Many addicts or recovering addicts simply don’t have an outlet.
While not a substitute for therapy, some psychologists believe improv can be an
effective complement, in part because of the way it mirrors the patient/therapist
dynamic. In 2013, Gordon Bermant, a psychology professor at the University of
Pennsylvania, published a paper in the journal Frontiers in Psychology that outlined
the similarities between improv and applied psychology, or the use of psychological
research to solve real-world problems. “Both improv and applied psychology
practices aim to increase personal awareness, interpersonal attentiveness, and
trust,” he wrote.
Using this theory of complementing those in recovery, who are possibly in therapy, or need
an outlet in general, improv and acting exercises can help those in recovery express
themselves in an awesome way. Improvisational comedy allows people to gain confidence
and communicate in more expressive ways. “Over time, Improv can help you acquire skills
such as being spontaneous, trusting others, and listening that can transform your life after
recovery.” According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Social Anxiety
disorders affect 15 million Americans. People with social anxiety often try to overcome their
social anxiety through unhealthy habits like using drugs which can lead to a drug addiction. Improv has been studied to treat social anxiety. Researchers have seen a positive
correlation between Improvisation and decreasing social anxiety.”
While addicts once used drugs to feel happier and relax, or free themselves from depression and anxiety, Improv Comedy has now been proven to help with coping with those moments and disorders. Improv helps you feel less vulnerable and open up more in regular therapy sessions, as well. Addicts can start to feel more without the aid of substance abuse and be themselves without fear of anxiety, depression or being outcast by others.
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