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The role of humor and folklore themes in psychotherapy
Am J Psychiatry 1980;137:1546-1549.
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Abstract

In the alternation of deconstitution and constitution that is fundamental to human life, humor has a useful role, mainly as a deconstituting force, whereas folklore emphasizes the revitalization of existence. Yet humor can be harmful in situations where there is a lack of mutual respect, and it can be growth-retarding if it becomes a substitute for needed change. The effectiveness of humor and folklore themes is proportional to the genuineness of the interpersonal relationship. In folklore, humor reinforces the injunction to seek wider worlds beyond the one that has become monotonous and stifling. Humor and folklore themes can, therefore, prove helpful when used judiciously in psychotherapy.

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The role of humor and folklore themes in psychotherapy. Am J Psychiatry 1980;137(12):1546-9.