Humor as Treatment Method
Humor and laughter is a therapeutic treatment method that has been found to be one of the most powerful and healthiest methods of treatment. This is because it enables a person going through difficult times have a positive perspective about life. However, humor needs to be aimed at the situation for it to be appreciated rather than being considered as hurtful or insensitive when a person is experiencing a crisis in their life (Sultanoff, 2009). Today, most psychologists, counselors and medical practitioners are considering using humor as therapy to provide symptom relief to individuals in a crisis. Humor and laugher are crucial treatment methods because they help in reducing the natural stresses of illness while at the same time acting as a source of distraction for the patients who are in a crisis or experiencing pain.
In the case study of the 32 year old female woman who is not married, alternative treatment method such as use of humor and laughter can be effective in her life. The patient has been in a crisis for a long period which has affected her emotionally and psychologically. After losing her boyfriend as a result of drug overdose, she would not feel the sense of humor, began to feel uncomfortable with her image especially weight, had suppressed appetite, and became a drug addict. The doctors have diagnosed her with situational depression though she is currently under medication prescribed by her psychiatrist to help treat her condition.
In the above case study, it is evident that the patient is going through a crisis and alternative method of treatment can turn out helpful. The woman in the case already lacks realistic humor meaning that she cannot crack a joke because she is not hopeful about the future. In this regard, crisis humor may be perceived by her as insensitive and even hurtful, thus worsening her situation. In this case, it is important for her psychiatrist to come up with a healthful humor to help her come out of the current crisis. The psychiatrist can try humor that is aimed at oneself because this is always well received by everyone. Studies have revealed that when a person is the target of their own humor, it is easy for other people to share their humor and at the same time, may not end up feeling threatened or injured by the humor (McGuire, 1999). At the same time, the psychiatrist can also apply humor that is aimed at the current situation and which has been found to be appreciated by other people since it has a different target other than the person. These are two methods of humor that can turn out positive in the case of the woman in the study and have a higher possibility to help her recover the great depression she is currently experiencing.
Psychologically, when a person is at a crisis, they tend to integrate their crisis into their emotional being. This means that they merge their inner emotional state and the crisis they are experiencing together (McGuire, 1999). In this regard, it becomes challenging to separate their emotional self from their emotional experience during the crisis. It is, therefore, important that during the humor therapy, the psychiatrist should be able to identify this situation and come up with the right humor perspective as an alternative method of treatment.
The aim of humor should be to reinforce the perspective and make the person in crisis feel safe from the situation. Therefore, one factor that influences the way in which a person in a crisis will receive humor is when they feel distant from the situation. The greater the distance that the individual is between the crisis and themselves, the more likely that they will accept humor as a therapeutic method of treatment and not view it as insensitive (McGuire, 1999). This is the best method that the psychiatrist can use to treat the woman in the case study.
It is important that the patient in the case study relates the humor with the crisis situation. Therefore, the psychiatrist can decide to use humor that relates to her current situation of disaster that she experienced (losing her boyfriend from an overdose) to change her emotions. In this regard, her early devastating thoughts will automatically be replaced with more realistic ones to enable her have a different view of life. The humor will, therefore, tap on her emotional being though this is viewed as a complementary treatment and not a therapeutic treatment.
The psychiatrist will be tasked with helping her solve personal problems using humor and enable her develop a positive view towards life. This can also help the patient to have a view of life from a wider perspective which will help minimize their depression and have a hope for a better future. In the end, humor shall have acted as medicine to help treat the patient. As long as the patient in the case begins to have a positive view of life, it becomes easy for the psychiatrist to treat them (Sultanoff, 2009). It will also make her more positive to take her medications to help improve her addiction to drugs.
In conclusion, humor is a crucial method of treatment since it helps in minimizing the natural stresses of illness while acting as a source of distraction for the patients enabling them to forget about their crisis. However, it is important to come up with the right type of humor that resonates well with the situation that the person is experiencing for them to receive it positively.
McGuire, PA. (1999). More psychologists are finding that discrete uses of humor promote healing in their patients. Monitor Online 30(3), 1-6.
Sultanoff, SM. (2009). Levity defies gravity: Using humor in crisis situations. Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, 1, 1-3.