Lisa Kays Psychotherapy and Improvisation

Lisa Kays Psychotherapy and Improvisation A community to discuss and learn about ways that improvisational comedy and drama can be used to enhance psychotherapy and the person of the therapist.
Because life's most treasured moments are rarely rehearsed.

A place to ask questions, pass along learning and knowledge, and foster a community devoted to the use of improvisational theater techniques as a tool for personal growth and development.

August and everything improv: The August Improv This, Improve That newsletter! - https://mailchi.mp/273cdc848216/august-...
08/26/2019
August and everything improv

August and everything improv: The August Improv This, Improve That newsletter! - https://mailchi.mp/273cdc848216/august-and-everything-improv

This time of year is bitter sweet. Long nights and summer treats are winding down, but that also means less sweating and my older one going back to school. Since I started improv almost a decade ago, I've gotten better at working with exactly what is. And there is A LOT to work with in the feeling...

Voices-The Art and Science of Psychotherapy
07/02/2018

Voices-The Art and Science of Psychotherapy

So I'm reading this and I'm like, "Wow, this really resonates with me." Then I see I wrote it. LOL. #MemoryProblems
05/22/2018

So I'm reading this and I'm like, "Wow, this really resonates with me." Then I see I wrote it. LOL. #MemoryProblems

04/21/2017
“Coming home to myself”: A qualitative analysis of therapists’ experience and interventions following training in theater improvisation skills | Potential State | Assael Romanelli

You guys, I was not totally making stuff up! THIS is why I teach Improv for Therapists! Assael Romanelli's awesome research shows it makes us better at what we do!

http://tinyurl.com/mrmy4xj

This paper presents the results of a study of 17 therapists who participated in theater improvisation training regarding the training and its effects on their c...

The very wonderful Margot Escott and I had a fun talk on Tuesday!
04/14/2017
Lisa Kays, LICSW, LCSW-C - Margot Escott, MSW, LCSW

The very wonderful Margot Escott and I had a fun talk on Tuesday!

Lisa Kays holds an MSW from Catholic University and has been practicing psychotherapy with individuals, couples and groups since 2013. She holds an LICSW in Washington, D.C. and an LCSW-C in Maryland, and has acquired additional training from the Washington School of Psychotherapy’s ISTDP First Year...

What improv has to offer in dark times: Disruption.
12/06/2016
What improv has to offer in dark times: Disruption.

What improv has to offer in dark times: Disruption.

When I got a call from Ashley Goff, one of my former improv students who also is a pastor at a local church, and a firestorm at that, asking about how to use improv to help with disrupting harassment...

11/22/2016
What improv has to offer in dark times: Yes, and...

A new series I'm working on, as if I have any idea how to be wise right now:

I attended a community meditation session on the Sunday evening following the election. It was led by Hugh Byrne, a respected and well loved mindfulness leader in the community. I had heard of him,...

Level 2 for Therapists, in their post-show victory glow. So proud of these guys! Their show included everything they've ...
11/21/2016

Level 2 for Therapists, in their post-show victory glow. So proud of these guys! Their show included everything they've worked on that matters, being patient and trusting that the fun will find you, supporting and saying yes, trusting your instincts, and being an expert on your choices as a player. I loved watching them so much!

I could not be more proud of this brave band of Level 1 Improv for Therapist students who KILLED at their showcase despi...
11/21/2016

I could not be more proud of this brave band of Level 1 Improv for Therapist students who KILLED at their showcase despite having half the numbers of a usual class and being very nervous.

Here's them before, Zen Counting in the shoot, and after, all aglow from their success!

Jessica takes such great class notes on Mondays. A+ and extra credit!
11/01/2016

Jessica takes such great class notes on Mondays. A+ and extra credit!

A beautiful post on the power of COMMITMENT by my Improv for Helpers student, Jessica Leigh Lyons!
10/25/2016
How to Generate More Magic and Perpetuate Possibility

A beautiful post on the power of COMMITMENT by my Improv for Helpers student, Jessica Leigh Lyons!

The one on the left started yammering away and raised her eyebrows at her partner in the classic, “Help me out here!” Her partner stuttered, half-turned away from us, arms wrapped around her torso, shoulders sunken. I cringed because it was awkward to watch and awkward sometimes makes me anxious.

This one goes out to my Level 2 Improv for Therapist class today!
10/07/2016
media.giphy.com

This one goes out to my Level 2 Improv for Therapist class today!

This is officially happening and there are only a few spots left! This class was inspired by a workshop done through con...
09/29/2016
Improv for Clergy!

This is officially happening and there are only a few spots left!

This class was inspired by a workshop done through connections made to some wonderful improvisers in my classes over the past few years who have also been members of the clergy (Ashley Goff, Casey Wait FitzGerald, and Barbara Heck).

This 8-week introductory improv class will be tailored specifically to clergy in our community who want to bring spontaneity, collaboration and a spirit of Yes, and! to their congregations and the communities they serve.

The class starts next Wednesday and clergy of different faiths are welcome to participate! Feel free to contact me with any questions about if this class is right for you.

This eight-week* introductory level improv course (absolutely no improv, drama or comedy experience or training required!) will provide a space for members of the clergy to explore how the tools of improvisation can positively impact their work with their congregations and the broader community. The...

09/19/2016

And another student sent out this lovely quote:

"The purest form of listening is to listen without memory or desire."--Psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion

Thanks to one of my Improv Therapist students for the tip-off about this guy, who I'm interested in learning more about....
09/19/2016
Wilfred Bion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thanks to one of my Improv Therapist students for the tip-off about this guy, who I'm interested in learning more about. He came up in class due to his emphasis on "starting every session 'without memory, desire or understanding.'"

Sound anything like the beginning of an improv scene and/or when you have to let go of your "thing" in order to go to a totally different place because of what your scene partner unexpectedly said/did?

Wilfred Ruprecht Bion DSO (/biːˈɒn/; 8 September 1897 – 8 November 1979) was an influential British psychoanalyst, who became president of the British Psychoanalytical Society from 1962 to 1965.[1]

09/13/2016
Yes, and-ing recovery from addiction.

I had such a blast doing some improv with people in recovery at Kolmac Clinic this weekend! Here are some highlights!

This past weekend I had the pleasure of returning to Washington, D.C.’s Kolmac Clinic, where I was a clinician previously, to lead a one-hour improv workshop for a mix of current and former patients...

This is such a powerful message, and one that I think links inherently to improv, beyond the obvious ties to listening a...
09/09/2016
Own, Apologize, Repair: Coming Back to Integrity

This is such a powerful message, and one that I think links inherently to improv, beyond the obvious ties to listening and accepting (Yes, and-ing) your scene partner's reality.

I feel like a portion of this mirrors that point in scenes where I often coach, having been trained by Dave Johnson to do so, "Hey, wait, did you hear what s/he just said? Stop. Pause. Heart that. Take that in. React to it."

So often, the person playing across this person (we'll call them Player B) has just said something vulnerable or made a confession about the relationship to Player A.

Player A has missed it.

Or is arguing with it.

Or has met the confession with a confession of their own, "You love me!?! Well, I'm cheating on you!" or "Well, I'm in love with your sister!"

Classic beginner improv stuff. Classic relationship problem stuff.

In couples therapy 101, we call this "not fighting fairly."

As an improv coach/teacher or therapist, whichever role I'm in, my task is to redirect this, to say, "No, go back, really respond to what s/he is saying. How does it impact you once you take it in and accept it as truth (Yes, and...)"

Player A: "I love you."

Player B: "Wow, hearing that makes me feel like a jerk, because I don't love you back. I'm sorry. I wonder how I mislead you into thinking that's where we were."

This is now a very different scene than, "You love me? Well, ha! I'm secretly an alien from Jupiter and I'm returning home tomorrow night."

This line, while perhaps more interesting (interpersonally, read as "distracting") is basically defensive and probably is a mask for the vulnerable underpinning of having to reject someone and hurt them and apologize for it.

Would we rather travel to Jupiter than have this latter conversation?

You bet. (Read as "anxiety.")

But that doesn't mean we should.

We need to cut to the chase, instead. To address our own authenticity and integrity in response to others. And to apologize for it when it hurts.

Then we're in a scene (or in life, a relationship) with some juice and some integrity that we can build from.

Many thanks to Stacy Hayashi for posting this so I could see and share it!

There is a variation on ‘Not All Men.’ It is called ‘I Feel Bad When You Say That.’ My godson Kyle is six. He is fairly emotionally perceptive for his age, as his grownups have been working with hi…

Yes, yes, and yes. I've been making a tough decision over the last few weeks, and much of it has come down to many of th...
09/08/2016
20 Brutal Truths About Life No One Wants to Admit

Yes, yes, and yes.

I've been making a tough decision over the last few weeks, and much of it has come down to many of these principles, so it was nice to come across this this morning.

Life is short: focus on relationships, listen to your feelings, stop worrying about pleasing people over your own integrity and well-being, put happiness over outcome and things, and value your time.

And scene.

Time is your most valuable asset--you need to prioritize how you spend it.

RESOURCE ALERT! You guys, Kate Symes is brilliant. I should take all the credit since she was my TA a thousand years ago...
08/23/2016
Kate Symes: Yoga & Improv Coaching

RESOURCE ALERT! You guys, Kate Symes is brilliant. I should take all the credit since she was my TA a thousand years ago, but given that she's now my coach (a more appropriate status position for our improv skills dynamic), I'm going to let that go and just say that she was born a brilliant improviser and has a lot to offer us all in terms of improv and wisdom about well-being. I cannot recommend her classes, coaching, etc. more wholeheartedly.

Yoga Teacher + Improv Coach

08/18/2016
Finding flow between leading and following

Reflections on a lovely morning leading a group of clergy in some improv play and work, at the same time!

I had such a moving morning “teaching” improv to a group of clergy this morning, that I want to write about it as I think that the process I experienced as the “leader” may be instructive for others...

07/25/2016
Business Insider

I absolutely love this! Very inspired parenting decision and way to reframe "failure" or even purpose. It's not about outcome, it's about process!

Learning to celebrate failure at a young age led to this billionaire's success.

I had a great talk with Podcaster Extraordinaire Gracy Obuchowicz about improv, life, love, yoga, etc. I hope you enjoy ...
07/20/2016
Embracing an Improved Frame of Mind with Lisa Kays, MSW

I had a great talk with Podcaster Extraordinaire Gracy Obuchowicz about improv, life, love, yoga, etc. I hope you enjoy it, too!

As a bonus, it features mentions of some of my improv mentors and teachers from the Washington Improv Theater community, like Pete Bergen, Stephanie Anderson, Mikael Johnson, and Topher Bellavia. There, now I'm not talking about them behind their backs.

Enjoy!

I SO enjoyed being interviewed by Gracy Obuchowicz, a graduate of my Improv for Mental Health Professionals class, about...
07/19/2016
home

I SO enjoyed being interviewed by Gracy Obuchowicz, a graduate of my Improv for Mental Health Professionals class, about improv, life, play, and more for her podcast "Self Care with Gracy."

This is totally a teaser, as the episode isn't ready yet.

But this way you can get all ready by downloading it on your pod-reader thingy, which you might want to do anyway, because Gracy is wise and awesome and we can all stand to learn from her. STAY TUNED.

LEARN TO:Change your habits with inspiration and supportSet real boundaries and find authentic work/life balanceReconnect with your most beautiful and powerful self

07/12/2016
Putting improv to work at the Carroll County Youth Service Bureau

LOVED hearing about how Gary Honeman is applying some of what he learned at my Psychotherapy Networker training to his work at the Carroll County Youth Services Bureau. So inspiring! (And informative...there are some great references and resources within, as well as specific exercises he's finding useful!)

I was lucky enough to have Gary Honeman participate in my 6-hour Psychotherapy Networker training on improv for therapists this past Spring. Not only was he a great participant and terrific to have in...

Kate Symes had my troupe, Neighbors, sing and dance together yesterday, and after we all looked ridiculous, she explaine...
07/11/2016
Singing Changes Your Brain | TIME.com

Kate Symes had my troupe, Neighbors, sing and dance together yesterday, and after we all looked ridiculous, she explained why. Who knew? So play some more Musical Hot Spot...it's good for you!

Group singing has been scientifically proven to lower stress, relieve anxiety, and elevate endorphins

I'm loving how Second City is innovating by implementing improv classes for specific audiences and using it as a tool fo...
07/10/2016
The New Face of Second City

I'm loving how Second City is innovating by implementing improv classes for specific audiences and using it as a tool for personal growth. There's so much to learn from their experience and success!

The Second City, the Chicago improv troupe, is getting a boost by providing classes for veterans, seniors and cancer patients.

07/08/2016
Level 2 - Foundations of Scenework - Special Section for Helping Professionals

Hi all! Exciting news! By popular demand, I'll be offering a Level 2 improv course especially for mental health professionals this coming fall! If you've completed Level 1 for Mental Health Professionals, you may register anytime!

Additionally, if you are or know any other clinicians who have completed the regular Level 1 course at WIT, you're also welcome to take Level 2 for Mental Health Professionals.

Please ensure you have completed the prerequisite for this class: Level 1 - Foundations of Improv - Special Section for Helping Professionals. If not, please email [email protected]. You can also check out our class policies page for answers to most questions. Due to improv's ability to help individ...

Hi all! I'm psyched to report that this training is almost at capacity. We have these spots remaining, so if you plan to...
06/27/2016
Rehearsals for Growth in D.C.!

Hi all! I'm psyched to report that this training is almost at capacity. We have these spots remaining, so if you plan to register, do it soon!

Two-day spots: 1
Friday one-day spots: 1
Saturday one-day spots: 5

As some of you know, I traveled to Boston and completed the first level of the Rehearsals for Growth training and loved it so much that I wanted to make it more easily accessible to my colleagues in D.C. I hope you'll consider joining us! Rehearsals for Growth (RfG) is a novel method of psychotherap...

My former student, Rosemary Moulton, reflects on her experience in my improv class for therapists and how improv helps h...
06/17/2016
Freedsters In The Wild: Rosemary Moulton | Freed Bodyworks

My former student, Rosemary Moulton, reflects on her experience in my improv class for therapists and how improv helps her be more present with clients. Some great clinical wisdom here!

Some Of The Things We Do When We're Not Here... What is the essence of a great therapeutic relationship with your psychotherapist? Is it all about where they ...

UPDATE: The D.C. Rehearsals for Growth training with Dr. Daniel Wiener will be held in the sunny, beautiful Sandstone Ro...
06/16/2016
Rehearsals for Growth in D.C.!

UPDATE: The D.C. Rehearsals for Growth training with Dr. Daniel Wiener will be held in the sunny, beautiful Sandstone Room at the Viva Center at Connecticut and Q NW (in The Anchorage Building), conveniently located to the Red Line, 42 and L2 busses, Capitol Bikeshare, restaurants, and hotels. If you haven't registered yet, join us for one day or both!

As some of you know, I traveled to Boston and completed the first level of the Rehearsals for Growth training and loved it so much that I wanted to make it more easily accessible to my colleagues in D.C. I hope you'll consider joining us! Rehearsals for Growth (RfG) is a novel method of psychotherap...

06/16/2016

Had a ton of fun co-leading an improv training for the DC EAP network with Laurie Emmer-Martin this morning! Now that's an insightful group with amazing instincts for Yes, and!

06/07/2016
Keegan-Michael Key Has the Perfect Metaphor for Improv

Love this metaphor for improv by Keegan-Michael Key. Wondering how might this also be true for therapy? How is our work like backing up, instead of going forward? If at all. I might not be onto anything here.

Key & Peele's Keegan-Michael Key describes how to establish and delight with an improvisation. If you liked this video, there's a lot more where it came from...

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