Second City offers improv class to help those with anxiety

We’ve all heard the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.”

Now, Second City in Toronto is giving the old adage new meaning with an improv class specially designed to help those suffering from anxiety.

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Each week, a group of people spend the afternoon at the comedy theatre’s Improv for Anxiety program, learning how to react to the unexpected.

“I don’t see myself as a funny person, so I was like, ‘I don’t know if this is for me,’” said participant Maria Farace.

But she said the program is helping her overcome the “inability to do something when I really, really want to do it.”

For many of the students, the hardest part of the program is getting in the door. Each class has 18 students, but for each session, a few of them don’t show up.

Instructor Cameron Algie went to Second City 10 years ago on the advice of his therapist.

“I didn’t want to. It was scary,” he said. “The idea of improv felt like the worst option a therapist could give me.”

But after two years, Algie said he soon learned the value of being able to let loose around others.

While improv isn’t a cure for anxiety, he said, it is an effective form of therapy.

With a report from CTV Toronto’s Scott Lightfoot


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