HUMOR & LAUGHTER
Using humor in therapy has proven vital to various clients and clinicians for its ability to calm nerves and shift perspectives, which is fundamental for therapeutic growth to occur. Many research studies have been conducted in recent years, showing overall improved brain activity and response after laughing or experiencing humor. Specifically, humor promotes a sense of empowerment, increases self-esteem, and reduces negative emotional consequences of stress, anxiety, and tension, while decreasing depression, loneliness, and anger. Moreover, you could reasonably expect refined mental functioning (alertness, creativity, and memory), improved respiration and breathing, and relaxed muscles, when you laugh.
In a therapeutic setting, humor and laughter techniques are carefully implemented and designed to assist clients in their treatment, whether they are experiencing depression, trauma symptoms, anxiety, stress, or another mental health dilemma. One should note humor and laughter exercises are not always used, as the appropriateness of levity blended with the client’s demeanor and expectations is always taken into account.
The Arkansas Board of Examiners in Counseling now recognizes a specialization in Therapeutic Humor, which can be obtained after completing three years of the Humor Academy curriculum, subsequently receiving the Certified Humor Professional credentials. The Humor Academy program includes three levels, all of which are year-long endeavors and credited by Portland State University. You may start and stop the program at any point. Many professionals from around the world are part of this Patch Adams-inspired organization, named the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor (AATH). Humor Academy classes are taught at the conference each year with monthly conference calls, assignments, and projects to follow. Members of the AATH include doctors, oncologists, nurses, therapists, scientists, artists, philanthropists, professors, and many more fascinating individuals from all walks of life.
If you're wondering more about humor & laughter, check out these humor professionals and unique individuals serving the world one laugh at a time.
DISCLAIMER: *Although Megan uses Humor and Laughter Therapy throughout her practice, she is very mindful about appropriate use and the implementation of such techniques.