When I first switched to video therapy in the early days of the pandemic, I wanted to make sure my clients’ privacy was as secure as possible as I started working from home. I’m lucky that I didn’t need to do much in the way of soundproofing, but I wanted to make sure the walls of my house were enough. So after a session I asked someone who had been in another room, “Were you able to hear me at all?”
“Nope, all I could hear was you laughing.”
This brought a smile to my face. It seemed fitting, as I find humor to be critical for effective therapy. I’ve always found it odd that therapy is considered a unilaterally somber experience. If we’re examining and embracing all of our humanity, it stands to reason there would be plenty to laugh at (and cry about, which happens often too.) There’s also some research behind why laughter in therapy is a good thing, which I’ll summarize here:
1)Laughter indicates a good bond between therapist and client, which we know accounts for 80% of the effectiveness of therapy
2)It’s impossible to dissociate while you’re laughing. As a trauma therapist, I see mild to moderate dissociation all the time, but laughter is a welcome antidote as it keeps you grounded in a positive experience in your body
3)Laughter in a physical marker of how much I enjoy my work. I love what I do.
While laughter is sometimes not appropriate or too swift a tone change, I consider it a critical piece of my work and look forward to laughing with clients for years to come.
Laurel Therapy Collective
offers online therapy to California residents for anxiety, transitions, and trauma.