was reflecting recently on the power of humour. It can be transforming, magical almost, and that is something it shares with the realm of therapy.
Therapy is so often thought of as a serious, heavy endeavour, and it is. Yet, it does not always need to be so. I am pleased to say I am lucky enough to frequently share light-hearted moments with my clients, the bond of laughing together is a powerful one. To deny this part of ourselves would be to switch off part of our very human experience, and that is definitely not what therapy is about.
So what makes jokes funny, and how does humour help therapeutic work?
Jokes are funny because they get you thinking in one context, and then surprise you by switching the context and therefore changing the meaning of what has been said. This element of surprise, of the unexpected, is important. It takes us out of our current way of thinking and shows a new possibility, with a humorous twist, and we laugh.
Humour has a truth to it. Clowning as an art is about showing that truth, about finding humour in what is. It is utterly revealing, and as a result many of us can be uncomfortable with how close to the bone it can be.
Therapy similarly aims to reveal truth, and change meaning. We can not change what has happened in the past, it is what it is. We can change what it means to us, and we can certainly change our present reality by changing our relationship to what is happening. Thoughts and actions are really flexible, we have a lot more influence over ourselves than we sometimes credit, and that can be important to know.
By changing perspective or position we can open ourselves up to a lot more information, and some of it may just make the change we need to give us a different experience. Expanding awareness from our own perspective to that of others, changing our focus from mental, to physical, to emotional, to visual, to auditory...there are so many ways we can stretch and flex to give ourselves a different context.
Therapy is about play and experimentation as well as being about about self-knowledge and grounding, they are different aspects of the same thing. The most grounded people I know have a lightness to them that leaves them twinkling, children have a voracious capacity for learning, and they do it best through play. I think there is a magician that sits within us all, if only we can find ways to be open. This is not humour as deflection or avoidance, it is spontaneity and immediacy allowing wholeness to emerge.
If you want to experiment and dance with your experience and find new ways to interpret what has happened and is happening, then get in touch.