Cassie Manalastas crossed an ocean to study Drama Therapy at Antioch University Seattle. Upon completing her Bachelor of Science in Psychology at Ateneo de Manila University, Manalastas initially studied law at the University of the Philippines Diliman. Both her parents are practicing physicians; her mother is an OBGYN and her father is a general surgeon. Although her parents urged her to become a physician, she opted to try law at the graduate level instead before ultimately deciding to follow her passion for theater.
After working full-time as a freelance director, writer, and performer for some time, theatrical work slowed down enough that Manalastas had time to teach Developmental Drama to children in preschool through high school. Manalastas loved combining her background in developmental psychology with her theater career in Developmental Drama, and she soon fell in love with Drama Therapy.
Manalastas first encountered Drama Therapy at an educational workshop in Manila. The Drama Therapy directive included in the Creative Arts Therapy workshop was, in her words, “a pivotal moment for me.” She had initially considered becoming a theater educator, but as soon as she tried Drama Therapy, she started researching Drama Therapy programs. She spoke with multiple schools, including New York University, but ultimately narrowed down her search to Antioch University Seattle and the California Institute of Integral Studies.
She chose our school, and specifically our Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, saying “Antioch had the flexibility that I liked,” Manalastas says, to practice psychotherapy in addition to Drama Therapy, and that Antiochian values also contributed to her decision. “I liked the idea of being on a diverse campus and I liked the idea of advocacy.”
As a student, she says “What I love about the Drama Therapy program is the faculty support. Bobbi and Fred are really awesome, and they’re supportive of helping us achieve our individual goals.” She adds, “Antioch will teach you to grow. You have no doubt that you will grow as a person and as a clinician.”
On becoming a Seattleite, she says, “What I love about Seattle is you have almost instant access to everything, nature-wise. By that I mean mountains, beach, desert. In two hours, you can drive anywhere. And also, I love the weather!”