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Research Article  |   August 1993
Therapeutic Use of Humor in Occupational Therapy
Author Affiliations
  • Gwen Vergeer, MS, OTR, is a Staff Occupational Therapist, VA Medical Center, San Francisco, Rehabilitation Medicine service, 4150 Clement Street, Mail Code 117, San Francisco, California 94121
  • Anne MacRae, PhD, OTR, is Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy Department, San Jose State University, San Jose, California
Article Information
Ethics / Research
Research Article   |   August 1993
Therapeutic Use of Humor in Occupational Therapy
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 1993, Vol. 47, 678-683. doi:10.5014/ajot.47.8.678
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 1993, Vol. 47, 678-683. doi:10.5014/ajot.47.8.678
Abstract

Interviews with five occupational therapists who use humor therapeutically in their practice were conducted and analyzed with a phenomenological method so that the lived experience of therapeutic humor use in occupational therapy could be examined. Sixteen themes were identified through data analysis: The Concept of Therapeutic Use of Humor; Spontaneous Versus Deliberate Humor; Humor, the Great Equalizer; Humor and Professionalism; Contraindications of Humor; Humor Among Co-Workers; Humor and Play; Humor and the Environment; Humor Providing Balance; The Intrinsic Quality of Humor; The Transformative Power of Humor; The Effects of Humor on the Subjects Themselves; Humor as an Evaluation and Treatment Tool; Humor as Therapeutic Use of Self; Humor as a Coping Mechanism; and Other Uses of Humor With Patients. This study revealed that the use of therapeutic humor in occupational therapy is a multifaceted phenomenon, much richer than had been previously presented in the literature.