Donate Now

When We Laugh in Therapy: Gemeinschaftsgefühl and Humour

10th May 2016 · 7:30pm - 9:00pm

In person | Virtual event

 When We Laugh in Therapy: Gemeinschaftsgefühl and Humour

Laughter is a subtle tonic. It can relax and invigorate us at the same time. Something in your life may feel like a persistent source of misery, and yet at some point it might also strike you as ridiculous – you might even start to laugh about it. This ‘release point’ could be arrived at through therapeutic dialogue, which so often generates new or altered ideas about your story of life: not only can you change your unique self-narrative but also deepen your understanding of the human condition and the suffering of others. As a therapist I have observed how people find more to enjoy and laugh about as they restore or discover their true sense of fellow feeling and common purpose with other people.

Alfred Adler called this sense Gemeinschaftsgefühl, generally translated into English as ‘social interest’. This term refers to a feeling combined with an action – a purposeful movement towards being socially useful in some way. Adler recognised that for most individuals this movement requires specific and conscious courage. For a lot of people, I think idiosyncratic humour plays a surprisingly big part in achieving this; the power of laughing our way into reciprocal social connection is perhaps under-appreciated. My talk will explore how the things we find funny in therapy and the meaning we give to our laughter can provide vital clues about our social courage, for each of us as individuals, as well as collectively.

Jim Holloway is a BACP Senior Accredited counsellor and supervisor based in Cambridge where he has run a full-time independent practice for many years, specialising in anger management for men. He currently supervises a diversity of practitioners in the helping professions including NHS staff and service managers. Jim is a partner in Cambridge Supervision Training, and a co-author (with Anthea Millar and Penny Henderson) of Practical Supervision (JKP 2014).

Admission £7 (concessions £4) All welcome. No need to book. CPD certificates are available. Lecture enquiries:

Read more about how we use Cookies in our Privacy Policy.


We need your help!

We host talks, concerts, performances, community and social events. However, we are an independent charity and receive no funding from the government. Everything we do is dependent upon our commercial activity and the generosity of supporters like you.

Donate Now