Empathy and Improvisation in Psychotherapy – Social Justice Solutions

Therapy can feel stuck, stymied and aimless, but fits and starts may be a necessary aspect of transformative therapeutic processes. Of course, this is because problems outside of therapy show up in the consulting room. Therapy feels stuck when the domains of choice are too restricted or rigid, when the people involved are unable or unwilling to engage in the options each party invites and attempts.


How does the process of being stuck and unstuck proceed? This depends partly on how and whether the therapist and client can engage in a co-constructed improvisational activity. Empathy is necessary since its absence may be why the therapy is stuck in the first place. Empathy is required for therapeutic improvisation.

by Wynn Schwartz Ph.D