How does a physician learn to read body language, listen with full attention, and deal with the unexpected? The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago offers medical students a four-week improvisation class called "Playing Doctor." Students gain an opportunity to look at status, to practice collaboration instead of competition, to think creatively and act, rather than freeze, in rapidly changing circumstances.
Read more about medical improv here and here.
An article in The Atlantic magazine looks at psychologists who are applying improv as part of a therapeutic practice. Key elements of improv theatre include acceptance (yes, and...), collaboration, making your partner look good, and making strong choices without knowing where they will lead. The psychologists in this article say that playing improv games together generates trust in the group and greater self-confidence. "The lack of planning and structure in improv means that performers must function without a safety net, but...if all play authentically to each other, fear of failure loses its sting—a net of support is constructed from the openness, trust, and acceptance.”
Read the article here.