Humor is one of those things like music or nature that has an inexplicable, yet very real effect on our well being. I tried to find the source of the quote, “laughter is the best medicine,” but it seems to predate people taking credit for things. It is a piece of wisdom that may even predate language….and now I’m just imagining caveman humor.
And of course it is important in the counseling process. It is a little delicate, because no one wants to be laughed at when they share intimate details of their lives, but at just the right time, it can be enormously helpful to have a good laugh when you’re hurting. Sometimes you just have to laugh to keep from crying, and sometimes you have to laugh at yourself so you don’t take yourself too seriously.
Several clients have told me that they were glad I had a good sense of humor because they can’t connect with people who don’t “get” them.
I think trying to describe a sense of humor is a pretty ambiguous and difficult task, so I won’t try too hard. Just know that I don’t take myself too seriously, I don’t take your problems lightly and I don’t mind a little dark humor.
Oh, and here is a joke that I made up while I was on hold with an insurance company for 2 hours:
How many customer service representatives does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
“Your lightbulb is very important to us and will be screwed in by the next available representative.”
Lastly, here is one of my favorite comic strips about mental health professionals: