Training the Multiethnic Therapist in Playfulness and Spontaneity: An Autoethnographic Qualitative Study

Juli Chiyoko Hishida, Tennessee State University


The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of a multi-ethnic counseling psychology doctoral student participating in improv as form of playfulness and spontaneity training, examine how the training experiences impacted work with therapy clients, and identify cultural elements in various improv experiences. An autoethnographic qualitative research method was used to capture and report these experiences. The hard data included 45 reflexive audio journal entries and their transcriptions. A cultural analysis of the transcriptions led to four primary themes: Culture, Characteristics of the Therapist, Skills of the Therapist, and Professional Identity and Development. The findings and subsequent narrative support current theories of positive psychology, specifically as it relates to challenging emotional states of anxiety for those who are culturally diverse. Clinical and educational implications were discussed. These included adapting learning strategies and intentionally designing learning environments that provide practical and emotional resources to culturally marginalized students; appropriately responding to culturally-influenced learning styles and abilities; and ensuring racial representation by providing models from diverse backgrounds. Overall, the findings supported the use of reflexive, culturally-sensitive improv, as form of playfulness and spontaneity training for counselor education and professional development.

Subject Area

Psychology|Education|Counseling Psychology

Recommended Citation

Juli Chiyoko Hishida, "Training the Multiethnic Therapist in Playfulness and Spontaneity: An Autoethnographic Qualitative Study" (2022). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI29258382.