109 – Improv and Creativity in the Therapy Room


Improv and Creativity in the Therapy Room

How to Show Up for Your Clients and Make Therapy Sing

With so much being thrown at us in our sessions and the world right now, we’re feeling more and more burned out and disconnected from the creative juices we need to make therapy sing. How can we remedy this? This workshop will showcase a neurobiologically informed model of therapeutic improvisation so you can really “show up” to your sessions. A combination of deeply tuned-in presence and improvisational jiu-jitsu, showing up allows us to capitalize on the changes instead of fearing or avoiding them. Using experiential exercises, clinical narratives, cutting-edge research, role-plays, and wisdom from notable artists and clinicians, you’ll explore how to become more open and effective in the face of constant change, both in your personal life and in therapy sessions.  You'll discover how to:

  • Stay present as you face and navigate the abrupt and ever-changing obstacles of each session, including those related to technology, self-disclosure, and countertransference
  • Trust and develop the use of your right-brain, in order to "play" in session, make use of your nonverbal communication, and effectively reach each individual client, even in the most challenging circumstances
  • Identify and embody the various versions of yourself, including your authoritative self, that can give each client what they need in the moment—and help you make the kinds of decisive and responsive moves that make therapy effective

Mark O’Connell, LCSW-R, is a NYC-based psychotherapist in private practice, and a trained, professional actor.  He's the author of the book The Performing Art of Therapy: Acting Insights and Techniques for Clinicians. He also writes articles about the performing art of clinical practice and teaches workshops for therapists on this subject.

Michael Alcée, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Tarrytown, NY and mental health educator at Manhattan School of Music. He's the author of the new book Therapeutic Improvisation: How to Stop Winging It and Own It as a Therapist.