Tickling Your Clients Funny Bone: A Focus Group Exploration of the Effective and Ineffective Uses of Humor in a Therapy Session
University of Wisconsin--Stout. Office of Research and Sponsored Programs
MetadataShow full item record
Humor is a tool that most, if not all people, regardless of culture or place in history, use in some form or another. (Engle, 1998) According to Newman ( 1992), "There has been a paucity of research on the psychotherapeutic value of humor. Until 1970 the predominant trend in psychotherapy literature was to publish anecdotal articles which were either lacking in methodological rigor or theoretical conceptualization." Thomson ( 1990) conducted a study, randomly selecting and surveying therapists regarding their use of humor in therapy. He found four themes regarding appropriate humor: 1) the central importance of therapeutic relationship if humor is to be used effectively; 2) the degree of spontaneity in the use of humor by both the therapist and client; 3) the potential uses of humor in encouraging client change, and 4) the altered perception of self, others, and the environment derived from using appropriate humor in therapy. He also found that inappropriately used humor may create an imbalance in the therapeutic relationship, hamper effective communication, and create negative feelings about the therapist in the client. There have been several recent studies (Elerding, 1998; Engel, 1998; Rehill, 1990) that have indicated there are benefits to using humor in therapy sessions as well as cautions regarding the use of humor. To date, none of the studies reviewed has utilized a focus group approach to investigate the effective and ineffective uses of humor in a therapy session.
Goergen, L, Hajek, L, & Mitchell, K. (2003). Tickling Your Clients Funny Bone: A Focus Group Exploration of the Effective and Ineffective Uses of Humor in a Therapy Session. University of Wisconsin-Stout Journal of Student Research, 2, 21-32.