Improv coach and credentialed minister, Dave Ebert, discusses the life-changing benefits of improv in his life and as a ministry to others. 

Improv and Mental Health

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Improvisation is the form of comedy where you make up your lines on the fly. Having done this a few times through corporate training events, I can say with confidence there is a sense of liberation when it comes to embracing improv. It forces you to get out of your comfort zone and connect with both yourself and others.

Depression is the leading cause of disability in the world impacting roughly 264 million people of all ages (World Health Organization, 2020.) It is a topic that hits close to home for me (Jerry) having seen up-close and first-hand its lead towards suicidal ideation among family members.

The benefits of improv carry over into mental health. Studies show there is a significant improvement in one’s sense of connection and well-being. Social anxiety disorder, for example, has a prevalence in the United States around 12%, and improvisation has shown that improv and mental health are a great combination in reducing the effects of social anxiety disorder according to the Journal of Creativity and Mental Health.

The benefits of improv come from its elements of connection in group cohesiveness, play, exposure, and within the safety net of humor. Humor is known for increasing certain endorphins in our brains to make us feel happier as well.

Improv coach, minister, podcaster, and former professional wrestler, Dave Ebert, will take us through the concepts of improv therapy for his life as well as the impact it has on others today through his platform Gifts4Glory and his improv troop known as Well Versed Comedy.

dave ebert improv and mental health

About Dave Ebert

Dave is the founder of Gifts for Glory Ministries, as well as the founder of both Well Versed Comedy and PureFest. 

Dave moved to Chicago to pursue a life and career in ministry to use his gifts for God’s glory. Whether it be making people laugh during an improv show, moving the audience with a dramatic role, preaching the Word of God from the pulpit, or inspiring a crowd from the podium, Dave is right at home in front of a crowd.

His testimony about how God delivered him from depression and suicidal ideations through the benefits of improv has helped many people find healing and hope for the last 8 years.

Dave and his wife, Bobbie, have been married since 2015 and reside in the southwest Chicago suburbs with their three cats. They attend and are active in Thrive Church, Lockport, Ill. 

Resources and Links

Check out Dave’s website to learn more about improv therapy, or book him for an event, Gifts4Glory.com.

WellVersedComedy.com is where you can learn more about Dave’s improvisation troop, their events, and more.

Listen to Dave’s guest appearance on Letters From Home with Meg Glesener, another Beyond the Rut alum. 

Research Articles Related to Benefits of Improv and Comedy

Comedic Improv Therapy for the Treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder (Journal of Creativity in Mental Health)

Thera-prov: a pilot study of improv used to treat anxiety and depression (Journal of Mental Health)

Listen to these past episodes:

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Episode Credits

Guest Host: Katina Stith, host of TrueIdentity.Life podcast

Co-Host, Editing, and Production: Jerry Dugan

Music: “Oceans Apart” is our theme song composed and performed by Scott Ian Holmes

Dave Ebert on the Life-Changing Benefits of Improv and Mental Health – BtR 250

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