Improv for Emotional Resilience: Healing Through Humour + Safe Space
Why Improv can be a form of Therapy:
Improvisational activities - commonly known as "Improv" - extends far beyond the theatre room.
Because the art form is accessible to everyone and has comedic roots, it’s been increasingly recognised for its therapeutic benefits.
Playing improv games can help anyone who is struggling with stress, anxiety, or challenging life circumstances.
If you simply need more laughter in your life, this is the place to be!
What is the Summer Hill Safe Space?:
- Drop-in non-clinical safe space open to anyone struggling with chronic loneliness or suicidality.
If you're after Emotional Resilience-strengthening tools, here's how Improv can help:
- By chasing the fun whilst playing unpredictable scenarios, you realise that tragedy is also comedy – the only difference is your reaction to the event.
- You may walk away thinking, “If I can do someone difficult within these walls, I am capable of doing difficult things outside of these walls.”
The anxiety-relieving chemical releases you can experience from Improv include:
- Oxytocin (aka The Social Bonding Hormone) - eye contact and collaborative activities can stimulate oxytocin release.
- Dopamine (aka the Reward Hormone) – triggered through laughter.
- Endorphins (aka natural Painkillers & Mood Elevators) – triggered through fun and excitement.
- Serotonin (aka the Feel-Good Hormone) - triggered through enhanced focus and feeling calm.
- Get out of your head and into the moment
Instead of asking ‘What’s in it for me?’ we focus on, “How can I help someone else?” and this becomes incredibly rewarding.
- Improv can gift you with self-reflection. It helps you see how you react to stressful situations so you can strategically shift your emotions and choose again.
In case you need more convincing, below is a list of the key research papers on how Improv is a form of therapy.*
So let’s play some Improv games, enjoy the moment, have fun, and have a laugh! 😆
And hopefully, you’ll walk away with tools to help you manage difficult situations with a touch of humour.
- Porges, S. W., & Kolacz, J. (2017). Improvisational Theater Classes for the Treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 6(2), 207-213. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcbs.2017.05.003
- Erkkilä, J., Punkanen, M., Fachner, J., Ala-Ruona, E., Pöntiö, I., Tervaniemi, M., ... & Gold, C. (2011). The Effect of Improvisational Music Therapy on the Treatment of Depression: Protocol for a Randomised Controlled Trial. BMC Psychiatry, 11(1), 71. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-244X-11-71
- Johnson, D. R., & Emunah, R. (2016). Improvisational Techniques in Psychotherapy: Effects on Anxiety and Resilience. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 50, 32-40. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aip.2016.03.004
- Cohen, G. D., Perlstein, S., Chapline, J., Kelly, J., Firth, K. M., & Simmens, S. (2019). The Role of Improvisational Art in Reducing Loneliness Among Older Adults. Journal of Aging Studies, 49, 16-24. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaging.2019.100815
- Koch, S. C., & Fischman, D. (2011). Improvisational Dance as a Mental Health Intervention. Frontiers in Psychology, 2, 109. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00109
- Lewis, A., & Lovatt, P. (2013). Improvisational Theater and Mental Well-being: A Review. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 7(3), 284-288. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0034497
Please note that the "Improv for Emotional Resilience: Healing Through Humour" event is intended for educational and recreational purposes only.
It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
The class aims to provide a safe and supportive environment for individuals to explore improvisational activities and their potential benefits for emotional well-being. However, it is not designed to address severe mental health conditions or provide clinical therapeutic interventions.
If you are experiencing chronic loneliness, suicidality, or any other severe mental health issues, it is crucial to consult with qualified healthcare professionals for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment options tailored to your needs.
Participation in this class is voluntary and at your own risk. The facilitators, organisers, and the Little Big House are not responsible for any adverse effects that may arise from your participation.
By attending this class, you acknowledge that you are at or over the age of 18, and have read and understood this disclaimer and agree to its terms.