Can therapy be fun? Therapy is tough work! Some people say they feel exhausted before after a counseling session. After all, it often involves talking about feelings and life events that are very difficult. At the same time, yes, it can be fun and humorous!
Humor is an important part of my work. I’m not telling jokes or sharing funny stories. I’m one of those people who can’t tell a joke to save her life because I don’t remember them and if I do, my delivery is just sad. Instead, the best part of my work is being able to use gentle humor regarding life in general, to be irreverent (one of my favorite things) or to help bring awareness to an issue. The Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor (AATH.org) defines humor as “any intervention that promotes health and wellness by stimulating a playful discovery, expression or appreciation of the absurdity or incongruity of life’s situations.”
Can Therapy Be Fun?
I think of humor as accessible truth-telling, which provides both a relief and a different perspective. It’s as a super valuable tool, one that can strengthen our therapist/client relationship by relieving stress. You and I are different people—we have different backgrounds, experiences, family compositions, etc. Sharing a laugh is relatable. It can help break down walls!
Not only does laughter foster a fun experience, it also creates instant relaxation. Laughing, smiling actually lowers blood pressure, elevates mood, increases our energy, and encourages bonding. It can help us shift our perspectives and make some issues feel more manageable. It can also be pure of just-for-the-fun-of-it comic relief, like a funny cat video.
There is a line, of course, between genuinely therapeutic humor and using a kind of fake humor to put ourselves down or avoid our problems by distraction. If someone starts laughing while describing their own traumatic experience, I try to find the right time to gently point out how there’s something not kosher about that.
Humor as a weapon is so passive-aggressive it makes my skin crawl. We’ve all heard, “Wow. Can’t you take a joke?” Whenever you hear that, stop and consider who just said it. That person is not your friend. Sarcasm is not my favorite either, for the same reason. Don’t confuse sarcasm with a dry sense of humor. A dry sense of humor is cool, because, when well done, the listener feels clever that they got it, like having an instant “in” joke. Sarcasm on the other hand, puts the receiver totally outside the so-called joke, at their expense. Instead of a participant, they are the butt of the joke. Not cool.
Throughout history, in many cultures, where hardship was the norm, finding humor despite the pain was a healthy way to cope. Some say that laughter is what separates humans from the animals. I don’t know about that. I swear cats laugh at us humans all the time, while dogs laugh with us. Anyway, my point is, seeking therapy is a courageous step. Good therapy is not all scented candles and Oprah-esque inspiration. Tolerating the therapeutic process when it gets uncomfortable is an incredible act of bravery. Thank goodness we have laughter to make it fun, too.
Tacianna Indovina, PhD
Dr. Tacianna Indovina knew that she wanted to be a therapist since she was in high school. From that time, her love and enthusiasm for the healing power of psychotherapy hasn’t wavered. It’s a good thing for our community that Tacianna is as enthusiastic as ever for helping people when they feel overwhelmed, discouraged, and alone.
Through her authenticity, gentle directness, and sense of humor, Tacianna works with you to identify patterns of thinking and behaving that may be making it difficult for you to meet your goals. Tacianna’s easy rapport encourages, validates, challenges, and empowers!
With her down-to-earth and relatable style, Tacianna provides counseling for late adolescents, adults, and couples, to provide support to recover from interpersonal loss and trauma, overcome mood struggles, cope with anxiety, and adjust positively to life transitions. Tacianna adapts her approach to what you want and need, and aims to help you build healthier relationships with yourself and others.
Contact Dr. Tacianna to schedule your free initial consultation today!
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