The Healing Power of a Belly-laugh

Previous post aside, it’s a truly wonderful day when a genuine, spontaneous belly-laugh can be shared in a therapy session. Gloriously, I received that gift today.

Oftentimes in therapy I use analogies and terminology that becomes part of the new communication style of the clients, as it is meant to be. One particular term I use is called “kind regard” and it refers to the idea of keeping your partner and their attributes high in your mind, kind in your heart, reminding yourself that this is your favorite person who deserves all of the benefits of your doubt, not just your negative frame or scorn. In the process of therapy this term gets referred to time and again, often to illustrate ways to ride out “the dip” as Seth Godin may call it, or sitting with the discomfort of not knowing, as I like to refer to it. Either way, it’s trusting the process to become something different in time. Usually we draw upon this tool in the toughest of times, when things seem their darkest, as a line of hope to the other side.

Today in session one couple told me a story in which a dream was recounted and in that dream a character approached one of the partners through a sea of people and when the character reached the client, she said to him harshly “WHERE’S MY KIND REGARD!?!?” This was the magical, spontaneous belly-laugh producing moment. I am still giggling at the thought of it, heck I’m sharing it here! What a perfect example of the embrace of a new tool and then its internalization revealing itself in the form of a vivid dream. I am so happy for this couple, for their progress and for the future that lays ahead of them. They have made it through the dip, sat with the discomfort, and have arrived at the side of understanding and acceptance. There is no better day for a therapist, not in my definition at least.

So if you are waiting for a session in your therapist’s lobby and you hear a true guffaw erupt on the other side of the door, know that great things have transpired and that you too can get through the dip, maybe even with the use of some kind regard.

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