Drag Therapy – developed by psychotherapist Leon Silvers

Leon Silvers is a psychotherapist in New York City. He is the creator of Drag Therapy, a therapeutic modality that helps individuals access and embody various parts of themselves through dressing up and the act of play.

Leon Silvers is a psychotherapist in New York City. He is the creator of Drag Therapy, a therapeutic modality that helps individuals access and embody various parts of themselves through costume and/or drag. Leon Silvers is the special guest in Drag Heals season 2 episode 2 ‘Drag Therapy’.

Leon Silvers is a psychotherapist in New York City.  He is the creator of Drag Therapy, a therapeutic modality that helps individuals access and embody various parts of themselves through dressing up and the act of play.
Leon Silvers is a psychotherapist in New York City. He is the creator of Drag Therapy, a therapeutic modality that helps individuals access and embody various parts of themselves through costume and/or drag.

Leon, who is your drag persona?  How do they highlight or reveal parts of you in bigger and more dramatic ways?

My Drag Persona is Pink Freud. Embodying this persona allows me to fully embrace parts of myself that I dont always get to experience so fully. I get to be over the top with my playfulness, courageousness and gregariousness. I dont have to hold back because playing Pink gives me permission to be as big as I would like. 

Does the idea of drag as therapeutic or being healing resonate with you? Why? 

Absolutely! That is why I created Drag Therapy. When you embody a drag persona or simply put on a costume, you’re able to access many different parts of yourself that you typically aren’t able to access. That doesn’t just have to be fierce qualities, it can be more vulnerable parts of yourself too. Being dressed in your particular persona, and you can have many,  can be an easier and gentler way to access those feelings or parts of yourself. The therapeutic power of drag doesn’t even require a full drag look. Try simply putting on a beautiful “diamond” necklace or tiara, look in the mirror, and see how you feel. It can be hard to feel sad when you’re covered in jewels. 

How important for your health and wellness is the act of playing?

It is crucial! Drag Therapy is actually a play therapy. Play is inversely correlated to depression and anxiety. Meaning, the more we are able to play, the less depressed and anxious we will be. I try to center my life around being able to play. Right now, because of Covid, my play is in the wilderness- hiking, camping, exploring. And of course bringing my drag to the wilderness and playing with costumes there. Play also helps us unlock our creativity and spontaneity which I believe are key to improving mental health. 

How can the drag community benefit from being more inclusive?

 I think it is important for the drag community to recognize that drag really is just about play and that there is no one size fits all for drag artistry. Drag can take many shapes, forms, and sizes and it’s really just about being yourself, being creative, and having fun. The drag community really is just a large sandbox where people come to play, create, connect, transform, and help others access their sense of play. 

What’s brought you the most joy working with the Drag Heals cast?

It was truly an unbelievable experience working with the cast of Drag Heals because all of the participants were so open and eager to playing and being challenged . Improv can be a challenging task and the participants were so courageous and took so many risks, despite the cameras rolling. It was also incredible to see how cohesive and connected they were as a group and it was only the second week. That really speaks to the openness of the group and also the amazing skills of Tracey, their fearless leader.

How has it been collaborating with Tracey Erin Smith to help shape the one-person shows?

Tracey is a phenomenal human! She really is an inspiring woman. She is so creative, passionate, enthusiastic, and really creates an environment that is conducive to creative and personal growth. She has been incredibly encouraging and supportive of me and my work and it is a pleasure to be able to work with her. I want to be a participant next season just so I can learn more from her!

What do you hope the TV audience gets out of watching Drag Heals? 

I hope the Drag Heals viewers learn that drag is a playful art form that is accessible to anyone and everyone. Drag doesn’t have to be dressing as a fierce queen or king; it is simply playing with costume, makeup, performance, movement, and/or whatever other creative expression you can imagine. We are all in drag every day. When we can intentionally manipulate our drag, we can access our creativity, curiosity, and sense of freedom, and let go of our inhibitions and control, and have fun!

Connect with Leon Silvers and learn more about Drag Therapy:



Watch Drag Heals Season 2 on your favourite platforms:



OUTtv Canada and OUTtvGo

DRAG HEALS season 2 premieres on Friday, October 2nd

Toronto, ON – September 2, 2020

The highly anticipated second season of the hit documentary series DRAG HEALS is set to make its premiere this October 2nd, 2020 at 8pm ET/PT on OUTtv Canada, its digital platform OUTtvGO.com and OUTtv channels on Amazon and Apple TV.

DRAG HEALS season 2 is a hybrid stage workshop and documentary TV series that follows eight drag artists over an intensive ten day workshop to build their own show. In each workshop, a guest coach joins stage director Tracey Erin Smith in exploring soul-deep story sharing techniques as well as the unique talents and skills required from a drag performer.

The guest coaches this season include Leon Silvers, who developed drag therapy into a clinical practice, professional makeup artist Kosta MUA who helps refine and elevate the performers looks, choreographer Jeff Dimitrios who brings the moves, and community mentors Flarington King, Titus Androgynous, Beardoncé and Champagna who offer sage advice from their experience working as drag artists in Canada and around the world.

Over the course of the intensive workshops and story crafting, the participants dive deep into their personal lives to unearth lessons learned and bring them back to the audience as a gift. They are both the pirate and the pirated, the island and treasure. The resulting stories are emotional and cathartic, both for the drag artists and the audience who share in the experience.

“In a time when so many of us are feeling alone, viewers see how a diverse group of strangers can come together, and by sharing their deepest stories, create a beautiful community.” said Creator and Host Tracey Erin Smith.

“Drag Heals challenges the conventions of drag dominating television and ushers in something new – an inclusive and diverse ensemble featuring drag kings, queens, things and in-betweens with the youngest cast member eighteen years old and the eldest in their eighties.” said Director Charlie David. “Instead of a competition where negativity may thrive, Drag Heals is a celebration of the uniqueness of each participant. In the series, we tackle tough discussions head-on around the language and culture used in drag and when it can be unknowingly hurtful. An example would be the common use of the term ‘fishy’ as a compliment to a drag queen but how that word may be derogatory to women as it’s assigning a negative attribute to female anatomy. There’s also a lot of Black appropriation in drag used by non-Black people. I hope the series sheds a light on some of these challenges so we as the LGBTQ community can learn and do better. In Drag Heals, the cast isn’t just performing a lip synch, they’re grabbing hold of the mic and saying something important.”

“After a successful first season, we’re thrilled to welcome Drag Heals back for a second,” said Philip Webb, Head of Originals and Development at OUTtv. “This documentary series gives drag fans an emotional insight behind the scenes of eight drag artists who are at the very start of their drag journey and explores important topics such as gender expression and queer identity. Drag Heals is moving, relatable and uplifting.”

Season Two features 11 episodes that will release weekly in addition to a companion digital series, T with T.E.S., with stage director Tracey Erin Smith that will be released on the Border2Border Entertainment YouTube Channel and OUTtvGO.

About Border2Border Entertainment

Border2Border Entertainment produces and promotes award-winning, critically acclaimed film, television and digital projects for the LGBTQ+ audience. Dedicated to making each production experience enjoyable for our artists, business and broadcast partners, co-workers, and ultimately our audience. Our ongoing relationships with TV networks, film festivals and digital platforms keep our content in demand making our home-grown Canadian content watched by millions around the globe.

About OUTtv

OUTtv is the world’s first and Canada’s only national LGBTQ+ television network and streaming services. Home to a compelling mix of inclusive, queer-focused content from comedy to drama, documentaries, reality and award-winning movies. OUTtv is dedicated to telling stories by and for the community, with a library of over 3000 hours of LGBTQ+ content including more than 600 hours of original programming, making OUTtv the world’s leading provider of queer content.

Originals include The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula, The Whole Package, Trixie Mattel: Skinny Legend, Never Apart TV, My Trans Journey and the documentary strand OutSpoken. OUTtv is the license holder for the Canadian broadcasts of Emmy award winning RuPaul’s Drag Race, House of Drag, Naked Attraction and RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. OUTtvGo is OUTtv’s streaming platform where subscribers can stream their favorite series and movies and discover new content exclusive to the service. OUTtvGo is available for iOS and Android devices, Apple TV, Roku and on web browsers. OUTtv is also available in Canada as an Amazon Prime Video Channel and an Apple TV Channel. Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @OUTtv or visit the website to learn more at outtv.ca.

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