Ethnic Diversity and the Use of Humor in Counseling: Appropriate or Inappropriate?

Mary Finn Maples, Peggy Dupey, Edil Torres-Rivera, Loan T. Phan, Linwood Vereen, Michael Tlanusta Garrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Humor can reflect the healthy release of feelings during the counseling process, the type of emotional release that leads to significant therapeutic gains. It can also be a disturbing distraction, possibly causing early termination, if used inappropriately. Counselors need to exert particular caution before attempting to apply humor in working with a client from a culture different from the counselor's. This article explores the available literature and offers contributions on the subject from 4 "ethnically diverse" perspectives. Finally, a general approach based on existential theory is presented along with 5 general conditions to ascertain the appropriate use of humor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-60
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Counseling and Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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