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Thriving Through the Arts is a free-form, collaborative art-making event that recognizes, reinforces and celebrates the causality between mental health and creative expression. Through immersive “happenings” involving drumming, drawing, dancing and more, Theatre UCF and UCF’s Counseling and Psychological Services invite you to explore the intersectionality between the arts and wellness in this immersive event for all ages.

Through drumming, dancing, photography, and other collaborative art-making projects, explore the intersectionality between the arts and wellness in this immersive event for all ages. Thrive represents a partnership between UCF’s Counseling and Psychological Services and Theatre UCF.


Christine Dassow, LMHC, NCC is a Specialist in Student Counseling at the University of Central Florida’s Counseling and Psychological Services. She earned her Master of Education in Counselor Education; Mental Health Counseling and her Specialist in Education degrees from the University of Florida. Ms. Dassow has worked with populations of children and adults in settings including restrictive and mainstream primary and secondary education as well as higher education. She has specialized training in musical therapeutic interventions, including being a Remo Health Rhythms Trained Facilitator for drumming.

Meredith Malkin, LMHC is a Specialist in Student Counseling at the University of Central Florida’s Counseling and Psychological Services. She earned her Master’s in Counselor Education; Marriage & Family therapy and her post-graduate certification in Expressive Arts Therapy from Expressive Arts Florida Institute. Ms. Malkin has worked in a variety of setting settings including: community mental health, elementary and middle school settings, and in higher education. Ms. Malkin has founded and curated the annual Healing Art Exhibition at UCF Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) for 4 years. Ms. Malkin is in the process of becoming an R.E.A.T (Registered Expressive Arts Therapist) through International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA).

Holly McDonald, MFA is an Associate Lecturer at The University of Central Florida’s School of Performing Arts, as well as a Women’s and Gender Studies Faculty Affiliate. She holds an MFA from the University of Alabama and a BFA from West Virginia University. Prior to joining the theatre faculty, Holly worked in the Washington, D.C. area and abroad as a performer, director and teaching – artist. She currently works with undergraduate, as well as graduate students and is a social justice advocate. Course development and instruction include, but are not limited to, Theatre for Social Change, Diversity in Theatre, Global Theatre, Women in Western Theatre & Queer Theatre. Ms. McDonald holds certificates from UCF’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion and has earned UCF’s Online Course Certificate. Holly was the first UCF Theatre Faculty Member to create content and instruct a completely web-based theatre course. She is an ALLY member, as well as a Secular Safe Zone participant. Ms. McDonald plans to continue her career as a teaching-artist to activate, engage and empower students in the development of their craft.

Sybil St. Claire, MFA is an Associate Lecturer in Theatre at UCF. Her work is rooted in finding the medicine in our stories, community creation/engagement, and in how we thrive. As a Theatre for Social Change practitioner, her experience runs the gamut from teaching for Semester at Sea (with ports of call in Egypt, Morocco, Greece, and Turkey) to working with disenfranchised populations in Colombia.  She is the co-creator of: interACTionZ (one of the nation’s first LGBTQ+ youth theatres for social change), UCF’s MFA in Theatre for Young Audiences (one of only six in the nation), Playback UCF, and Arts in Medicine at Shands Hospital/UF. She has been honored as a UCF Woman Making History and has won awards for Excellence in Academic Partnerships, Outstanding Research and Creativity, Professor of the Year, and Excellence in Education. She is currently creating a certificate series exploring the art and science of happiness and working with Tony award-winning Broadway Producer John PInckard to adapt one of her screenplays into a musical. Though diverse, her work shares a unifying thread, that of empowering others to live their best lives.

Drum Circle Facilitator Wolf Murphy (with special guests Flammable Babylon)

Wolf Murphy, M.A. (English), RYT and Owner of The JAMMIN! Shop, has been instructing, performing, facilitating drum circles, and storytelling with the drum for decades, and working with his wife and editor Dale for the last four years. They incorporate a wide diversity of instruments (as well as found and created ones) into performances and recordings. They have released three volumes of traditional rhythms with more percussion publications in the works! They offer vibrational energy concerts (Gong Flow Meditations) and treatments using rattles, singing bowls, bells, frame drums and gongs. Wolf is a Remo Health Rhythms Trained Facilitator; a Rhythmic Entrainment Intervention Authorized Therapy Provider; and has taught, performed, practiced Sound Healing modalities, and recorded from coast to coast. He completed Shine On Yoga’s 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training and has pioneered workshops incorporating drumming for brainwave entrainment with yogic practice.



UCF Counseling and Psychological Services

UCF School of Performing Arts – Theatre

Drum Circle Facilitator Wolf Murphy and his band Flammable Babylon


Photo by Kavita Sawh