Dana (Ainra Njonjo) Suttles, MA, LGSW is a Drama Therapist currently serving as a program counselor for ALIVE, a branch of the Post Traumatic Stress Center of New Haven, CT. Dana earned her Master of Arts in Drama Therapy at New York University, and completed her internships at Menorah Home and Hospital in Brooklyn, NY and Jacobi Medical Center’s In-Patient Adult Psychiatric Unit in Bronx, NY.
Since moving to Minnesota, Dana has worked primarily with adolescent and young adult populations in both direct care and clinical capacities, providing case management and restorative justice services for youth and families, creative arts therapy workshops for community and school-based programs, and individual and group therapy for adolescents and adults. Service settings have included intensive care facilities for mental health and developmental disability, transitional group homes for adults, CD treatment centers, drop-in centers, gender specific community-based counseling for juveniles, and residential treatment for adolescent girls. Dana has facilitated groups, workshops and trainings for professionals and community members on drama therapy, strength-based practices with adolescents, the use of story in healing, and cultural competency in direct care service. Dana has also presented at the annual conference of the North American Drama Therapy Association.
Dana’s primary practice at The People’s Movement Center will be focused on self-revelatory performance, a form of drama therapy that provides the client/participant an opportunity to work through a current issue, while acknowledging and addressing its connection to past experience and/or trauma. Traumatic events are defined by the participant, and therefore naturally encompass cultural, spiritual, and generational/historical perspectives. Self-revelatory theater is a trauma-informed approach, nurtured by the cohort, directed by a drama therapist and performed by the client. Dana is particularly interested in making this approach available to mental health practitioners, organizers, and caretakers.