Do you know about Act Resilient? I find the program described in an Act Resilient (AR) video fascinating, compelling, well organized, and laced with supportive statistics and theoretical hypotheses. I suggest that you watch it now, then come back and read the rest of this blog.
Act Resilient is a play/fun-based therapeutic intervention. Genie Joseph is the creator. She tells of having hit upon the idea almost accidentally, then building it, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Metaphysical Science. By the way, music therapy and art therapy arose from accidental discoveries, too.
Working through 27 principles that Joseph enumerates, AR asks participants to consider the possibility that they have a souls, and that the soul can be used for healing. In the process, she says, AR has had a positive impact on 3,000 military personnel and their families. She claims that AR has had a salutary, perhaps curative, effect on one of the thorniest treatment challenges facing this population, PTSD.
I must say that the data I have so far is sketchy and I want to study it further. However, given what I know about the advent and application of these ‘laughter/play-based therapies, for which I am using the tongue-in-cheek umbrella term “funny therapies”, over the past 2+ decades, AR has some face validity for me, i.e. I believe AR can possible do what it purports to do for some people, but I want more information about how AR is structured, presented and evaluated; how data about results is collected.
AR represents the evolution of a number of ‘funny therapies’ and their mutations, which now seem to be spawning at breakneck speed. I have heard that Hollywood got a huge boost during the Great Depression because comedy movies were tremendously popular. Perhaps, people in a world that is in ever greater turmoil and tension find this type of program more attractive than traditional talking therapies or medications. Perhaps what we are seeing is the blossoming of bouquet of methods beautifully based –or loosely based- in play.
Key questions remain about structure and format of the program, how outcomes are measured, who has the skills to deliver this program, and whether it can be replicated in order to reach the vast military population in need and beyond.
I applaud Joseph. She has devoted untold time and energy to volunteer work with thousands of military personnel, veterans and families; a population that is of great interest to World Laughter Tour (WLT). She has done this rather quietly compared the noisy excitement of professional associations, practitioners, that one finds on social media and in groups with similar interests.
AR represents an advancement and further substantiation of long-accepted professional Activity and Recreation Therapies. We can trace how far we’ve come from ancient Tibetan laughter practices, Court Jesters, clowns, and one of our deepest taproots, Norman Cousins, supposedly laughing himself well; from the traditional single mode approach (art, music) to a modern, evidence-based, interdisciplinary, multi-modal, metaphysical(?) program. AR is not likely to replace existing programs, but might find a place on the full-service menu of options for healing and well-being. Because there is no one-size-fits-all therapy, it makes sense as being additive to funny and other non-traditional therapies.
I will be exploring this further with Joseph and keeping you posted.
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