Center for Arts in Medicine

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Looking Back: Improvisation for Mental Health

In the Summer of 2017, the Center for Arts in Medicine invited world-renowned theatre group, Chicago’s Second City, facilitated a special two-day training in using improvisation techniques to address mental health conditions. Led by a licensed therapist trained in improvisation, this course engaged mental health clinicians, educators, and theatre facilitators in exercises that highlighted improvisation skills that translate into creating a supportive, creative, open-minded approach to therapy.  


  • Discover and explore Second City's approach to improvisation for anxiety and related conditions
  • Experience improv exercises that can be used with clients in both individual and group settings 
  • Practice exercises with fellow clinicians and facilitators
  • Apply the concepts of improvisation in clinical work
  • Develop new partnerships with alternative options for providing support

This workshop focuses on

  • patience
  • non-judgment
  • active listening
  • self-awareness
  • collaboration with clients
  • adapting in the moment

For the past five years, Second City has offered Improv for Anxiety, a class that mixes improvisation and CBT inspired group therapy to assist participants in understanding and managing issues related to social anxiety. Mental health professionals have found that improvisation is an effective tool for breaking the cycle of avoidance and creating a safe space for clients to come face to face with anxiety.

Program Details:

  • This is a past program, more details on the next session are yet to be determined.
  • Program Dates: This event took place July 14th, 2017 1:00pm - 9:00pm and July 15th, 2017 10:00am - 5:00pm
  • Program Fees: The two-day Improvisation for Mental Health training program registration fee was $250. If you were attending the 2017 Arts in Medicine Summer Intensive, you were able to attend the Improv for Mental Health training program for an add-on fee of $100. Alumni of the Arts in Medicine Summer Intensive will receive a $200 discount on registration.

For more information, contact the Center for Arts in Medicine at or 352.733.0880

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