Thesis

Humor as an aid in psychotherapy

The purpose of this graduate project is to present and discuss the use of humor as an aid in psychotherapy. The theory on humor indicated the many different ways to interpret why and how people laugh and under what given conditions. Because humor is both simple and complex, there is no set explanation to account for the wide array of smiles and laughter that can be joyful or contemptuous, overt or secretive and deceptive. Research regarding the psychological aspects offered more possibility in terms of acknowledging individual or sociological reactions. Because laughter is intimate, humane, involuntary (similar to crying) and highly subjective, it is of profound interest to the psychologist by way of relating a projective-type “funniest story” which will reveal unconscious conflict or comedy through play therapy. The laughter is a veil that disguises unacceptable behavior and thought, when the veil is lifted not only is unconscious thought revealed but the laughter is no longer funny. Most of what we laugh at is a bittersweet mixture of our own situation. With the use of body language, expression and gestures; humor as one of our valuable senses may receive the use that it lends in understanding a client’s source of conflict. Nothing is more revealing about personality and perception as is the types of things we laugh at.

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