Improv for Anxiety: A Stand-Up Therapeutic Tool?

Image: 'Props' Found on

Image: ‘Props’ Found on

Medscape Medical News from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) Conference 2014Kathleen Louden, April 14, 2014

“…Known as Improv for Anxiety, the joint program between The Second City and Panic/Anxiety Recovery Center on the city’s (Chicago) North Side combines improvisation and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to combat social phobia…Mark Pfeffer, LMFT, a CBT therapist and director of Panic/Anxiety Recovery Center, founded the 8-week program to help patients overcome their fear and avoidance of social situations due to what he called “exquisite sensitivity to scrutiny from others.”…Other principles of improvisation… are the following: 

Image: 'Improvisational Theater' Found on

Image: ‘Improvisational Theater’ Found on


Interesting newly developed program which integrates the use of creativity, group dynamics, imagination and humor in order to help patients overcome social anxiety. With the use of hypnotherapy we can recreate situations like the ones described as part of this program but in our imagination. A hypnotic state helps the patient find a relaxed state of mind where creativity and imagination can work freely. From this place the patient can design strategies which she/he would like to use in real life situations. The mind rehearses these situations with the desired behaviour and processes them as if they were happening in real life. This way the patient develops new resources, new tools and strategies ready to be used in real life situations. With practice and methodic mental repetition as well as real life rehearsal, the new resources end up becoming subconscious- a part of who the patient is at that moment in their life- and can be accessed without conscious effort whenever they are needed.



About Anna Pons

Certificat (CPPD), Post Graduat Certificat (PGCert) i Post Graduat Diploma (PGD) en Hipnoteràpia Clínica, London College of Clinical Hypnosis (LCCH) i Universitat de West London (UWL)
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