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Literature analysis of humor therapy research

Laura E. Harkins


Alternative therapies and creative facilitation techniques assist professionals in overcoming common client barriers such as boredom, passivity, and indifference or unresponsiveness to treatments. Humor therapy or therapeutic humor is one such facilitation technique that is no laughing matter, as research indicates its effectiveness extends much further than fun and smiles. Humor therapy is creating a humorous environment implemented through active and/or passive means to treat participants’ symptoms by eliciting laughter and joy. Little exists, however, that summarizes the status of data-based research on this topic. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to provide a literature analysis comprising the physiological and psychological benefits of humor therapy utilizing research published within the last 10 years. In addition, specific analysis of methodology, identification of limiting factors, exploration of future research implications, and practical recommendations for recreational therapy professionals are addressed.


humor therapy, therapeutic humor, recreational therapy, mirth, literature analysis

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