Bridging TCOM with the World Collaborative:
Perhaps Laughter is the Ultimate Prescription

By: Kenneth McGill, EdS LMFT

A Solution-Focused Care Senior Scientist at Opeeka in Folsom, California

What Binds Us Together as Humans?

A question for the ages. There are many answers to this question, and often, it depends upon the discipline of study: for example, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, and psychology just to name a few. The focus for this brief post will be from both a TCOM and Neuroscience perspective, from the framework of brain science and neurotransmitters.

Dr. John Lyons recently wrote a blog on Words and included the following statement:

Since the IPH Center team is mostly remote, I look for different ways to stay connected and help build a culture. One small attempt is by sharing a word — often obscure — but with some relevance to our work.”

The first word Dr. Lyons shared was Risibility, which is truly one of those obscure words, but it does have an important relevance to human services. Let’s use Risibility to strengthen the worldwide TCOM Collaborative and to build a culture.

First thoughts might be connected to the phrase Laughter is the best medicine. Risible is defined as the “ability to provoke laughter, capable of laughing, disposed to laugh, arousing laughter especially, associated with, relating to, or used in laughter.”

Did you know that research shows that there is a connection between laughter and the neurotransmitter dopamine?

Scientists have shown that dopamine is involved with human bonding (2017). So, connecting bonding with laughter or risibility is not a big stretch because it too is connected to brain chemicals like dopamine.

Scientists have found that laughter can replace stress hormones (like cortisol), which are found in the bloodstream with dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins (2020). This research also shows that increased levels of dopamine can result in enhanced levels of learning, motivation, and attention.

picture of two young children laughing
children laughing

TCOM & Worldwide Collaborative

Since laughter is present in all human cultures (The Biology of Humor- Fry, 1994) why isn’t it included as an item on the TCOM Tools (CANS, ANSA, FAST)? It should be noted however, people from different cultural backgrounds see humor in different ways. As Martin and Ford stated in The Psychology of Humor: An Integrative Approach, 2018:

Humor is a universal human activity that most people experience many times over the course of a typical day and in all sorts of social contexts. At the same time, there are obviously important cultural influences on the way humor is used and the situations that are considered appropriate for laughter (p. 30).

picture of a happy child laughing with eyes closed
A happy child laughing

Should 'Risibility' be included in TCOM?

It would be culturally responsive to explore whether to include Risibility, which aligns with TCOM, as an item on the TCOM Tools. Also, it would further align with cultural humility to reach out to the worldwide collaborative in various languages which celebrates our diversity.

Celebrating our diversity was inspired by a recent blog written by Ari Acosta Hernandez, Café con TCOM: Spanish-speaking collaborative at the 2022 TCOM Conference. Ari’s writing sparked an outreach to as many individuals from around the globe to translate a TCOM Survey,

A Survey has been set up to get input from as many individuals as possible to provide Dr. Lyons and the larger TCOM Collaborative with some feedback on the question, Should Risibility (Humor) be added as an item included on TCOM Tools?

Other questions include:

  • Is risibility a skill or trait?
  • Risibility a Strength or a Need?
  • Ideas on how to include Risibility in Care-Plans?

For many, the answer might be ‘yes’ for both, being seen as a skill and a trait. As a skill and a trait, we can learn more about an individual’s view of risibility (humor) and how it might be used within the context of their life.

The purpose of writing this blog was to concentrate on achieving both Whole-Person and Solution-Focused Care, which for many of us, is the foundation of our work in Transformational Collaborative Outcomes Management. The TCOM Worldwide Collaborative has always supported the potential of every individual and family. No matter what the challenges may be, there are always solutions in an effort to support discovery, cultivate the human potential, harvest what is meaningful, and to continue to be solution focused, we’d like to ask you to please take a one-minute anonymous survey titled. Adding Item (Risibility) to TCOM Tools.”

This survey has been provided in the following languages:

  • English
  • Ethiopian/Amharic
  • Lithuanian
  • Dholuo (Luo dialect of Nilo-Saharan language)

Click the button below to access the survey. Click on your preferred language at the top right of the survey page.

Portrait of Ken McGill smiling
Ken McGill, EdS LMFT

Kenneth McGill, EdS LMFT- Ken spent the last two decades serving New Jersey Children’s System of Care (CSOC) in several key administrative roles, including the last 12 years at Rutgers University-Behavioral Research Training Institute (BRTI). While at BRTI he was the lead curriculum developer, trainer and provider of technical assistance on Wraparound/Child Family Team and all of the TCOM Tools (CANS, CAT, FANS). Ken was the 2013 recipient of the Praed Foundation’s Outcomes Champion (CANS) Award for his work in children’s systems of care and outcomes management. He has more than 20 years of experience in marriage & family therapy, education & research and was the longest serving President of the New Jersey Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (NJAMFT). Ken received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from William Paterson University.  He is currently a Solution-Focused Care Senior Scientist at Opeeka in Folsom, California, where he continues to support Transformational Care in every human service sector throughout the United States and beyond. 

One Response

  1. I love ideas that are at once simple and deep. I’m a fan of increasing smiles per hour!

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