Nisha Sajnani

Associate Professor and Director, Drama Therapy Program

Nisha Sajnani

Phone: 212 998 5258

Curriculum Vitae/Syllabi:

Dr. Nisha Sajnani, RDT-BCT, is the Director of the Drama Therapy Program at NYU Steinhardt and on the faculty of the Rehabilitation Sciences Ph.D. and Educational Theatre Ed.D and Ph.D. program.

Associate Professor Sajnani has been with NYU for six years, having joined as an Adjunct Professor of arts-based research in 2011. She is the director of the As Performance: Therapeutic Theatre Lab where her primary research areas of interest include the health benefits of theatre-making as it relates to social determinants of health, stigma, and social inclusion/exclusion, relational aesthetics in therapeutic theatre, scalable storytelling based interventions in schools, and sustainable mental health care in humanitarian contexts. Read an interview with Dr. Nisha Sajnani about her research here.

She has also published in the areas of culturally responsive pedagogy in the arts therapies, embodied and performance research, trauma-informed care, and global mental health. She maintains research partnerships with the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma, the Foundation for the Arts and Trauma, the Institute for Arts and Health, the Creative Arts Therapies Research Unit (University of Melbourne), and KenVak (European Arts Therapies Research Consortium).

Dr. Sajnani is the co-editor of two books, including Trauma-Informed Drama Therapy: Transforming Clinics, Classrooms, and Communities, and has published numerous chapters and articles in research publications including The Arts in Psychotherapy, The Journal of the Applied Arts and Health, Canadian Theatre Review, and Canadian Women's Studies. She also co-produced the documentary film Fostering Democracy Through Theater. She is the Principal Editor of Drama Therapy Review, an international journal for research on the relationship between dramatic improvisation, performance, and health.

Dr. Sajnani has been recognized by the North American Drama Therapy Association (NADTA) for her efforts to promote research and diversity in the field. She was awarded the Corann Okorodudu Global Women's Advocacy Award from the American Psychological Association (Div. 35), the first Diversity award from the American Society for Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama, and numerous other awards. Professor Sajnani has served as part of the official Canadian delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Before joining NYU, Dr. Sajnani held professorial positions at Lesley University and was Director of Community Health at the Post Traumatic Stress Center in New Haven. She is also a past president of the NADTA. Dr. Sajnani received her Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Concordia University in Montreal.