The best medicine? Psychotherapists’ experience of the impact of humour on the process of psychotherapy

DProf thesis


Gibson, N. 2014. The best medicine? Psychotherapists’ experience of the impact of humour on the process of psychotherapy. DProf thesis Middlesex University / New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling (NSPC) Psychology
TypeDProf thesis
TitleThe best medicine? Psychotherapists’ experience of the impact of humour on the process of psychotherapy
AuthorsGibson, N.
Abstract

The significance of humour to the process of psychotherapy has been largely eclipsed by literature focusing on the tragic aspects of a person’s life. There has been much debate about whether humour is a negative or positive phenomenon in psychotherapy. The majority of authors have drawn attention to the dangers inherent in the use of humour in what is usually a very serious enterprise. Humour as an inevitable and central existential expression has been ignored in the field of psychotherapy and is afforded very little, if any, attention in formal psychotherapy training. The study is an interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) of interviews conducted with six qualified psychotherapists on their clinical and personal experience of the impact of humour on the process of psychotherapy. It was found that humour is a necessary and fundamental relational phenomenon, inevitably present in psychotherapy and has both positive and negative clinical implications. It can reveal, challenge and shift a patient’s existential attitude in all dimensions. Used judiciously in psychotherapy, humour can bring about an existential maturity, a tragi-comic position where a creative acceptance of limitations and paradox is possible.

Department namePsychology
Institution nameMiddlesex University / New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling (NSPC)
Publication dates
Print01 May 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited01 May 2015
Completed18 Nov 2014
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
LanguageEnglish
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