The Great Experiment: Laughter as a Therapeutic Tool – Presenter: Michael Cotayo

January 16, 2022 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
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The Great Experiment: Laughter as a Therapeutic Tool – Presenter: Michael Cotayo @ Zoom


Gestalt therapy is about authenticity, being in the present moment, and having the courage to take risks. These are the same things that are needed to use laughter as a therapeutic tool.

Laughter has been shown to increase T-cell production, improve brain function, and foster an overall sense of resilience. As a therapeutic tool, it has the power to help people heal from trauma faster and with more confidence.

This presentation will begin to show you the science behind what makes laughter an innovative tool to help people heal in a healthy and positive way, while remaining true to Gestalt theories and principles. Gestalt modalities will also be explored, showing how to make the most appropriate interventions for your clients.

1. Attendees will learn how laughter can benefit the immune system.
2. Attendees will identify the specific areas of the brain that are impacted by laughter and humor.
3. Attendees will learn skills and strategies that they can use to incorporate humor into their work immediately.


Michael Cotayo is a licensed clinical social worker who received his master’s degree in social work from NYU in 2000. A majority of his post-master’s career has been spent working within the HIV/AIDS community as a social worker, advocate, community organizer, counselor, and administrator. It is working with these communities where he learned the benefits of using humor to help heal physical and emotional trauma.

Michael is also the founder of Funny Shrink University, an online program that teaches healthcare providers how to incorporate humor into their work to achieve better outcomes. Funny Shrink University offers continuing education units and monthly webinars.