AbstractThe purpose of this study was to investigate several aspects of humour in cognitive therapy. Eight first therapy sessions were examined and seven examples of humour originating from the therapists or the clients are reported: three represent examples of humour initiated by the client, while four are representative of humour initiated by the therapist. This research focuses on the use of humour in psychotherapy and provides evidence that when the clients initiated humour, the therapists responded in three different ways, namely, by aligning themselves with the client, disaligning themselves, or by using a strategy comprising both alignment and disalignment. Diversely, in cases in which the therapist initiated humour, four different forms of humour were identified (i.e. rhetorical humour, humour relating to a surrealistic meaning, role shifting and humour relating to register). In these cases, the clients always laughed, thereby signaling their support. An analysis of these cases demonstrates that humour is an easily integrated therapeutic tool which may be used to favour positive changes.
Allport, G. W. (1961). Pattern and Growth in Personality. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Altman, N. (2006). ‘And now for something completely different: Humor in psychoanalysis commentary on paper by Joseph Newirth’. Psychoanalytic Dialogues 16 (5), pp. 573-577.
Attardo, S. (1994). Linguistic Theories of Humor. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Attardo, S. (1997). ‘The semantic foundations of cognitive theories of humor’. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 10 (4), pp. 395-420.
Attardo, S. (2017). ‘The General Theory of Verbal Humor’, in
Attardo, S. (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Language and Humor, London: Routledge, pp. 126-142.
Attardo, S. & Raskin, V. (1991). ‘Script theory revis(it)ed: joke similarity and joke representation model’. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 4 (3-4), pp. 293-348.
Barbosa, E., Amendoeira, M., Ferreira, T., Teixeira, A.S., Pinto-Gouveia, J. & Salgado, J. (2017). ‘Immersion and distancing across the therapeutic process: relationship to symptoms and emotional arousal’. Research in Psychotherapy: Psychopathology, Process and Outcome 20 (2), pp. 110-121.
Bennett, H.J. (2003). ‘Humor in medicine’. Southern Medical Journal – Birmingham Alabama 96 (12), pp. 1257-1261.
Bergen, B. & Binsted, K. (2003). ‘The cognitive linguistics of scalar humor’, in Achard, M. & Kemmer, S. (eds.). Language, Culture, and Mind, Stanford: CSLI Press, pp. 79-92.
Bianchi, I., Canestrari, C., Roncoroni, A.M., Burro, R., Branchini, E. & Savardi, U. (2017). ‘The effects of modulating contrast in verbal irony as a cue for giftedness’. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 30 (4), pp. 383-415.
Bordan, T. & Goldin, E. (1999). ‘The use of humor in counseling: The laughing cure’. Journal of Counseling and Development 77 (4), pp. 405-410.
Buttny, R. (2001). ‘Therapeutic humor in retelling the clients’ tellings’. Text 21 (3), pp. 303-326.
Canestrari, C. (2010). ‘Meta-communicative signals and humorous verbal interchanges: a case study’. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 23 (3), pp. 327-349.
Canestrari, C. & Bianchi, I. (2018). ‘Perceptual opposites and the modulation of contrast in irony’, Review of Cognitive Linguistics 16, pp. 48-71.
Canestrari, C., Branchini, E., Bianchi, I., Savardi, U. & Burro, R. (2018). ‘Pleasures of the mind: What makes jokes and insight problems enjoyable’. Frontiers in Psychology 8: 2297, pp. 1-21. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.02297
Canestrari, C., Dionigi, A. & Zuczkowski A. (2014), ‘Humor understanding and knowledge’, Language and Dialogue 4 (2), pp. 261-283.
Cannon, W. (1932). Wisdom of the Body. New York: Norton & Co.
Clark, H.H. & Gerrig, R.J. (1984). ‘On the pretense theory of irony’. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 113 (1), pp. 121-126.
Corey, G. (2005) ‘Gestalt theory’, in Gebo, L. & Gesicki, S.
(eds.), Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy, Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, pp. 192-223.
Dionigi, A. & Canestrari, C. (2016). ‘Clowning in health care settings: The point of view of adults’. Europe’s Journal of Psychology 12 (3), pp. 473-488.
Dionigi, A. & Canestrari, C. (2018) ‘The role of laughter in cognitive-behavioral therapy: case studies’. Discourse Studies 20 (3), pp. 323-339.
Dynel, M. (2013). ‘Irony from a neo-Gricean perspective: on untruthfulness and evaluative implicature’. Intercultural Pragmatics 10 (3), pp. 403-431.
Dziegielewski, S.F., Jacinto, G. A., Laudadio A. & Legg-Rodriguez L. (2003). ‘Humor: an essential communication tool in therapy. International Journal of Mental Health 32 (3), pp. 74-90.
Ellis, A. (1977). ‘Fun as psychotherapy’. Rational Living 12 (1), pp. 2-6.
Forabosco, G. (1994). ‘“Seriality” and appreciation of jokes’, Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 7 (4), pp. 351-375.
Freud, S. (1960). Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious. New York: Norton & Co.
Fry Jr, W.F. & Salameh, W.A. (1987). Handbook of Humor and Psychotherapy: Advances in the Clinical Use of Humor. Sarasota: Professional Resource Exchange, Inc.
Gibbs, R.W. (1986). ‘On the psycholinguistics of sarcasm’. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 115 (1), pp. 3-15.
Gibbs, R.W. (2000). ‘Irony in talk among friends’. Metaphor and Symbolic Activity 15 (1-2), pp. 5-27.
Gîfu, D. (2014). ‘Humor in the religious discourse: between paradoxism and neutrosophy’, in Smarandache, F., & Vlăduţescu, Ş. (eds.), Communication. Neutrosophic Routes, Columbus, Ohio: Education Publishing, pp. 88-104.
Grice, H.P. (1975). ‘Logic and conversation’, in Cole, P., & Morgan, H. (eds.), Syntax and Semantics, Vol. 3, Speech Acts, New York: Academic Press, pp. 41-58.
Gupta, R., Chaspari, T., Georgiou, P.G., Atkins, D.C. & Narayanan, S.S. (2014). ‘Predicting client’s inclination towards target behavior change in motivational interviewing and investigating the role of laughter’. Interspeech-2014, pp. 208-212.
Gruner, C. (2011). The Game of Humor: A Comprehensive Theory of Why We Laugh. New Brunswick NJ: Transaction Publishers.
Haakana, M. (2001). ‘Laughter as a patient’s resource: dealing with delicate aspects of medical interaction’. Text 21 (1/2), pp. 187-219.
Haakana, M. (2010). ‘Laughter and smiling: notes on co-occurrences’. Journal of Pragmatics 42 (6), pp. 1499-1512.
Hay, J. (2001). ‘The pragmatics of humor support’. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 14 (1), pp. 55-82.
Holt, E. (2010). ‘The last laugh: shared laughter and topic termination’. Journal of Pragmatics 42 (6), pp. 1513-1525.
Jacobs, S. (1986). ‘How to make an argument from example in discourse analysis’, in Ellis, D.G. & Donohue, W.A. (eds.), Contemporary Issues in Language and Discourse Processes,
Hillsdale, NY: Lawrence Erlbaum, pp. 149-167.
Jefferson, G. (1979). ‘A technique for inviting laughter and its subsequent acceptance declination’, in Psathas, G. (ed.), Everyday Language: Studies in Ethnomethodology, New York: Irvington Publishers, pp. 79-96.
Kapogianni, E. (2011). ‘Irony via “surrealism”’, in Dynel, M. (ed.), The Pragmatics of Humour across Discourse Domains, Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing, pp. 51-68.
Kapogianni, E. (2014). ‘Differences in use and function of verbal irony between real and fictional discourse: (mis) interpretation and irony blindness’. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 27 (4), pp. 597-618.
Kuhlman, T.L. (1984). Humor and Psychotherapy. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.
Lynch, O.H. (2002). ‘Humorous communication: finding a place for humor in communication research’. Communication Theory 12 (4), pp. 423-445.
Mahrer, A.R. & Gervaize, P.A. (1984). ‘An integrative review of strong laughter in psychotherapy: what it is and how it works’. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training 21 (4), pp. 510-516.
Marci, C.D., Moran, E.K. & Orr, S.P. (2004). ‘Physiologic evidence for the interpersonal role of laughter during psychotherapy’. Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease 192 (10), pp. 689-695.
Martin, R. (2007). The Psychology of Humor. An Integrative Approach. New York: Academic Press.
Meyer, J.C. (2000). ‘Humor as a double‐edged sword: four functions of humor in communication’. Communication Theory 10 (3), pp. 310-331.
Nelson, J. (2008). ‘Laugh and the world laughs with you: an attachment perspective on the meaning of laughter in psychotherapy’. Clinical Social Work Journal 36 (1), pp. 41-49.
Norrick, N.R. (2003). ‘Issues in conversational joking’. Journal of Pragmatics 35 (9), pp. 1333-1359.
Norrick, N.R. (1993). Conversational Joking: Humor in Everyday Talk. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
Norrick, N.R. & Spitz, A. (2010). ‘The interplay of humor and conflict in conversation and scripted humorous performance’. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 23 (1), pp. 83-111.
Pierce, R. (1994). ‘Use and abuse of laughter in psychotherapy’, in Strean, H. (ed.), The Use of Humor in Psychotherapy, Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, pp. 105-111.
Pomerantz, A. (1984). ‘Agreeing and disagreeing with assessments: Some features of preferred/dispreferred turn shapes’, in Atkinson, J.M. and Heritage, J. (eds.), Structures of Social Action: Studies in Conversation Analysis, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 57-101.
Provine, R.R. (2004). ‘Laughing, tickling, and the evolution of speech and self’. Current Directions in Psychological Science 13 (6), pp. 215-218.
Pomeroy, L. & Weatherall, A. (2014). ‘Responding to client laughter as therapeutic actions in practice’. Qualitative Research in Psychology 11, pp. 420-434.
Raskin, V. (1985). Semantic Mechanism of Humor. Dordrecht/Boston/Lancaster: D. Reidel.
Raskin, V. & Attardo, S. (1994). ‘Non-literalness and non-bona-fide in language: an approach to formal and computational treatments of humor’. Pragmatics & Cognition 2 (1), pp. 31-69.
Recchia, H.E., Howe, N., Ross, S.H., & Alexander, S. (2010). ‘Children’s understanding and production of verbal irony in family conversations’. British Journal of Developmental Psychology 28, pp. 255-274.
Rockwell, P. (2000). ‘Lower, slower, louder: vocal cues of sarcasm’. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 29 (5), pp. 483-495.
Ruch, W. (1994). ‘Temperament, Eysenck’s PEN system, and humor-related traits’. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 7 (3), pp. 209-244.
Schaffer, R. (1982). ‘Are there consistent vocal clues for irony’, in Masek, C.S., Hendrick, R.A., & Miller, M.F. (eds.), Papers from the Parasession on Language and Behavior, Chicago: Chicago Linguistic Society, pp. 204-210.
Schegloff, E.A. (2007). Sequence Organisation in Interaction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Sperber, D., & Wilson, D. (1981). ‘Irony and the use-mention distinction, in Cole, P. (ed.), Radical Pragmatics, New York: Academic Press, pp. 295-318.
Strean, H.S. (ed.) (1994). The Use of Humor in Psychotherapy. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson.
Sultanoff, S.M. (2013). ‘Integrating humor into psychotherapy: research, theory, and the necessary conditions for the presence of therapeutic humor in helping relationships’. The Humanistic Psychologist 41 (4), pp. 388-399.
Vaillant, G.E. (2000). ‘Adaptive mental mechanism: their role in a positive psychology’. American Psychologist 55 (1), pp. 89-98.
Valentine, L. & Gabbard, G.O. (2014). ‘Can the use of humor in psychotherapy be taught?’. Academic Psychiatry 38 (1), pp. 75-81.
Ventis, W.L., Higbee, G., & Murdock, S.A. (2001). ‘Using humor in systematic desensitization to reduce fear’. Journal of General Psychology 128, pp. 241-253.
Voutilainen, L. & Peräkylä, A. (2016). ‘Interactional practices of psychotherapy’, in O’Reily, M. & Lester, J.N. (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Adult Mental Health, London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 540-557.
Wear, D., Aultman, J.M., Varley, J.D., & Zarconi, J. (2006). ‘Making fun of patients: medical students’ perceptions and use of derogatory and cynical humor in clinical settings’. Academic Medicine 81, pp. 454-462.