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Christie, G.L. (1994). Some Psychoanalytic Aspects of Humour. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 75:479-489.

(1994). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 75:479-489

Some Psychoanalytic Aspects of Humour

George L. Christie


Moments of spontaneous, genuine humour can provide transient relief for us all, in the midst of human conflict, pain and anxiety. In order to generate such moments we require a capacity to transgress, in a context of mutual respect. Our ability to contain antithetical ideas, images and impulses helps to facilitate a generative blending of primary and secondary-process functioning, which can come to life in the spontaneous moment of playful humour between individuals. The whole creative process not only puts us back in touch with warded-off libidinal and destructive impulses, but also involves a brief transformation of their hidden forces, tending to facilitate further increments of psychic integration, insight and communication. In this paper aspects of these matters have been discussed in relation to early infant development, the evolution of the superego, and the nature of creative processes. Consideration has also been given to the possible role of humour in individual and group forms of analytic treatment.

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