Attuning to the Implicit Aspects of Humor in Client Visual Images & Verbal Associations 07/30/16


'Summer" by Guiseppe Arcimboldo

Clowning.  Sarcasm.  Cynicism.  Jokes.  Wit.  Irony.  All are forms of humor, and all can make their way into therapy sessions through a client’s visual images and verbal associations.  Some clients seem to rely on humor more than others, and the reasons for this are varied.  But regardless of a client’s reason for humor and form of humor, all humorous expressions share integrative physical, emotional, and intellectual bases that ultimately serve to generate resilient responses to stressors and situational demands.  Humor can fortify openness to the exploration of multiple ideas, further the ability to tolerate ambiguity, initiate the discovery of new approaches, and strengthen the acceptance of closures and conclusions.  But when humor arises through a client’s visual images and verbal associations, how do therapists make use of the information that’s presented?  Do dark humor and light humor elicit different reactions?  How do the clinician’s humor preferences influence the therapeutic contextualization of a client’s humor?  And can the objective classification of a client’s humor help a therapist attune to the client’s non-conscious messages?


This experiential workshop pays tribute to the late Rawley Silver, honorary life member of the American Art Therapy Association and art therapy pioneer who devoted her career to investigating the relationship between creativity and cognition.  Dr. Silver developed, among other things, a scale for classifying humor in client visual images and verbal associations.  Participants in this workshop will become familiar with this humor scale through the creation of drawings that embody the instrument’s content, which will help them understand their own humor preferences and reduce bias when responding to the explicit and implicit messages found within client humor expressions.   Special attention will be paid to the neurobiology of humor and the physically, emotionally, and intellectually integrative framework of the Expressive Therapies Continuum, an assessment and intervention model from the world of art therapy that stresses the optimization of mental image formation as a precursor to healthy psychological functioning.



Participants will be able to

  • identify at least four brain structures/functions that are implicated in the use of humor.

  • name at least one physical, one emotional, and one intellectual feature of humor as these features relate to integration and resilience.

  • differentiate among seven categories of expressive content in a client’s humorous visual images and verbal associations and explain how such categorization can support attunement to the client’s implicit messages.


Date: Saturday, July 30, 2016

Time: 1:00-3:00 pm

Location: Arc of the Arts Studio & Gallery / 4902 Grover Ave. / Austin, TX 78756

CEUs: 2.0 for TX counselors, marriage/family therapists, and social workers

Investment: $55* includes all materials; space is limited—register by July 23 to ensure your spot

*Do you have more time than money?  I’m looking for an assistant to help me with set up & clean up in exchange for a reduced investment.  Contact me for details!

Bring your business cards!  My goal for all workshops is the sharing of knowledge and experience in a safe and supportive atmosphere, so please be prepared to be a co-creator of such an environment.  Thanks!

CEU Information

ABCs for Therapists is an approved provider of continuing education for:

  • The Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists, provider #522
  • The Texas Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors, provider # 1380
  • The Texas State Board of Social Workers Examiners, provider #5825

Please note that ABCs for Therapists does not assume liability for your clothing or jewelry.  Aprons/smocks will be provided for your convenience, but it is your responsibility to dress accordingly when working with art materials.  Thank you!

cancellations received on or before 07/20:

Your workshop fee will be fully refunded, or you may donate your spot to someone else if you’d like.


cancellations received 07/21-07/25:

Your workshop fee will be 50% refunded, or you may donate your spot to someone else if you’d like.


cancellations received 07/26-07/30:

Your workshop fee will not be refunded, but you may donate your spot to someone else if you’d like.

Standards of competent practice in art therapy require a graduate education in art therapy as well as supervised training in art therapy.  Attendees who lack these won't develop the knowledge and skills for competent art therapy practice, but they will enhance their understanding of the use of art in assessment and treatment.

About the Image on This Page

Summer was created by Guiseppe Arcimboldo  in 1563. The original work is in the public domain in the United States because its copyright has expired per US copyright laws; this may or may not apply to other countries as well. Click here for more information.