Monthly Article Archives: January 2002

The Lighter Side of Changing Negative Scripts: The Benefits of Humor and LaughterRobert Brooks, Ph.D.

At an all-day workshop I conducted several weeks ago I discussed the theme of negative scripts, a concept I have addressed previously in my monthly web site articles. I explained that a negative script involved saying or doing the same thing over and over again with family members, friends, co-workers, or employees even though our previous efforts did not result in a positive outcome. I noted that we persist with this behavior, believing that we have right on our side and that others should change their actions. I would guess that most, if not all of us, have engaged in negative scripts—who knows, perhaps someday a negative script gene will be discovered. As I usually do at my presentations, I offered several humorous examples not only of negative scripts but also of the ways in which people attempted to alter these scripts. A woman in the audience approached me during a break and joked about some of her own negative behavior involving her children. She said she planned to change these scripts immediately, which she realized was easier said than done. She observed that many of the examples I offered about parents, teachers, and mental health professionals (including myself) engaging

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