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Practicing in the Uncertain: Reworking Standardized Clients as Improv Theatre

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In this paper, I rework standardized client activities using improvisational methods. While standardized client approaches to teaching/learning interviewing skills have been proven to be effective in increasing students' competence, I suggest that enhancing these practices with the ideas and approaches of improvisational theatre provides opportunities for the creativity that characterizes advanced practice. Improvisational theatre's focus on spontaneity and intuition foregrounds three elements of practice. These include unconscious and emotional knowledge, the relational nature of practice, and the variability and unpredictability of the interview. Reframing standardized client activities through improvisational theory and practice offers students an explicit framework for making sense of simulations as creative, spontaneous spaces for learning.
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Keywords: Counseling Skills; Improv; Improvisational Theatre; Social Work Education; Standardized Clients

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2012

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