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Psychotherapy And Humor

Awhile back I put up a YouTube audio that I thought was funny. A commenter didn’t like it and felt it promoted stigma. So I took a vote, and while most people were fine with it, a number did not like it, and I took the post down. We received this note, and I thought it was substantial enough to be its own guest post (with permission, of course).

Hi. I am a practicing psychiatrist based in New York City. I find your blog interesting, informative, and, at times, funny. Now, can you guess which entry I’d like to comment on?

Mel Brooks once said (paraphrased) that if you slip on a banana peel and land on your butt, it’s comedy. If I fall down a flight of stairs, it’s tragedy. I’ve had a long-term interest in humor, and a brief career as an unpaid stand-up comic in L.A. (Brief because my bombing to “killing” ratio was about 15 to one.) With respect to my experience as a therapist, I now occasionally utilize humor in my treatment, but only extremely judiciously once I have gotten to know my client. I learned my lesson early.

At the beginning of my residency training, during my second session with a client, I commented that perhaps he felt like Groucho Marx when Groucho said that he “wouldn’t want to be a member of any club with standards low enough to accept [him].” I sat back, feeling as if I had made the interpretation of the century, and waited for a reaction. I got one. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Shrink Rap*

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