Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Paranoia-Patients, Paranoia-Treatment, Wit and humor-Psychological aspects, Therapeutic alliance, Affiliation (Psychology), Qualitative research, Paranoia, Paranoid, Humor, Psychotherapy, Affiliative humor, Therapeutic relationship, Strategies, Persecutory delusions, Clinical paranoia, Wit, Humor styles, Treatment, Bond, Humanity, Dehumanization, Alliance, Paranoid symptomatology, Relationship


The purpose of this exploratory study was to investigate clinicians' experiences and perceptions about the use of affiliative humor as a means of establishing a bond with a client whom experiences paranoid symptomatology. This population in particular is the most difficult to initially engage and develop a therapeutic alliance with due to their severe level of mistrust and propensity towards misinterpreting interpersonal situations. Therefore, the objective of this study was to explore one means of navigating this barrier. Additionally, the findings of this study not only indicate that affiliative humor can be used successfully while working with this population, but also show the essentiality of establishing an strong therapeutic bond in order to engage these clients initially in treatment. Affiliative humor when used appropriately and thoughtfully, navigates impasses, difficulties, and misinterpretations inherent in clinical work. Much of the previous research noted that clients who experience clinical paranoia do not have the capacity for humor. The findings of this study serve as a foundation for future research concerning this population and their capacity for humor.




iv, 59 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2015. Includes bibliographical references (pages 48-53)

Limited Access until August 2020