Improv Therapy Group Blog

Neural Substrates of Spontaneous Musical Performance: An fMRI Study of Jazz Improvisation – A Study by Charles Limb and Allen Braun

Charles Limb and Allen Braun used fMRI (Functional MRI) to study the parts of the brains activated during spontaneous musical performance or improvisation.  This study showed that there is a ” distributed neural pattern may provide a cognitive context that enables the emergence of spontaneous creative activity.” We find this very interesting as it applies also to improvisation in endeavors other than musical improvisation, such as comedic improvisation and the day-to-day…

IMPROV INTERVIEW PODCAST just released from Margot Escott, LCSW featuring our very own Lisa Bany and Angela Nino.

IMPROV INTERVIEW PODCAST just released from Margot Escott, LCSW featuring our very own Lisa Bany and Angela Nino. Here is the intro from Margot Escott: “Lisa Bany and Angela Nino, are trained Improv directors, performers and creative professionals who teach and facilitate the use of applied Improvisation in the improvement of mental health. Their organization is called Improv Therapy Group and I am proud to have recently been added to…

Characters Building Character

Comedic Improvisers are known for their ability to create absurd and wacky characters, often including funny voices or strange physicalities. These performances are entertaining, as the characters might remind us of people we know, or are simply so outlandish we cannot help but laugh. In Improv Therapy, character work is a difficult skill that is often saved for more experienced groups. But encouraging patients to experiment with taking on heightened…

Radical Acceptance: What Makes Improv Therapeutic

In the past decade the field of Improv Therapy has slowly crept its way into psychological scholarship. Frontiers in Psychology and the Journal of Mental Health published articles in 2013 and 2017 respectively outlining the potential therapeutic benefits of comedic improvisation. Around the country professionals ranging from neuropsychologists to therapists to life coaches and wellness experts are incorporating improv techniques into their work. As such improv is currently being used…

“Is he allowed to do that?” – Improv gives us a rare environment where there are no wrong answers

Before an idea is a good idea or a bad idea, it is a new idea. To write a book, start a business or simply change up a go-to dinner recipe, we have to test out a new idea. But with every new idea put into action we take a risk; many businesses don’t succeed and sometimes the new ingredient we try out ruins the dish. For so many of…

Empathy and Storytelling

Improv is often explained as theater that you “make up on the fly.” Indeed, improvisational theater in a performance setting features entire stories and characters invented on the spot entirely from imagination. But improv in a therapeutic setting is deeply rooted in exploring personal stories through drama, and thus requires us to be able to share such stories. Telling personal stories in a group setting fosters empathy between the group…

Child’s Play: Life conditions us not to be silly – Improv reteaches us how

Lisa cupped her hands in the air as though she were holding a baseball. She explained to the group that she was holding an invisible ball of energy which she passed along to the people sitting around the circle. Each individual could mime an action with the invisible ball (dribbling, juggling, etc.) before passing it along. It is one of the simpler improv warm ups, but to most adults the…