The Use of Humor with Chronic Schizophrenic Patients Academic Article uri icon


  • The use of a humorous therapeutic approach combined with drug therapy in the treatment of chronic schizophrenia patients institutionalized for protracted periods of time led to positive changes in their symptoms. The majority of the patients responded well to humorous interpretations. The patients felt that they had the option of adopting the doctor's humorous manner. This approach appealed to them and raised self-esteem; they likewise gained confidence in their own ability to form judgments. They cooperated better with the doctor in issues pertaining to treatment. The fact that humor made an impact on the patients' cognition demonstrated that patients with disturbed thought processes could be influenced in ways which improved coping. The patients' condition was evaluated according to the BPRS scale, before the treatment, on a monthly basis during the treatment, and three months upon the completion of the experiment. In the course of the experiment, pharmacological treatment remained unchanged. On the average, a perceptible reduction in the BPRS value (p < .05) was detected as a result of humor therapy. Amusing representations of affective external stimuli were incorporated into the patients' cognition and, along with a newly gained awareness of the possibility of relating to them with humor, were retained long after the termination of the project.

publication date

  • January 1, 1999