Humor Therapy for Patients with Mental Illness Report

May 3, 2021 by Essay Writer

Purpose of the Study

The article under consideration focuses on the use of humor in psychotherapy with depressed older adults. In their article, Scott, Hyer, and McKenzie (2014) addressed the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and problem-solving therapy. The authors noted that research in this area has unveiled the particulars regarding the needs of older clients and ways to meet these needs. However, numerous gaps still exist, especially in terms of the use of humor in psychotherapy with older patients. Thus, the researchers concentrated on humor as one of the most valuable components of therapy, having the potential to lead to positive patient outcomes. Scott et al. stressed that a combination of components of the mentioned frameworks should be used when treating older patients suffering from depression and anxiety. The researchers also mentioned psychoeducation as another vital element of effective intervention for the target population. According to Scott et al. (2014), humor as a part of psychotherapy is instrumental in establishing rapport, facilitating honest discussion, and reducing intimidation or other negative emotions.

Methods and Findings

Scott et al. (2014) provided a review of specific cases illustrating the effectiveness of incorporating humor in psychotherapy. The authors described a group consisting of ten older adults who were experiencing depressive symptoms due to various reasons. The patients also endured feelings of loneliness and isolation, had a considerable financial burden, and felt frustration because of trauma or chronic health issues. One example of the positive impact humor had on patients, according to the authors, was its contribution to creating the necessary atmosphere (Scott et al., 2014). For example, when some patients shared emotional stories, leading to an increase in tension in the group environment, jokes served as a soothing influence that brought feelings of fun and calm to the group’s members. Humor also helped in making group members more active and open as they felt safe and motivated to contribute to group discussions.


This review has important implications for nursing practice as it can help nurses in many different types of medical units to provide high-quality care. Clearly, psychiatric mental health nurses (PMHN) will benefit most from reading this article as it can expand the scope of their knowledge related to using different theoretical frameworks in their daily practice. Furthermore, the revealed benefits of employing humor provide encouragement for practitioners to safely employ this approach. Exact instances of ways to incorporate humor are mentioned, which can make it easier for many nursing professionals to start trying this method. The study also encourages medical staff to be more active and creative in their practice while acknowledging that an evidence-based approach remains a major pillar of nursing practice.

In addition to direct implications for daily nursing practice, the research contributes significantly to the development of the field as the study reviews the major characteristics of the current research and identifies certain gaps. It is clear that great potential exists for researchers to dig more deeply into the matter, which will lead to the development of new interventions and approaches to care. Finally, the focus of the study is relevant since the ratio of older adults is increasing rapidly even as little attention is paid to psychotherapy for this population. Older people need mental health care due to their health condition as well as the socio-economic problems they may face. Thus, the development of effective interventions is critical for public health in both short- and long-term perspectives.


Scott, C. V., Hyer, L. A., & McKenzie, L. C. (2014). The healing power of laughter: The applicability of humor as a psychotherapy technique with depressed and anxious older adults. Social Work in Mental Health, 13(1), 48-60. Web.

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