). Re-examining Landy’s four-part model of drama therapy education. Drama Therapy Review, 3(1), 75–87.

Butler, J. D. (2017). The complex intersection of education and therapy in the drama therapy classroom. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 53(2017), 28–35.

Gaines, A. M. & Butler, J. D. (2016). North American Drama Therapy. In C. Holmwood & S. Jennings (Eds.) Routledge International Handbook of Drama Therapy. London, UK: Routledge.

Butler, J. D. (2015). Playing with reflection in drama therapy education. In E. Vettraino & W. Linds (Eds.), Playing in a House of Mirrors: Applied Theatre as Reflective Practice (pp. 109–122). Rotterdam, NL: Sense Publishers.

Butler, J. D. (2012). Playing with madness: Developmental Transformations and the treatment of schizophrenia. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 39(2), 87-94.

Landy, R. J., & Butler, J. D. (2012). Assessment through role theory. In D. R. Johnson, S. Pendzik & S. Snow (Eds.), Assessment in drama therapy (pp. 148-176). Springfield, Ill.: Charles C. Thomas Publisher. 


PhD, Interdisciplinary Studies, Concordia University
MA, Educational Counseling, University of Phoenix
MA, Drama Therapy from New York University
BA, Theatre Education from Brigham Young University

Board Certified Registered Drama Therapist (RDT-BCT)
Licensed Creative Arts Therapist (LCAT)