Can humour help therapy? Let’s ask Codin…
That’s an interesting question. For me, a sense of humour is very important in therapy. Therapy can be emotionally draining and very hard work, so I have found that in the right place and at the right time, humour can be very effect at lightening the mood and building rapport between therapist and client.
With this in mind, I have written a short transcript below of a fictional therapy session between myself and a savage barbarian warrior.
Edited transcript of an Anger Management Zoom session with Codin the Barbarian (CB) and Phil Gowler (PG) 2nd February 2021.
PG: Welcome, and thank you for appearing on Zoom
CB: (shakes sword at the screen and mouths angrily but silently)
PG: You’re on mute
CB: (jabs angrily at his keyboard)
CB: Is this box magic? Where is the magician? His neck will feel my steel by Crom!
PG: It’s OK, I’m the only person here, and it’s not magic.
CB: I have seen many demons and they have all died beneath my crashing blade. Your magic box does not frighten me!
PG: You do indeed have a mighty weapon. But we are here to talk aren’t we?
CB: (reluctantly sits down, looking disapprovingly at his office chair) This chair is nothing like my throne of Skulls!
PG: (making small talk) No, I understand that. I hope you are well, and thank you for coming.
CB: I had no choice you twister of words!
PG: (sighs and continues with the small talk) Well, it’s Spring and it will be Easter before you know it.
CB: (waving his fist) I don’t worship weak and feeble gods of peace, I worship Crom, the Lord of Battle!……but I do like chocolate rabbits.
PG: (surprised). Really? I didn’t think you would.
CB: Yes! My servants catch them and bring them to me while they are still alive. I dip them in chocolate and eat them!
CB: (declares triumphantly) They are crunchy! !
PG: That’s interesting, but let’s keep on track shall we? Why are here?
CB: My many wives and concubines tell me I have an anger problem.
PG: So I understand. You have nothing to fear here, we are just going to talk and see if we can work together to just reduce the unhelpful influence your anger has on your life.
CB: (leaning forward and shouting) When the god Crom made man, he breathed Anger and Rage into him, so that he could slaughter his enemies and drink wine from their hollowed-out skulls!
PG: I hear what you are saying, but the fact that you are here means that perhaps you see a need to work this out?
CB: It is true. Last week I sliced the head of my Vizier clean off with one stroke of my flashing blade. It was glorious, his head flew across the room and out of the window, where it bounced and rolled into a pumpkin patch. It took them ages to find it. Crom rules! (smashes fist onto table)
PG: Oh dear, I think thumping your fist on the table when you talk isn’t a good idea, you seem to have broken it.
CB: (loudly) I crush enemies under my mighty fist! I love to hear their bones crack and splinter!
PG: Let’s just get back to the point, if that’s OK. Why did you kill your Vizier?
CB: He’d grown one of those little pointy beards and a thin moustache, all Viziers who look like that are evil, it is the mark of the devil, and no devil is safe from my flashing steel and mighty thews!
PG: Let’s explore that a little. When you think about it, was he actually evil?
CB: Erm…he was talking about increasing taxation just a little bit.
PG: Is that a bad thing?
CB: I guess not, I have never taxed my subjects heavily, because I rely on getting my income from the spoils of glorious war and ransacking the cities of my puny enemies! They run screaming from my ravaging armies and my heart sings as I hear their screams!
PG: So…was he evil?
CB: No. But he had the pointy beard! And a turban! And a thin moustache!
PG: Well we should really judge people by what they do rather than how they look, shouldn’t we?
PG: You must have met people who looked perfectly normal to you, but turned out to be bad people?
CB: Oh yes. The traitor Amalric was my finest warrior until he betrayed me, so I slew him myself in my throne room and his blood gushed down the steps as his life fled his traitorous corpse!
PG: So the lesson is…judge people by what they do?
CB: (CB looks sheepish) Perhaps you are right.
PG: Good, that is a great step forward. But I think we will take a short break now, please have a glass of water if you need to.
CB: Water? I will drink the wine of Kyros, looted from the monks of Thebes, I slit their throats as they slept, that was a glorious day!
PG: That’s an unusual cup you have there.
CB: (Holding bone coloured mug with ‘I heart pillaging’ written on it) I had it made from the thigh bone of an evil priest.
PG: OK…let’s resume shall we?
PG: Let’s talk about a certain incident with a chariot a few weeks back.
CB: Ah yes…
PG: As I understand it, you were coming back from a visit to one of your villages…
CB: Yes, the villagers had complained about the local tax collector because he was extorting money from them.
PG: Did the visit go well?
CB: Oh yes, when I threatened to burn his feet with a poker he admitted his guilt, so I spared his life.
PG: That’s great! See, you can control your temper when you need to.
CB: Yes, all I did was cut his hand off as punishment.
CB: I can be magnanimous you know.
PG. Yes…let’s go back to the chariot incident. You were approaching the city gates and another chariot whizzed past you.
PG: What did you do?
CB: Of course I whipped up my horses and chased him, because I am the king after all, how dare he overtake me. Besides, I have a BMW.
CB: Big Metal Wheels.
PG: So what happened?
CB: We drew level and I demanded that he slow down.
PG: Did he?
CB: I threw my javelin at him. It pierced his leg and pinned him to the side of his chariot like the miserable insect he was! (lifts both hands in exultation)
PG: And then he crashed into the city wall.
PG: And died.
PG: But you do realise he was a doctor rushing to the aid of a merchant who had collapsed and was seriously ill?
CB: I didn’t know that at the time.
PG: The merchant died because the doctor didn’t get there.
PG: Is there a lesson to be learned here?
CB: Don’t fall ill when the king is approaching the city in his chariot?
PG: Mmm. No.
CB: The king has right of way at all times?
PG: Not really…
CB: All who cross my path shall die?
PG: (pretends to look at watch) Oh dear, our time is up.
CB: Do I have to see you next week?
PG: Monday at 3?
CB: (Gets book out of pocket, with title ‘365 days of Slaughter’). No, I’m giving a lecture on torturing then.
PG: Tuesday at 1?
CB: Nope that’s my disembowelling practice.
PG: Friday at 2?
CB: Well, I’m supposed to be pillaging a city, but I can postpone that for a day.
PG: Great! Friday at 2 it is.
CB: I feel much better now.
PG: Good. Have you anything planned for the rest of the day?
CB: Not really, I’m feeling the need to be creative. I might try some metalwork.
PG: That’s excellent!
CB: Yes, I have an idea for a device to torture the feet using sharp blades, a hot poker and a large hammer.
(I wonder if Codin the Barbarian will return in future blogs?)