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The ninja therapist: Theater improvisation tools for the (daring) clinician

This article presents a new typology of improvisational concepts that can be used to widen the therapists’ perspective and interventions. Utilizing the metaphor of the therapist as a "ninja" and the importance of a spontaneous co-created encounter, this paper offers a taxonomy of improvisational tendencies (initiator/reactor, fast/slow), together with a classification of two possible relational moves: horizontal or vertical offers. This terminology can help therapists increase cooperation, creativity, flexibility and vitality in the therapeutic process. It can also aid clinicians and supervisors better understand and work through impasses and resistance. Clinical examples illustrate the taxonomy and its uses in therapy. Recommendations for practice and training are presented.

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