SC26 – Clinical Applications of Humor in Psychotherapy: A Seriously Credible Approach
Location: Cypress B
Humor in the serious realm of psychotherapy? Integrating therapeutic humor into psychotherapy is more than simply using humor with clients. While most therapists report utilizing humor within the therapeutic relationship, few do so with conscious and purposeful intent. This presentation will explore how and why integrating humor into clinical practice can be effective as well as assist clinicians to use humor with clinical awareness.
All psychotherapy requires interventions that target feelings, behaviors, thoughts, and/or biochemistry. Each major theoretical approach targets one or more of these aspects of human process (humanistic—feelings/emotions; behavioral/reality—behaviors; cognitive/RET— thoughts; psychodynamic—thoughts and feelings; and psychopharmacology—biochemistry/physiology). Humor activates change in all four of these areas, thus making it a powerful tool for clinical intervention.
Participants will learn a model of clinical humor that provides a foundation for the use of humor in psychotherapy and discover how humor (when purposely chosen as a clinical intervention) can be used as a relationship enhancing intervention, as well as a diagnostic and treatment tool. Participants will also learn to differentiate empathic versus hostile humor and discover the core therapist qualities essential for the use of therapeutic humor. Specific examples from real cases will be presented to illustrate the core concepts.
- Describe the link between humor and feelings, behaviors, thoughts, and biochemistry.
- Express how to consciously and purposefully use humor to build the therapeutic relationship, treat, and diagnose.
- Identify the clinical benefit of humor with clients.