A Sense of Humor: Theories, Benefits, & Therapeutic Applications




Solowiej, Kathryn Lee

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This paper aims to synthesize the literature on humor theory and its therapeutic application as is related to mental health. Though humor is a universally experienced phenomenon and it widely accepted that humor is a positive adaptive response to life's difficult moments, it is seldom formally taught in psychology programs today. Benefits of humor in therapy have been widely reported; whether clients benefit is a subject of ongoing debate. The paper attempts to define humor, present a discussion of the existing theories on humor, and then analyze the research findings regarding its effect on mental health and the therapeutic use of humor. It remains a largely unexplored psychotherapeutic technique and a potentially untapped resource.

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