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Monday, April 8, 2013

Humor Can Be Effective in Psychotherapy

Humor can be effective in psychotherapy when the timing is right and when it's used in a tactful way. The therapist needs to know the client well enough to know how the client will respond to humor.  Sometimes, humor helps clients to develop a different perspective about their problem.

Humor as a Sign of Resilience
Over the years, many of my clients, as they have started to feel better, have come in with humorous stories about themselves.  Whereas in the past, the same event might have been overwhelming for them,  at that point in the therapy, they can poke fun at themselves and gain a different perspective on their situation.  It's often a sign of emotional resilience when clients can laugh at themselves in a good natured way.

Humor Can Be Effective  in Psychotherapy


Seeing a Funny Movie or Reading a Funny Book Can Be an Emotional Uplift
Clients who are anxious and depressed will often report that they feel uplifted by going to see a funny movie or reading a comical passage in a book.  Sometimes, that emotional uplift that they feel is enough to open them up to the possibility of overcoming certain obstacles that seemed too daunting before.

Sometimes, people are able to see the humorous side of an otherwise difficult situation.  Good examples of this can be found in books by David Sedaris, who is a master at poking fun at himself and finding humor in even the most dismal circumstances.

Charlie Chaplin's movies often combine pathos and humor.  An example of this would be his movie,  "Modern Times."

Charlie Chaplin's Movies Often Combine Pathos and Humor

Humor Can Be a Bonding Experience Between a Client and a Therapist
Humor can be a bonding experience between a client and a therapist.  When used appropriately, it can open up a dialog between the client and therapist that might not have been possible before.


I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist.  I work with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or send me an email: josephineolivia@aol.com


photo credit: gwilmore via photopin cc

photo credit: halcyonix via photopin cc




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