Friday, August 27, 2010

Laughter is healing too

I have a silly part inside of me -- and I enjoy being silly when I am leading a group. I like being able to let other people know that silliness is OK -- even healthy! I make sure that people know that laughter is permitted. It is a great and tender release, just as much as crying.

A couple years ago I presented an all-day session on laughter and fun for my trainees entitled, "Are We Having Fun Yet?" When trainees arrived, I was already wearing a silly hat. (After all, wasn't it J.L. Moreno who conducted his first public psychodrama in 1921 wearing a jester's cap?)

No outline is close at hand, but our day included:

I used a box of funny hats with people taking the hats and taking the role suggested by the hats and mixing and mingling.

A basket of colorful scarves and clothes were available for dress up.
Later, we integated these actions as part of our group:

Using nonsense languages to talk between each other about a topic.

Talking in a high voice or a low voice.

Making funny faces.

Shaking the body

Playing non-competitive games like Rain. If you haven't seen Rain or ar enot familiar with this fun non-competitive game, see:

Singing silly songs including children's songs like "Old MacDonald Had A Farm."

Playing When The  Great Wind Blows. There are many variations. Here's one: have a circle of chairs, with one less chair than the number of people. One person stands in the center of the circle and says, "The wind blows on people wearing plaid shirts." Then everyone wearing plaid shirts must get up and scurry to another chair. The last person standing says, "The wind blows on people with blue eyes." And the people with blue eyes scurry...

When I trained with Zerka Moreno, we used vignettes on "A Moment of Joy" which were acted as a monodrama or autodrama or a more traditional vignette. These were always fun to do and fun to watch. Sometimes they were humorous too -- I've changed the title sometimes to "A moment of laughter."

Just recently I've been introduced to InterPlay, a model of using play, the body, movement and silliness in a group format.

For myself, I have found that I, as a presenter and trainer, really need to be warmed up to humor. Good warm-ups need to be constructed that open the way to humor and fun for the group.

And Adam Blatner's book with Allee Blatner "The Art of Play" is inspirational and idea-full.