What is it about?

Without therapeutic alliance with the client, there can be no psychotherapy. Therefore, therapists have to transmit their own empathy to the clients and show them they can see the world as if looking to it through the client's eyes. But simultaneously, the therapist is bound to reframe the client's view of the world in order to foster therapeutic change. This inherent paradox can be solved by using humor, using verbal communication and simultaneously nonverbal contradictory messages.

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Why is it important?

Joining and reframing are two key notions of psychotherapy. It is essential for every psychotherapist to be aware that they can contradict one another, creating an "auto-double-bind", and to be able to neutralize this situation, in order to enhance therapy effectiveness.


Humor can help therapists to achieve both joining and reframing at the same time.

Dr Christophe Panichelli
Private practice, Sprimont, Belgium

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Humor, Joining, and Reframing in Psychotherapy: Resolving the Auto-Double-Bind, American Journal of Family Therapy, October 2013, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/01926187.2012.755393.
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