Therapeutic Use of Humor Description Essay

Therapeutic Use of Humor Description Essay

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The therapeutic use of humor can be loosely defined as any activities that use the positive emotional responses associated with humor, smiling and laughter to specifically benefit one or more clients’ social, emotional, physical, cognitive or wellness domains. Using humor, therapeutically, involves establishing specific desired outcomes for a client which are facilitated by the use of humor and related techniques. Dattilo & McKenney, (2011) define the therapeutic use of humor when “specialists and others use humor in practice, they play for it to lead to specific therapeutic outcomes”. They emphasize the use of evidence based practice and a goal oriented approach as essential in using humor for therapeutic purposes. Similar to other techniques used, Therapeutic Recreation is using humor to achieve client-established goals requires a systematic approach that harnesses the medicinal benefits of the involved and evoked behaviors.

The Canadian Association of Therapeutic Clowns, which was established by 27 original members in 2005 and was the largest Canadian body of trained professionals who used clowns therapeutically; but unfortunately, it disbanded in 2012 due to lack of resources and member participation.

Overview of target groups
Various populations can benefit from the therapeutic use of humor, often it is used with either the exceptionally young or old populations, but the benefits of humor extend beyond age and gender limits. Commonly, it’s implemented in young populations with severe to mild physical or mental disabilities or with those experiencing serious and terminal illness (Saper, 1990). Humor is used as a method of coping with or coming to terms with life changing illnesses for both old an...


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...itation techniques in therapeutic recreation (2nd edition). State College, PA: Venture.

Dattilo, J. (2008). Leisure education program planning (3rd edition). State College, PA: Venture Publishing.

Dixon, J. T. (1997). Messages of written humor in therapeutic recreation service. Palaestra, 13(3), 12.

Harkins, L. (2009). Literature analysis of humor therapy research. American Journal Of Recreation Therapy, 8(4), 35-47.

Hunsey, A. (2009, June 29). Humor therapy. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/humor-therapy

Saper, B. (1990). The Therapeutic use of humor for psychiatric disturbances of adolescents and adults. Psychiatric Quarterly, 61(4), 261-272.

Scholl, J. (2007). The use of humor to promote patient-centered care. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 35(2), 156-176.

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