Improvisation: Yes and Psychotherapy!

Those who engage in theater improvisation training experience a process of learning that occurs through games and exercises among other techniques. Improvisers are encouraged to offer freely, without edit, in the moment in a social environment and without regret. It seems plausible that improvisation (improv) techniques may offer a therapeutic means by which an individual can reconnect with his or her authentic inner self. Furthermore, the process of improvisation training, with similar goals and concepts of therapy, may be a tool that can be used more universally to playfully help clients reach their goals more effectively and timely. The concepts of improvisation and psychotherapy have been woven together using core elements of Adlerian Psychotherapy (Individual Psychology) and The Satir Model (Virginia Satir). Each core concept of improv training has been discussed in relation to similar elements of therapy. Additionally, the benefits of the improvisation process have been highlighted to suggest how authenticity in the clinical setting could be attained. Finally, a discussion of couple, family, and group therapy in relation to improvisation has been included. Games and techniques and their usefulness in terms of diagnosing and treating dysfunctional communication patterns was integrated into the paper.

Christine Lee Mannella
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