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Participants in DE-CRUIT


A logo reading acts: Advocacy and Community-based Trauma Studies

The Advocacy & Community-based Trauma Studies (ACTS) research team examines the use of theatre and other arts-based modalities in combination with cognitive and narrative approaches in trauma treatments. One such treatment is the DE-CRUIT program for military veterans.

Rates of suicide among U.S. military veterans are estimated at 20 per day, a number that exceeds the rate of combat deaths. Veterans also experience rates of PTSD and depression far higher than the general population. The DE-CRUIT program uses Shakespeare to treat these and other issues in veterans, with the long-term goal of reintegrating veterans as active, thriving members of society.

Participants in DECRUIT

The goal of this research project is to study the effects of the DE-CRUIT Veterans Program in improving mental health outcomes in a sample of U.S. military veterans. DE-CRUIT uses Shakespeare’s plays to help veterans overcome trauma and reintegrate into civilian life. Veterans in the program immerse themselves in Shakespeare’s verse and then write their own personal trauma monologues which they perform for an invited audience of family, friends, community members, and other veterans at the end of the program. The DE-CRUIT program was developed by U.S. Army veteran and classically-trained Shakespearean actor,  Stephan Wolfert.

For more information about the ACTS Lab, contact Dr. Alisha Ali:

Funder Info

PIs: Alisha Ali, Bruce Homer, Stephan Wolfert

Funders: National Endowment for the Arts; National Endowment for the Humanities; American Psychological Association - Military Psychology Division



Ali, A., Wolfert,. S., Lam, I., Fahmy, P., Chaudhry, A., & Healey, J. (submitted). A feminist analysis of military sexual trauma: Treating traumatic “symptoms” by exposing the pathological silencing of women soldiers. Women and Therapy.

Ali, A., Wolfert, S., Smith, R., & Healy, J. (in press). Soldiers’ stories: Themes of collective healing and recovery in a group treatment for trauma in military veterans (Abstract). International Journal of Qualitative Methods.

Ali, A., Wolfert, S., McGovern, J., Aharoni, A., & Nguyen, J. (2020). A trauma-informed analysis of monologues constructed by military veterans in a theatre-based treatment program. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 17(2), 258-273. DOI: 10.1080/14780887.2018.1442704.

Ali, A., Wolfert, S., Fahmy, P., Nayyar, M., & Chaudhry, A. (2019). The therapeutic effects of imagination: Investigating mimetic induction and dramatic simulation in a trauma treatment for military veterans. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 62, 7-11.

Ali, A., Wolfert, S., & Homer, B. D. (2019). In the service of science: Veteran-led research in the investigation of a theatre-based PTSD treatment. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 1-19.

Ali, A., & Wolfert, S. (2019). Treating trauma through the imagination: Therapeutic effects of simulation and mimetic induction. In L. Green (Ed.), Mutual Aid, Peer Support, and Other Radical Models of Mental Health. New York: North Atlantic Books.

Wolfert, S., & Ali, A. (2018). Re-humanization through communalized narrative for military veterans. In N. Way, A. Ali, C. Gilligan, & P. Noguera (Eds.), The Crisis of Connection: Its Roots, Strategies, and Solutions. New York: New York University Press, 398-413.

Ali, A., Wolfert,. S., Lam, I., Fahmy, P., & Chaudhry, A. (2018). Psychotherapeutic processes in recovery from military and pre-military trauma in veterans: The effects of theatre as a mental health treatment. Journal of Applied Arts and Health, 9(3), 337-350.

Ali, A., Wolfert,. S., Lam, I., & Rahman, T. (2018). Intersecting modes of aesthetic distance and mimetic induction in therapeutic process: Examining a theatre-based treatment for military-related traumatic stress. Drama Therapy Review, 4(2), 153-165.

Ali, A., & Wolfert, S. (2016). Theatre as a treatment for posttraumatic stress in military veterans: Exploring the psychotherapeutic potential of mimetic induction. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 50, 58-65.