Fun! Counseling is not the first thing people think of when they think of having fun. Yes counseling is a serious business and it takes some serious work if you want to change. But does that mean there’s nothing fun about counseling? No it doesn’t! I’ve had some really great laughs with my clients over the years. I’ve laughed so hard with my clients that I’ve cried! When I think back at some of my favorite clients, they’re my favorite because they had a sense of humor and we could laugh together in between the serious hard work we did. Humor and laughter are very useful and appropriate tool in counseling. Laughter reduces anxiety, tension and depression, thereby, mitigating several serious diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, in which anxiety and tension are predisposing factors. Humans life in general can be funny, life can be ironic, PUNS! Puns can be funny. Here’s a great example of a silly pun, this is actually my husband. It was hilarious at the moment he did it, but I know to others it’s just silly.
My point is a well-timed pun in counseling can be down right hilarious. Humor should be used in a culturally sensitive way especially in a counseling session. In counseling humor should not be used to exert superiority over the client, to make fun of light of any mental illness or serious symptoms. I often use myself as a source of humor because I can laugh at myself and I generally find others don’t mind laughing at me if I’m poking fun at myself. Sexual and racial jokes are never okay in counseling. Jokes about silly misunderstandings can be funny.
So if you think counseling is all serious and there can’t be periods of stress relieving laughter, well you are mistaken! You’ve either let Hollywood convince you counseling is no fun or maybe you just need to find a therapist that realizes how healing a good laugh can be!