Life Unscripted (Paperback)

Using Improv Principles to Get Unstuck, Boost Confidence, and Transform Your Life

By Jeff Katzman, Dan O'Connor

North Atlantic Books, 9781623172701, 256pp.

Publication Date: September 11, 2018

List Price: 16.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

Learn to collaborate with others, think on your feet, and celebrate mistakes using the skills of improv theater

So many of us go through life following scripts we didn’t write for ourselves—scripts designed by our family, shaped by our friends, and influenced by the expectations of the people we meet. Using practical self-help skills rooted in improv principles and depth psychology, we can live more authentic, fulfilled, and empowered lives.


About the Author

JEFF KATZMAN, MD, is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. He studied at Stanford University where he received his BA, UC San Diego for medical school, and then UCLA for his psychiatry residency. Before this, he ran Behavioral Health Care at the New Mexico VA Medical Center specializing in treating veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He is currently the Chair of the Education Committee of the American Association of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry (AAPDP). He lectures regularly at approximately four national psychiatric conferences a year on the topics of psychodynamic psychotherapy, attachment, applied improvisation, and educational techniques. DAN O'CONNOR is a multi-faceted actor, improviser, writer, and director. Dan is the founder and producing artistic director of the critically acclaimed Impro Theatre. He is a co-founder of BATS Improv in San Francisco and LA Theatresports. Dan is one of the world's most foremost innovators in the world of unscripted theatre. He is the on the advisory board of the International Theatresports Institute which includes over 300 theatre companies and festivals globally and is an officially recommended ITI teacher and performer and a member of the Applied Improvisation Network.


Praise For Life Unscripted: Using Improv Principles to Get Unstuck, Boost Confidence, and Transform Your Life

“Dan O’Connor and Jeff Katzman bring a fresh take on self-help. Life Unscripted details how the magic of an improv class can open doors and change lives without years of talk therapy.… This is a book for all of us facing an increasingly unstable world. Learn why improv is the most delightful way to ‘get over yourself’ and ‘create a life of meaning.’”
 —Patricia Ryan Madson, Stanford professor emerita and author of Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up
 
Life Unscripted is simply wonderful. Jeff Katzman and Dan O’Connor give the reader a simple, clear explanation of the development of our sense of self.… Life Unscripted is apt to be invaluable to mental health professionals and will be inspirational to all.” 
—Robin Kissell, MD, training and supervising psychoanalyst at the New Center for Psychoanalysis and associate clinical professor at the UCLA Semel Institute
 
“Most of us think, wrongly, that our brains are plug-and-play devices. But the irony is that a healthy brain is continuously built and sculpted by making mistakes, adapting, and interacting with our complex worlds. Life Unscripted makes a compelling case that even the most skeptical among us can use principles of improv to enrich our lives and have fun along the way, rediscovering the importance of play in our brain health.” 
—Bill Shuttleworth, PhD, director of the Brain and Behavioral Health Institute at the University of New Mexico
 
Life Unscripted teaches essential life lessons learned from years of improvisation that highlight the beauty of the unplanned. Through stories that reveal deep respect for the process of living a more improvised life, this book shows us how much one might miss if they only stuck to the directions printed in front of them. By weaving together elements as seemingly disparate as comedy, psychology, philosophy, and science, the authors create something remarkable: a bridge between fundamental neural mechanisms of human ingenuity and pragmatic prescriptions for living a fuller, more enjoyable, and altogether better life.”
—Charles J. Limb, MD, Francis A. Sooy Professor of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery and chief of the Division of Otology, Neurotology, and Skull Base Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco
 
“This is a lovely, wonderful book, perfectly balancing play and knowledge. If you’re looking for an approach other than the traditional serious self-help book, and you want to increase your mental health … then this might be the book for you. The chapters offer just the right amount of psychological theory to support their ideas, but the emphasis is on creating change in your life by helping you use play to be more present, more forgiving of yourself, and more pleased with your personal relationships.”
—Jay Glickman, LPCC, Gryphon Counseling
 
“[Life Unscripted offers] a wonderful tone, terrific examples, citations, and anecdotes in both professional areas, and a number of fresh takes on applied improv. This is a lovely addition to the canon.”
—Kat Koppett, author of Training to Imagine: Practical Improvisational Theatre Techniques for Trainers and Managers to Enhance Creativity, Teamwork, Leadership, and Learning

Life Unscripted invites us to ‘drive a different way to work.’ A delightful welcome through arts and science, stories real and imaginary, and both group games and solo prompts to listen, connect, and play. Life Unscripted has helped me feel more alive and connected to others.”
—Michael Huff, medical student at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine
 
“Life is indeed unscripted—we don’t know what blessings and complexities are going to land in our laps. We need to be able respond nimbly and creatively to the opportunities and challenges that come our way. In Life Unscripted, Jeff Katzman and Dan O’Connor offer us tools for living more dynamic lives through improv. The transformative power of improv invites us to demonstrate greater presence and engagement, which are essential to living more meaningful, fulfilling, and responsible lives.”
—Laura Lindenfeld, PhD, director of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science and professor in the School of Journalism at Stony Brook University
 
“In this deliciously readable and unique contribution, Katzman and O’Connor have intertwined the worlds of improvisational theater and psychotherapy. The takeaway from their volume is that too often we are held hostage by our personal ‘scripts.’ Ones which fail to provide the comfort, safety, control, and predictability we expect from them. Instead, they frequently rob us of our nascent humor, spontaneity, playfulness, and joy. The authors’ mission is to teach us how to ‘unscript’ ourselves. Chock-full of psychological insight, this book provides artful anecdotes from both psychotherapy and improvisation along with useful takeaway tips and exercises. Together they teach us to revel in, rather than recoil from, our everyday mistakes. This volume is wonderfully instructive for anyone interested in improvisational acting, in psychotherapy, and especially, if interested in both.”
—Philip A. Ringstrom, PhD, PsyD, senior training and supervising analyst at the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, and author of A Relational Psychoanalytic Approach to Couples Psychotherapy and Three Dimensional Field Theory: Dramatization and Improvisation in a Psychoanalytic Theory of Change