[The Use of Humor in Psychotherapy: a View]

Sante Ment Que. 2017 Spring;42(1):425-443.
[Article in French]


The goal of this article is to expose different aspects of the use of humor in therapy. We hope that it will stimulate reflection and guide the clinician toward appropriate use of humorous interventions. Historical highlights of the topic will be presented. Then a practical definition of therapeutic humor and the main theories about humor will be reviewed. We will also discuss the probable mechanisms of action explaining the efficacy of humor in psychotherapy, as well as potential risks and benefits of its use. We will try to determine different factors influencing the patient's receptivity to humor. Subsequently, a classification of humor will be proposed, followed by a description of selected types of humor often used in therapy, with clinical cases as examples.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Psychotherapy*
  • Wit and Humor as Topic*