As therapists, we all know that OCD isn’t any laughing matter. However that does not imply we will not use humour when preventing again OCD. In reality, as an OCD therapist using humour could be an integral a part of the ERP expertise. It’s not uncommon for me to be laughing together with each my baby/teen and grownup purchasers at OCD’s creativity and ridiculousness. Nevertheless, using humour in OCD therapy is just not for everybody and there are some particular caveats as to when and the way to use it. So, why would you as a therapist incorporate humour into OCD therapy? and the way? Are there do’s and don’ts when utilizing humour? Most positively!
Why use humour?
Not solely is smiling/laughter a pure stress reliever and good for one’s well being, however it additionally adjustments the biofeedback the mind receives. Smiling is an inconsistent motion with hazard and if we act as if a state of affairs is just not harmful then we train the amygdala that it doesn’t want to guard us by sending an alarm sign. The OCD loop is maintained by attributing that means to the intrusive thought (e.g., “thought motion fusion”) resulting in misery and concern and the will to rid oneself of that feeling. As therapists, by means of CBT and notably ERP, we assist our purchasers scale back and get rid of the emotional response (of concern) to the intrusive thought and that in flip teaches the amygdala to cease sending the false alarm.
Utilizing humour in therapy helps reframe the content material of the obsession as much less threatening and, most significantly, it takes away OCD’s energy. It helps the sufferer see the obsession as ridiculous, much less scary and it adjustments or diminishes the extent of emotion related to the intrusive thought. Incorporating humour can lighten the temper and assist relieve rigidity and make it simpler for purchasers to share, particularly when the content material of the obsessions is difficult to speak about (e.g., sexual or hurt obsessions). It could actually assist interact the shopper extra within the therapeutic course of and improve motivation by strengthening the remedy relationship. And most significantly, it may well permit the OCD sufferer to not get caught up rituals, comparable to arguing with OCD and making an attempt to speak themselves out of their fears, and this in flip breaks the OCD loop.
Do’s when utilizing humour
- Do guarantee that you’ve an excellent therapeutic alliance and have constructed belief together with your shopper and that they perceive the method of therapy.
- Do use humour sparingly, it isn’t one thing that’s used repetitively as there’s a proper time and place to make use of it and being conscious of timing is essential to its effectiveness.
- Do contemplate how your shopper is feeling in a selected second, it might be wonderful someday however not one other, relying in your shopper’s stress degree.Do contemplate the age of your shopper to find out how and when to make use of humour, with youngsters be sure that it’s developmentally acceptable and use phrases they may perceive.
Don’ts when utilizing humour
- Do not use humour if you’re simply beginning remedy, that doesn’t imply you can’t be humorous, however till your shopper understands how OCD works and you’ve got supplied psychoeducation that explains the rationale for laughing at OCD, it may be hurtful and detrimental to the therapeutic relationship.
- Don’t use humour when your shopper is within the thick of OCD and misery ranges are excessive as the emotions are very actual even when the obsessions don’t make sense.
- Don’t use humour in response to an obsession as a method of lowering your purchasers’ nervousness and bear in mind in case your shopper is utilizing it as a instrument to cut back nervousness as it may well grow to be a compulsion.
The best way to Incorporate Humour in OCD Remedy
- Externalise OCD as a bully or enemy by giving OCD a persona (e.g., with youngsters, give OCD a reputation and draw an image and with adults name it OCD and check with it as a separate being). Not solely does it assist with motivation, however it creates a personality and permits us to make enjoyable of and chortle at OCD, diminishing its energy.
- Educate your shopper to “speak again to OCD” in a humourous method because it permits the thought motion fusion distortion that OCD depends on to be damaged. It diminishes the significance of the ideas and permits purchasers to acknowledge the ridiculousness of what OCD is saying.
- “Actually OCD, that’s what you need me to consider, that I’m going to harm my children? OK, no matter you say. Yup, you might be completely proper, it’s completely attainable that I’ll do this.”
- Use humour by over-exaggerating the concern, and difficult OCD with a “deliver it on perspective” as this reduces the significance of the obsessions and helps to remove the emotional response that feeds OCD.
- “Oh, right here we go once more (eye roll). You are attempting to scare me. Is that the very best you are able to do? What different scary ideas do you need to put in my mind? Come on, I’m prepared for you, do your finest.”
- Use humour to give you inventive and humorous ERP duties that problem OCD however lighten the state of affairs and make it simpler for purchasers to remain in touch with the triggers with out having to do a ritual. For instance:
- For teenagers/teenagers: Create a film and act out throwing up into a bathroom (chewed up meals and all) for a concern of getting sick
- For adults: Put hair in childlike piggy tails, and stroll round in a mall or grocery retailer for a concern of not wanting proper/perfectionism
- For teenagers/teenagers: Mother and father play catch backwards and forwards with a “contaminated” scrunched up Kleenex
In the event you select to make use of humour in OCD therapy, be sure you have an excellent sense of your shopper and their wants, as extra hurt than good can happen. It’s not the precise method with all purchasers. If used, it have to be in a fashion that continues to permit your shopper to take a seat with the nervousness and settle for the uncertainty of their obsessions.
Utilizing humour and laughter in remedy is a ability that if used appropriately could be a welcome addition to ERP and improve its effectiveness. Laughing at OCD teaches the amygdala to cease sending the false alarms that keep the OCD loop. So, if it’s the proper match, let’s tickle that humorous bone and be inventive all whereas difficult OCD. How do you employ humour in your remedy classes? Are there occasions whenever you needed to backtrack after realising it was not the precise match?
This submit is introduced in collaboration with ADAA’s OCD and Associated Issues SIG. Learn more about the SIG.
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