As therapists, we all know that OCD is not any laughing matter. However that does not imply we won’t use humour when combating again OCD. In actual fact, as an OCD therapist using humour may 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 shoppers at OCD’s creativity and ridiculousness. Nevertheless, using humour in OCD therapy will not be 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 undoubtedly!
Why use humour?
Not solely is smiling/laughter a pure stress reliever and good for one’s well being, nevertheless 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 will not be 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 need to rid oneself of that feeling. As therapists, via CBT and significantly ERP, we assist our shoppers cut 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 pressure and make it simpler for shoppers 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 have interaction the consumer extra within the therapeutic course of and enhance motivation by strengthening the remedy relationship. And most significantly, it will probably permit the OCD sufferer to not get caught up rituals, akin 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 a superb therapeutic alliance and have constructed belief together with your consumer 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 think about how your consumer is feeling in a specific second, it might be fantastic in the future however not one other, relying in your consumer’s stress stage.Do think about the age of your consumer to find out how and when to make use of humour, with youngsters be sure that it’s developmentally acceptable and use phrases they are going to perceive.
Don’ts when utilizing humour
- Do not use humour in case you are simply beginning remedy, that doesn’t imply you can’t be humorous, however till your consumer understands how OCD works and you’ve got offered 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 consumer 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 way of lowering your shoppers’ anxiousness and remember in case your consumer is utilizing it as a software to cut back anxiousness as it will probably grow to be a compulsion.
How you can 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 seek advice from it as a separate being). Not solely does it assist with motivation, nevertheless it creates a personality and permits us to make enjoyable of and giggle at OCD, diminishing its energy.
- Educate your consumer 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 shoppers to acknowledge the ridiculousness of what OCD is saying.
- „Actually OCD, that’s what you need me to imagine, that I’m going to harm my youngsters? 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 “convey 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 wish to put in my mind? Come on, I’m prepared for you, do your greatest.”
- Use humour to give you artistic and humorous ERP duties that problem OCD however lighten the state of affairs and make it simpler for shoppers to remain involved with the triggers with out having to do a ritual. For instance:
- For youths/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 trying proper/perfectionism
- For youths/teenagers: Dad and mom play catch backwards and forwards with a “contaminated” scrunched up Kleenex
If you happen to select to make use of humour in OCD therapy, be sure you have a superb sense of your consumer and their wants, as extra hurt than good can happen. It’s not the fitting method with all shoppers. If used, it should be in a way that continues to permit your consumer to take a seat with the anxiousness and settle for the uncertainty of their obsessions.
Utilizing humour and laughter in remedy is a talent that if used accurately could be a welcome boost to ERP and enhance its effectiveness. Laughing at OCD teaches the amygdala to cease sending the false alarms that preserve the OCD loop. So, if it’s the proper match, let’s tickle that humorous bone and be artistic all whereas difficult OCD. How do you utilize humour in your remedy periods? Are there occasions once you needed to backtrack after realising it was not the fitting match?
This put up is introduced in collaboration with ADAA’s OCD and Associated Issues SIG. Be taught extra concerning the SIG.