Improv for Anxiety Level A

Improv for Anxiety is an innovative program that includes an ensemble-based improv class and a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) based therapy group. The program is designed to help people with mild to moderate social anxiety and/or fear of public speaking manage their symptoms and reduce avoidance behaviors in social, work/school and family settings. The program provides an interactive opportunity to learn skills derived from improv as part of recovery.  Want to talk before signing up?  Reach out to Becca Barish, head of our Wellness & Community program, at for a pre-class consultation.

Improv for Anxiety Levels A-E follow the curriculum of our beginner Improv Level A-E classes.

How do I know if the Improv for Anxiety Class is right for me?
If you answer yes to any of the following questions, Improv for Anxiety might be a good fit for you.

1. Does being nervous or uncomfortable around other people keep you from doing things you want to do?
2. Does your fear of public speaking or talking to teachers get in the way at work and/or school?
3. Is being embarrassed or looking stupid one of your worst fears?
4. Do you limit how involved you become with people because you are afraid of letting them get to know you? Do you worry that if people really knew you, they wouldn’t like you?
5. Do you find yourself turning down invitations to social events because you know you would feel uncomfortable if you went?
6. Does being the center of attention make you feel very uncomfortable and self-conscious?
7. Do you worry about looking nervous in front of other people?
8. Do you have trouble stating your opinion or asking for something you deserve because you worry about what others will think of you?

What are my options after finishing Improv for Anxiety Level A?
Upon completion of Level A, students are eligible for Improv for Anxiety Levels B-E or General Levels B-E. We also offer many other classes and workshops, including Stand Up to Anxiety, a stand-up comedy class for people wanting to work with their anxiety!

Is there a therapy group offered after Level A?
The therapy group is only offered as a built-in feature during Level A. Continuing therapy groups are occasionally offered and are open to anyone who has completed Improv for Anxiety Level A.

Will my insurance cover any of this?
The therapy group portion of the tuition fee may be eligible to be submitted to your insurance company for reimbursement at the out-of-network level.

Do I have to attend both the improv class and the therapy group?
We strongly encourage you to attend both in order to get the full experience!

Improv for Anxiety for Teens is also available.

Improv for Anxiety Level A

Improv for Anxiety Level A consists of a weekly improv class at Second City, led by a Second City Training Center instructor, as well as a weekly therapy group held at an outside location in the Ravenswood neighborhood. The therapy group is facilitated by two licensed clinicians who have experience in both improv and mental health treatment.

In the improv class, students start to learn the skills needed to create strong improvised scenes. Some of these skills include building ensemble, giving and taking focus, object work, and, one of the most crucial fundamentals of improv, the concept of “yes, and”. Improv for Anxiety Level A meets once a week for 2.5 hours over an eight week term. No prior experience in theater or improv is required.

In the therapy group, members will deepen awareness and understanding of their own anxiety and how to work with it in a way that leads to increased well-being. The therapy group consists of improv games, processing experiences, psychoeducation about anxiety, and opportunities to practice engaging with anxiety, whether it be public speaking, one-on-one interactions, or other ways one may experience anxiety, in a supportive setting at each individual’s own chosen pace.

Improv class: 2.5 hours, 8 sessions (meets Sundays 6:00-8:30pm)
Location: Second City Training Center, 230 W. North Avenue

Therapy group: 2 hours, 8 sessions (meets Tuesdays 6:30-8:30pm)
Location: 4809 N. Ravenswood Avenue

Want to talk before signing up?  Reach out to Becca Barish, head of our Wellness & Community program, at for a pre-group consultation.

Improv for Anxiety Level A