S3E10. The Therapeutic Value of Improv with Margot Escott

Would you believe that improv is used in the medical world? 

Margot Escott is a clinical social worker, licensed therapist, and professional speaker who has presented workshops and seminars on the therapeutic value of humor and play for over 30 years. She has studied and performed improv and was trained by some very well-known improvisers such as Gary Schwartz and friend-of-the-show Jay Sukow. In her practice, she uses improvisational theater exercises combined with cognitive behavior education to assist people suffering from anxiety disorders, Parkinson’s, and those recovering from addictions.

Margot sees her discovery of improv as a great gift that she is able to share with others. But how is it supposed to help with serious medical conditions such as anxiety or PTSD? As Margot explains, improv is seen as the new mindfulness: it puts us in the present moment and out of our heads.

While Margot was recovering from a brain aneurysm, a friend of hers signed her up for an acting class, and immediately she saw the therapeutic value of it. After a year of taking classes, she ended up teaching improv herself. She now has an improv company called Improv 4 Wellness.

Improv is not about being funny. It was actually developed as a way to help immigrants coming into the country adapt to the culture and learn the language. People who master it can — and often are — very funny, but the core principle of improv is to get out of our heads, to stop overthinking things. It’s the unintended humor of everyday life that comes alive in improv.

Margot has started the podcast Improv Interviews, where she interviews some of the most influential people in the improv world to distill their knowledge and spread the word.

Isn’t it about time you change your mindset about improv and spend some time learning the different applications and benefits of improv? You bet it is.


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