Sunday, October 23, 2011

Laughter therapy's healthy respect for humor & comedy

A recent audio report focuses on the curiously curative potential of humor and comedy in the face of cancer. Laughter therapists should find it useful.

For important reasons World Laughter Tour (WLT), draws distinctions between therapeutic humor and therapeutic laughter. WLT methods and theoretical foundations are almost exclusively about laughter, mirthful laughter. But, how could laughter therapists, i.e., Certified Laughter Leaders (CLLs), be fully effective without at least a basic knowledge of both humor and laughter?

It would be wrong-headed and misleading for an enthusiastic appreciation of the power of laughter to imply a disdain of humor.

In a 1996 documentary about laughter clubs getting started in India, a laughter club member in Mumbai declares, “Laughter alone is the solution!” But, respectfully, I have always disagreed. To me, his zealous enthusiasm for laughter is too narrow of a viewpoint.

Laughter and humor are allies that overlap

Therapeutic humor entails different challenges from therapeutic laughter; it has its own theories and methods.  Still, there is the place where humor and laughter overlap, and that place is essential to laughter therapists. That’s one of the reasons I advocate for them to try at least one year’s memberships in AATH (Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor) and ISHS (International Society for Humor Studies).

The theme of this blog is that laughter and humor are therapeutic allies. Separate in some ways but inseparable in other ways. Over the years, the WLT course of study has included more and more information about this alliance.

To add breadth and depth the curative potential of laughter (and humor), we integrate a six-step program of attitudinal healing as a vital part of our process. The International School of Laughter (France) includes extensive coursework in Playful Sophrology. Fully effective laughter therapy blends many complimentary practices.

Laughter therapy blends many complimentary practices

This combination plus the dynamic/organic process of developing the method, has fostered a distinctive and highly credible brand of laughter therapy, drawing from numerous schools. I am excited that even more will be added soon and in the coming years as we become aware of the true depth and breadth of both our mission and our method.

The fact Public Radio aired a report on comedy & cancer is subtle evidence that the pioneers in this field, in their own special way, are making significant inroads into illuminating and improving the human condition.



  1. Here is an example of self induced laughter resulting in genuine laughter. This was fun to make and share. I am a huge advocate of laughter.

  2. Enjoyed reading through this, very good stuff, thank you.

    Laughter Health