NYU Steinhardt News

Robert J Landy Scholarship

Robert Landy When Robert J. Landy, PhD first came to New York University in 1979, drama therapy was an obscure concept with no formal standards, methodologies, or body of literature. Today, it is widely recognized as an important approach for helping individuals and groups achieve and maintain psychological health.

This success is due in no small measure to Dr. Landy’s pioneering efforts as a teacher, author, and practitioner, and as founder of the Drama Therapy program at NYU in 1983—the first of its kind in North America. In the New York City metropolitan area, many students have clinical internships in hospitals and shelters, drug rehabilitation centers, prisons, and special facilities for the homeless, the elderly, the developmentally disabled, and terminally ill patients, among other institutional settings. Graduates parlay the unparalleled training they receive at NYU Steinhardt and the exceptional experience garnered in their clinical placements into successful careers.

Drama Therapy

Drama therapy is one of several creative arts therapies—including art, dance, and music therapy—that helps patients by going outside of standard therapeutic measures. It employs theatre techniques (e.g. role playing, improvisation, performance, the use of puppets or masks) to aid in personal growth and promote health. Rooted in the concepts of play, imagination, and creativity, it enables participants to tell their stories, set goals, solve problems, express feelings, or achieve catharsis. Drama therapy, which can be used with both individuals and groups, allows people who may be unable to “open up” to therapists in a traditional setting to find new avenues for self-exploration and ultimately, healing. It has been used with a wide variety of populations, including people with severely disabling conditions, such as elderly dementia patients; children and adults on the autistic spectrum; and victims of war, natural disasters, and other stressful events. Through drama therapy, they have been encouraged to organize difficult experiences and move forward in their lives.

The Need for Scholarship Support

For the NYU Drama Therapy program—the cornerstone of Dr. Landy’s legacy—to continue to thrive, it is critically important that our students have adequate support to meet their financial needs. NYU is deeply committed to ensuring access to all deserving students. However, our commitment to opening doorways of opportunity to students in financial need is increasingly challenged. This is a result of a number of factors, including the size of our student body—NYU is now the largest private research university in the US, with more than 50,000 students—and our relatively small endowment, compared to our peer institutions.

This situation is especially critical for our drama therapy students: Because they are not going into high-paying careers, it is vitally important that they do not graduate with a crushing debt burden. Financial challenges also make it difficult for us to attract a more diverse range of students—in particular, young people from low-income and/or under-represented communities, both in the US and internationally. With increased scholarship assistance, we will be able to attract and aid students from these communities to gain exceptional skills and deliver caring, compassionate, and effective drama therapy-based treatment. Scholarship assistance is key to our ability to fulfill this commitment.

Funding Opportunity

The impact of Dr. Landy and therapists he has trained is immeasurable. Through drama therapy, countless numbers of adults and children in the US and across the globe have found their voice, overcome their fears, and gained the strength to repair their lives. There can be no finer tribute to this pioneering healer than to ensure that the best and the brightest continue to come to NYU Steinhardt to learn the methods and techniques of this growing profession. With significant financial support, we can accomplish this goal. Please contribute to the Robert J. Landy Scholarship fund.