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The use of humor is a great way for those in ministry to build relationships and promote unity. “It is a nice icebreaker,” said Sam Stodghill, Psy.D. “In a group setting it also helps break through tension and can create a common bond that helps resolve conflict.”
Humor is especially beneficial to priests and religious because it helps provide balance to work that often involves sensitive or difficult issues. “It can take the emotional steam out of a difficult situation,” Stodghill said. Humor also helps make ministry leaders more relatable to those they serve.
It is important, however, to use humor in a healthy way. Maintain appropriate boundaries and respect the beliefs and values of those being addressed. “Humor should always be used to bring people together rather than apart,” Stodghill said. “It should not detract from what needs to get done.”
Stodghill is a psychologist at Saint Luke Center in Louisville, Ky.
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