Applied Improvisation For Emotional Intelligence & Stress-Resilience - Sept. 13, 2014 workshop handout
Heraclitus, Greek Philosopher
- Social-emotional engagement between trainer/teacher and group;
- Overcoming communication barriers;
- Experience a dynamic interplay between trainer/teacher and group;
"Color" which means provide more detail and explanation about the current point; The
|Facilitator: Jude Treder-Wolff, LCSW, RMT, CGP|
- · To practice rapid response to external cues;
- · To practice staying in the scene when having to make unexpected shifts;
- · To practice creative thinking when under pressure;
the cognitive mind to flow with ideas and quiet the censoring, editing functions that interfere with creativity. It is a “process only” exercise that gives no importance to content. Arrange the participants into groups of three to five. Ask one of them to stand facing the others, who form a horseshoe in front of them. One by one the other members of the group throw out a word. The person on the “hot seat” responds to each word with the first word or phrase that comes to mind. Then he fields the next word and responds. After a few minutes, the participants switch, and a new person takes the hot seat. Variation Play in pairs shooting words back and forth; Play by yourself—flipping from word to word in your head. Facilitation Tips:
- Set up the activity as a content-less one. Assure participants that the words they say will not be analyzed.
- Coach participants to respond as quickly as possible.
- Coach participants to respond without thinking or verbalizing any mental process.
- Coach the individuals who are giving words to shout them out as quickly as possible, and to give unrelated words as much as possible, to keep the hot seat person off balance. Let the group know that their job is to provide that person with a workout, so the other individuals may think of their words ahead of time if they find that helps.
Player B: I saw it was raining so I was glad I remembered to take an umbrella to the city.
Player A: tree
Player B: But when I was in Central Park and it started to rain, my umbrella got snagged on the branch of a big tree.
Player A: inappropriate
Player B: And I cursed really loud which I knew immediately was inappropriate because there were all these kids there with their parents.
Player A: old lady
Player B: And then this old lady started yelling at me for cursing in front of the kids but she was cursing more than I did!
Player A starts telling a random story. At any time Player B may say "no" and Player B will have to change the direction of the story. Example:
Player A: It was a bright, sunny day and I had just walked out of my house
Player A: Actually I was running late so I went into the garage and drove out like a madman into the street. That’s when I noticed that I had forgotten to put my shoes on and my hair was still in a towel.
Player B: No
Player A: That’s when my neighbor began waving at me wildly. He seemed really upset.
Player B: no
Player A: He seemed really really excited to see me. I jumped out of the car and gave him the money I owed him from our poker game the night before.
And so on…
Cortex: a very rational, logical person, thinks things through, looks at things in context. Wants to respond reasonably and not over-react. Can be objective and calm when others are freaking out but can also come across as cold and disconnected.
Amygdala: emotionally intense, highly attuned to dangers of any kind and rings the alarm bells to things others might not even notice. Wants to protect everyone but has no sense of proportion.
Soma: Feels everything physically and is highly responsive to what the other characters say and do. What others notice and how they behave will impact Soma in a very direct and immediate way. Is a follower more than a leader but when he/she does take control is very forceful.
Psyche: Creative and energetic, he/she connects everyone in any way possible, looks for meaning in everything. Is able to take any interaction to a higher level by keeping everyone focused on connection and collaboration, but can be a little woo-woo for some people.
- Creative ideas are by definition novel, and novelty can trigger feelings of uncertainty that make most people uncomfortable;
- People dismiss creative ideas in favor of ideas that are purely practice - tried and true;
- Objective evidence shoring up the validity of a creative proposal does not motivate people to accept it;
- Anti-creativity bias is so subtle that people are unaware of it, which can interfere with their ability to recognize a creative idea.
A long and interesting article about the different brain functions involved with creative thinking and engagement has this important paragraph about the value of improvisation games and exercises to loosening up defenses and mental structures that interfere with creativity: "when you want to loosen your associations, allow your mind to roam free, imagine new possibilities, and silence the inner critic, it’s good to reduce activation of the Executive Attention Network (a bit, but not completely) and increase activation of the Imagination and Salience Networks. Indeed, recent research on jazz musicians and rappers engaging in creative improvisation suggests that’s precisely what is happening in the brain while in a flow state. -"The Real Neuroscience of Creative Cognition: A First Approximation" on Creativity Post
Research examining the development of creative and critical thinking in adolescents shows that creative thinking ability is associated with Internal Locus of Control, which is linked to stress-resilience, ability to take control of one's environment and shape relationships and general well-being. Read the study on this link: "The Effect of Teaching Critical and Creative Thinking Skills On The Locus Of Control and Psychological Well-Being in Adolescents" Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences Volume 83 3 July 2013: 51-56
Tim Brown, CEO of the design and innovation firm Ideo, has a great TED talk about the relationship between creative thinking and play.
Jude Treder-Wolff, LCSW, RMT, CGP is a trainer/consultant and writer/performer. She is host and creator of the (mostly) TRUE THINGS storytelling slam. Follow her on Twitter @JuTrWolff.