A therapist in Chicago has joined forces with Second City TV to help social anxiety sufferers by transforming fear into funny.
The 8-week course promotion reads:
Is it possible to use comedic improvisation as a viable therapeutic tool for people with social anxiety? “Yes and” Improv can also help professionals think out of the box, take risks and be more comfortable with the uncertainties of treatment. Experience the uncertainty first hand, in the only one-day workshop that requires you to be unprepared!
While there is little research in this type of phobia therapy, participants are delighted with the results.
“It was a gift to find my voice,” according to one graduate.
Another described past social anxiety group therapy sessions as “drudgery, and everyone cried all the time.” By contrast, “In improv, I found the joy of being silly.”
Therapist Pfeffer says the idea for the 8-week workshop “…stemmed from my frustration as a therapist for clients with social anxiety, who wouldn’t do their [psychotherapy] homework.
Personally, I think this concept amounts to nothing less than a brilliant new kind of immersion/exposure therapy. Instead of climbing ladders or crossing bridges in attempt to turn down the activity fear centers of the brain, workshop participants climb on stage and use the energy from an adrenaline surge to conjure creative ideas. We know learning rewires the brain, so this kind of class has the potential to be far more transformative than standard methods used to treat social anxiety.
The group, called Improv For Anxiety, is currently the only program of its kind. I hope that changes soon!
Read the full medscape article here: Improv for Anxiety: A Stand-Up Therapeutic Tool?