The term humour was firstly used in the mid-14th century in its physiological connotations to describe fluids coming from plants or animals. Hence, its primordial use was related to these physical constituents. it was only in the 16th century, that the term started to be associated to also psychological traits, as it was believed that the amount of these bodily fluids could influence physical as well as mental activity, such as moods. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries the meaning of the term ‘humour’ shifted from aggressive, often hostile remarks towards moody people, to more benevolent connotations addressed to the amusement at the imperfections of the world and the weaknesses of human kind. Over the last two centuries, this positive use of the term ‘humour’ has increasingly acquired a multifaceted meaning which spams from positive to negative forms of enjoyment. It is of common opinion, however, that sense of humour can be associated to social desirability. Today, there seems to be general agreement across psychology and psychotherapy theorists that humour is related to overall mental wellbeing, and, despite the contrasting views of its efficacy in therapeutic settings, it can be asserted that mental wellbeing relates to the presence of certain kinds of adaptive humour. Many emotions can be associated to humour, among them, first of all, creativity. Indeed, it seems necessary to be creative in order to detain or understand a humorous attitude. In psychoanalytic terms, the creative ability movements in humour is a driving force, that when used in excess can act as a borderline defence against anxiety. This force can be situated within a conflicting humorous process that comprehends diverging elements (such as kindness-aggression, joy-pain, illusion-realness). Creativity is a vital element of our sense of being alive. Indeed, the capacity for creative imagination can help endure opposing images, ideas or concepts. A view largely shared in modern psychoanalytic thinking, since it is believed that creativity allow individuals to take different stances on their lived experiences. It facilitates tolerance for ambiguities and for the anxiety that may derive from it. Being creative allows us to ‘play’ with the material of our life and to the meaning we attach to it, acting as a bridge between our external and internal world. Indeed, it is precisely in this creative context that humour arises. Is seems important, therefore, to facilitate the expression of humour in social contexts, included those of the counselling sessions, aiming at a better understanding of oneself and at the acceptance of those situations and emotions that can be perceived as ambivalent and paradoxical.
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