Category: Improv

Improv in the Third Act

“You can’t help growing older, but you don’t have to grow old.” George Burns Almost a decade ago, my family sat in the hospital waiting room, waiting to hear the outcome of the surgery I was undergoing to repair the damage caused by a sudden cerebral aneurysm. My surgeons appeared with the good and the bad news for my family. I had survived the surgery, but my surgeon warned, it…

How improv offers me relief from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

The other day I left my house with a feeling of ease and relaxation. Clearly, something must be wrong!! ​You see, I usually leave after mentally prying myself from a series of repetitive rituals such as checking the kitchen appliances, the faucets, and that the front door knob is locked (20 times). I have learned to do this discreetly, especially in front of my husband and children. Even after I…

Recovering from Control Issues and Learning to Trust the Process

“Trust the Process.”  I was frustrated when Lisa said that to me.  We were leading an improv group in a treatment setting and I was annoyed that people were not following the rules of the game.  I leaned over to Lisa and whispered, “That is not what you told them to do. They are not doing it right.”   Lisa gave me a sweet dimpled smile and said, “Trust the process.” …

Recovering from Perfectionism and Learning to Fall Forward

“Stop trying to be so perfect.”  That was the first piece of feedback I received in improv class, and it hit me deep in my soul.  I remember nodding while I replied to my teacher, “That seems like a timely piece of life advice.” Recovering from perfectionism has been a forefront theme in my life since that moment.   I believe the origins stem from an achievement focused childhood, like “perfect…

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…

I Am Somebody – An Improv Therapy Group Warm Up

It’s the first day with a new group. They may be apprehensive about being in an improv class, a recovery group session or an event they are attending . They don’t know me, and I have yet to earn their trust. I want to show them that this is going to be fun, that we’re going to laugh together.  I want the group participants to know they are going to…

Using Improv to Become a Self-Advocate

Being a self-advocate is all about speaking up for yourself so that you can live the best life you can. Improv can be utilized for self-advocacy skills by assisting in confidence and public speaking, as well as communication, on-the-spot thinking and decision-making. The University of Montana’s Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities has a toolkit that uses improv to help build self-advocacy skills in Independent Living leaders…

Articulation (Do you Know What I Mean??)

Being sufficiently articulate can greatly help you on the path of life. By being able to articulate your thoughts and feelings on any given situation, you are able to live your life to its fullest potential and have more meaningful experiences. You are also better able to understand and absorb the world around you, through the method of processing your experiences into cohesive words and phrases. Improv teaches articulation by…