Hindu Press International, 06.05.2003
Indian Laugh Clubs Inspire Germans
BERLIN, GERMANY, May 2, 2003:

The Ninth International Humor Congress, opening Friday in Stuttgart, offers an ideal opportunity for Germans serious about putting a bit more laughter into their lives. A series of seminars with titles such as »Discover the Clown Within« and »Clowning Around in Hospital« promise the social and therapeutic benefits of gelotology, otherwise known as the science of laughter. »In our countries, imbued with Calvinism and Puritanism and more staid than Catholic countries, we feel a particular need to liberate our emotions through humor,« explained Michael Titze. Titze, a psychoanalyst who is scientific director for the Congress, leads group therapy for people suffering from social phobias when he's not running »humor universities« against depression. Some 1,000 educators, health professionals and psychotherapists were expected at the Congress being held in a Protestant-run hospital. There are already 40 or so laugh clubs set up in Germany. The concept, which was also being presented at Stuttgart, was conceived in India in the mid-1990's by Madan Kataria. The aim is »to activate the healing force of laughter, using the principle of yoga, and so contribute to peace in the world.«