EDMOND EVENING SUN, Sunday, July 26, 1998
Bring on the laughter

UCO/Switzerland join to study humor benefits.

By Roy Howe

The University of Central Oktahoma /Switzerland team will collaborate to better understand what makes us laugh, why it humors us and how merriment aids in the healing process, organizers said. «We're looking forward to our international cooperation and to making our efforts of studying humor even stronger,» said licensed psychoanalyst Michael Titze, lecturer at the Alfrcd Adler Institute in Zurich. Titze is a member of the annual conference on therapeutic humor in Basel, Switzerland. He was introduced to UCO's International Humor Studies Seminar director Amy Carell after she formed that organization in 1996. His second year to speak at UCO on humor, Titze addressed «Over-Coming the Pinnochio Complex» a topic concerning «gelotophobia» or the fear of being 1aughed at.

Titze was one of several experts from the United States and other countries to speak at the third annual event, which took place July 6-18. In return, Carrell will be the American ambassador to the Basel, Switzerland, Humor Conference in October.

Titze explained that within the past five years humor therapy in Europe has become a widely accepted practice and that the media are recognizing its usefulness. Although using laughter to treat mental and physical ailments is gaining in acceptance, the universal study of laughter is mostly limited to the United States, Carrell said. «Along with stressing the heath-related benefits of humor, we teach how and why humor is beneficial,» Carrell said. «Participants learn to employ humor in personal, interpersonal and organizational settings. «And while many acknowledge humor as helpful for promoting health and wellness, what appears to be lacking is the firepoint to give humor a personal relevance.»

Through the UCO/Switzerland partnership, humor in everyday life and in the clinical setting will be studied and taught using the brightest experts from both countries. «Gifted lecturers from both countries discussing this topic should result in a better understanding of humor and yield a better education about how it affects us,» Carrell said. «It's no joke,» she added. «Humor really knows no international boundaries.»