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In The New Year, Tell A New Story - Applied Improvisation Will Give You The Tools

Telling a new story about ourselves, according to research published in the journal Clinical
by Jude Treder-Wolff, LCSW, CGP, MT
Psychological Science 
has powerful impact on health, well-being and the ability to put in the effort to make a dream become reality. This study showed a significant physical and psychological shift in adolescents after a single well-desiged experience demonstrating the concept that people can change. Read more about this in"The Mindset All Successful People Have In Common" on

The "growth mindset" is about a combination of skills and concepts that increases the capacity to learn and change, and evidence shows that it can cultivated through creative experiences. Researcher Carol Dweck, Phd, author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success reviews the best and worst outcomes of the implementation of programs based on her work in this commentary written for Education Week magazineShe examines important points and pitfalls of putting this research into action in the class or consulting room.

There is no better way to explore this concept of mindset than to embark on a process of change for ourselves, to select experiences that take us out of our comfort zone, but not so far that they trigger a full-blown stress response that shuts down the capacity to reason and to learn. The key is to be challenged enough to be thoroughly attentive and engaged enough to tolerate the tension between action and what happens next - which is why games and improvisation are such effective strategies for entering into this mindset. Applied Improvisation provides this essential combination of fun and the fascination with important learning and change goals. 

Applied Improvisation is uniquely effective for shifting mindsets, because the games and exercises activate creativity while forging bonds among the people involved. Creativity is the energy of change and the psychological power of curiosity, innovation and exploration, all of which achieve a shift into the growth mindset, and social connection that produces a sense of belonging is essential to sustaining it. In the process of improvisation, just as in any creative process or in the process of trying something new, there are mistakes. Lots of them. We get confused. We stumble. Because improvisation is rewiring our brain, training us to think in new ways that make us more adaptive, agile and attentive to the possibilities of the moment. So in 2016, make lots of mistakes. Happy improvising and may you find new narratives about yourself that sustain and empower you.

Jude Treder-Wolff, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Group Psychotherapist and Music Therapist with an active training practice and consulting company - Lifestage, Inc. based in Smithtown, NY. She is host and creator of (mostly) TRUE THINGS, a monthly storytelling show that features true stories - with a twist - in Port Jefferson, NY. 


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