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Laughter therapy is a specific type of therapy in which a trained person uses laugh techniques to relieve both psychological and physical pain. Ideally, to become a laughter therapist, you should be a licensed therapist, as this gives you a greater understanding of the benefits and cons of the therapy. However, because laughter therapy doesn't have standard regulations as of 2011, anyone can become a certified laughter therapy leader, although some states regulate use of the title "therapist."
Get your high school diploma or GED. Most higher-education institutions require this minimum education level for all applicants.
Apply to colleges and universities that have accredited programs in psychology or related fields like social work. Obtain your bachelor's degree in one of these fields. In some states, therapists and counselors have to have a master's degree, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Your college or state licensing board can tell you the regulations for your state. You must have this education if you plan on incorporating laughter therapy into a traditional therapy career.
Apply for your counselor or therapy license with your state licensing board.
Find a laughter therapy certification program. Some of these programs are seminar-based, but others are structured like more traditional courses, with both group training and classroom discussion about laughter therapy techniques, benefits and psychology. Because there is not a standard for laughter therapy certification programs as of 2011, research the program carefully before applying so you know it will provide you the skills and information you need.
Complete your laughter therapy program. Depending on how the program is structured, this can take as little as a weekend or as long as several months.
Apply for your laughter therapy certificate, if not automatically provided at the end of your laughter therapy program.
Find an established laughter therapist with whom you can apprentice or do an internship. This step, although not required, increases your chances of success because you can learn in the field and establish relationships with clients that may carry over into your own practice.
Set up your own practice as a laugh therapist, using your education and apprenticeship or internship as key points on your resume.
Wanda Thibodeaux is a freelance writer and editor based in Eagan, Minn. She has been published in both print and Web publications and has written on everything from fly fishing to parenting. She currently works through her business website, Takingdictation.com, which functions globally and welcomes new clients.