Survival of the Wittiest

Terry Marks-Tarlow

From The Neuropsychotherapist, Issue 1, April-June 2013


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Along with art and science, humor was considered by the late psychologist Arthur Koestler (1964) to be the third pillar of creativity. To create a joke is to bring together disparate things in a novel way. To understand a joke is to connect with the sheer pleasure of solving a little problem. Frank Howard Clark once commented, “I think the next best thing to solving a problem is finding some humor in it.” Implicitly humor brings a sense of play and openness into relationships that can be invaluable to their fabric. Within psychotherapy, through clinical intuition we navigate the rhythms of humor. Whether initiated by the patient or therapist, humor offers an invitation to play within intersubjective realms, while communicating implicitly about the nature of the therapeutic bond itself…


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