As an executive coach who uses a performance-based improvisational methodology I play a lot with my clients. After I finished a coaching session today it hit me that I had asked my client to join me in a “playground for becoming”. I learned this concept from Christine LaCerva, the Director of The Social Therapy Group here in New York. Christine recently referred to social therapy as a playground for becoming — a place where clients are encouraged to perform ahead of themselves and create new performances, new responses and a new emotionality.
This client and I have been playing some basic “yes and” improv games; in today’s session we created basic improvisational scenes together. After we warmed up I suggested that we try an exercise I teach to beginners in my improv class — I set up a situation whereby we would be likely to argue with the rule that we cannot argue. The game was to find ways to say “yes and” and cooperate with each other without fighting.
In this instance I set up that we were co-workers and one of us got the promotion the other wanted. I decided to do this exercise because my client was insistent that there were only one or two possible ways to respond to a particular business situation – to be reactive or to disengage.
What we created together was possibility – going beyond what we know how to do. The discovery? We don’t always have to be who we are (i.e., respond based on how we feel). As human beings we can also be who we are not; we can say “yes and” and give of ourselves in positive ways. We explored the possiblity of being direct and powerful in the moments that we feel reactive. That’s what it means to be who we are becoming – to create and discover new possibilities.
Perhaps most importantly, we can play together. We sat in the sandbox learning together in our playground for becoming. It was a lovely moment when my client felt the power of possiblity. It was intimate and growthful for both of us. We created something new together!
The next time you feel stuck, create a developmental playground and invite someone to be who they are becoming with you.
For more information about social therapy and Christine LaCerva visit the website of The Social Therapy Group: http://www.socialtherapygroup.com