Responding to Client Laughter as Therapeutic Actions in Practice
journal contributionposted on 31.03.2021, 03:24 by L Pomeroy, Ann Weatherall
© Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. The widely presumed links between laughter and humour have raised questions about their roles in psychotherapeutic interactions. This study uses conversation analysis to explore client-initiated laughter and different kinds of responses to it. By examining sequences leading up to and following client laughter, we show two distinctive therapeutic actions that are accomplished. When particular lines of therapeutic questioning are being pursued, silence following client laughter functions to prompt further client talk. Client laughter can also build rapport by providing an opportunity for therapists to display that they also find something laughable. Both identified actions support important therapeutic work.