Having a good C.H.U.K.L.E. with Humor Therapy and Positive Psychology

C.H.U.K.L.E stands for Creativity and Humor Using Kleverishness Laughter and Entertainment!  That’s right, I was fortunate enough to develop a humor therapy group while working with a population of people struggling with severe mental illnesses (or what I prefer to call brain diseases). I realized early on in my path to becoming a therapist that while focusing on the problem is critical, that A) there are plenty of venues for doing so already, and B) that focusing on the solution was half of the equation and needed to be brought out more into the forefront of treatment. That one needs to carve out time for his or her own creative, humorous and true self to emerge that can lead one towards answers to whatever problems are being experienced.

You would think it would be easy to convince people of the importance of laughing and humor, I mean it’s usually the first thing someone identifies as a desirable characteristic in someone else!  Just look at how many singles ads indicate “must be able to make me laugh”, clearly it is a value that we hold in our culture.  But why then, is there a sense of guilt or shame that often comes with the idea that having fun and being playful comes at the expense of hard work?  Well, I’m happy to report that there is actual research being done in this area and it’s proving what to me seems the most natural of things which is that having fun, being playful, and laughing out loud are healthy, healing experiences and worthy of pursuing.  I encourage you to view the Ted talk link below in which Dr. Stuart Brown of the National Institute for Play, states that the opposite of play is not work, but that the opposite of play is depression!  He further makes the point that creativity blossoms most often when a person is at rest, is relaxed and in an open state of mind.  Think of the last time you watched children at play and how naturally creativity  and imagination arose.  Unfortunately, these naturally occurring characteristics often get squelched in the process of learning via academia and being taught to be well behaved in the broader culture.  To see this awesome talk go here:

http://www.ted.com/talks/stuart_brown_says_play_is_more_than_fun_it_s_vital.html