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Wellness Projects

"For every minute that you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 


photo of pediatric patient at UCLA taking part in Rx Laughter therapeutic project.
Photo courtesy of Leslie Barton Photography for Rx Laughter

 

 

"Cancer is a difficult illness to deal with and this makes many patients depressed. Doctors can treat cancer patients with medicine and improve their overall general condition. However, the nurses and doctors are not always fully equipped to deal with mental health. Here in Thailand, there is a lack of psychologists and psychiatrists at hospitals. In the southern part of Thailand, there is only 1 psychiatrist for 4 southern provinces. Adding Rx Laughter humor therapy will help us to explore ways that improve the mental condition of our patients. This is very beneficial to the hospital and to our patients as we find new ways to help improve their overall well-being." Tanadej Sinthusake MD, Director of the National Cancer Institute, Mahavajiralongkorn Cancer Center in Thailand.

 

Therapeutic & Educational

Rx Laughter as Therapeutic Care: As a result of our laughter research findings at the UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center, Mattel UCLA Children's Hospital and Semel Neuropsychiatric Institute, we moved forward to use comedy clips in therapeutic settings to brighten mood, relieve pain and reduce loneliness. As mentioned earlier on this page, we brought laughter therapy to outpatient pediatric outpatient Dialysis, Infusion, ICU and Critical Isolation and more. We have since expanded to include many other forms of comedy techniques to alleviate pain and suffering and improve quality of life.

Rx Laughter Educational Programs: Humor therapy can be longer-term and can produce a new way of viewing a difficult situation, offering light at the end of the tunnel. A humorous outlook for those in support groups for emotional issues as a result of physical illness or trauma can produce longer lasting changes in thoughts, feelings and behaviors for improved coping and communication. Through our humor therapy programs, we help young adults with behavioral and emotiono changeal issues who are in support groups at mental health clinics. These children and adolescents are often struggling with issues such as anger, addiction, recovery from trauma and behavioral issues that interfere with healthy relationships. In sessions led by our volunteers, we use a variety of interactive techniques with one thing in common - they all use comedy as a way of opening the door to uncomfortable feelings and painful memories with a fresh perspective in a non-threatening, sensitive, compassionate way. Sessions are supervised by their clinician with the goals of new and healthier insights, perceptions, attitudes and behaviors.

Therapeutic & Educational Workshops: individualized

Since March of 2014, Harvard Undergraduate Stand Up Comedy Society members continue to volunteer for Rx Laughter, with on-site visits to the Franciscan Hospital for Children's inpatient behavioral disorders unit.
Thank you to Harvard volunteers Anthony Zonfrelli, Daniel Fitzpatrick, Alex Iascone for getting us off to a strong start that continues to evolve and strenthen with each visit. Thank you to Brian Duffy, Head of Nursing at Franciscan Hospital, for support of this uniqueprogram.

Examples of several of our other  Therapeutic & Educational Humor workshops include:   UCLA Semel Neuropsychiatric Institute for veterans,  ComedySportzLA improv workshop for UCLA pediatric hematology patients and families, Markstein Cancer Center in Oakland for adult cancer survivors,  Edelman West Side Mental Health Clinic in West Los Angeles transitioning to outpatient care, and Castle Highpoint Treatment Center in Brockton, Mass. for youth in support groups for substance abuse. For more information, please see the Wellness Projects - Overview page.

Brief consultations for nonprofit programs, such as libraries, assisted living centers and hospitals are available at no cost. November 2015 consultations include a 2016 pilot program at an educational institute in Geneseo, Illinois that is aimed at bringing humor and comedy to over 6,000 elderly people annually.