Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To save a shortcut to an article to your desktop…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

The way you save a shortcut to an article on your desktop depends on what internet browser (and device) you are using.

  • Safari
  • Chrome
  • Internet Explorer
  • Opera


For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Baker, R. (1993). Some Reflections on Humour in Psychoanalysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 74:951-960.

(1993). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 74:951-960

Some Reflections on Humour in Psychoanalysis

Ronald Baker


This article proposes that for humour to be effective as a therapeutic intervention in psychoanalytic treatment, it must approximate an affect releasing and growth promoting interpretation. The presence and psychological significance of surprise, which is common to both wit and 'good' interpretations, is taken as the point of departure and the importance of the psychoanalyst's spontaneity is discussed in relation to this.

The author explains his opposition to the use of humour as a contrived communication: as a parameter aimed at reviving a dying analysis or as an attempt to resolve an impasse. In particular the dangers of countertransference acting out and the provision of transference gratifications are explored. Equal emphasis is placed on recommending that the analysis of a patient's humorous responses should not be neglected and how an analyst without humour may negatively affect the treatment process.

The paper includes clinical vignettes which illustrate the constructive and creative use of humour in the analytic situation.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.