When We Embrace the Science, Psychotherapy Becomes an Art


Interpersonal neurobiology has been revolutionary in transforming not only our client’s lives but our very identities as therapists. In this talk, we’ll focus on how it transforms our work into an artform. Using examples from music, literature, and art, we’ll showcase the unique ways therapy becomes the art of reading the changes (music), writing new revelatory turns (poetry), and supporting new dramatic and comic possibilities on the stage together (theater/film). We’ll also show the far-reaching implications for this in educating our clients and the public about how to reimagine the future of mental health together.

Michael Alcée, PhD is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Tarrytown, NY and Mental Health Educator at Manhattan School of Music. He is the author of Therapeutic Improvisation: How to Stop Winging It and Own It as a Therapist, found in Norton’s Interpersonal Neurobiology Series. He is currently working on a book called the Improvising Parent Playbook with co-author and improv comedian Clay Drinko.

Michael was the winner of the American Psychological Association’s Division 39 Schillinger Memorial Award in 2019 for the best essay on the link between psychoanalysis and jazz.

He is a regular contributor at Psychology Today where he writes about the intersection between creativity, psychotherapy, parenting, improv, pop culture, & much more. You can find his contributions at the following: NPR, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, and more.

Michael has been a TEDx speaker and TEDx organizer. He has appeared on a variety of podcasts.

He lives in Tarrytown with his wife, Meryl, and their son Aidan. You can catch him learning improv from the true source: a 5 year old trickster. The apple apparently doesn’t fall too far…