THERAPEUTIC CLOWNING: a fool's life in the service of others
A DEFINITION OF THERAPEUTIC CLOWNING (Definition by Helen Donnelly: 2011) The profession of Therapeutic Clowning is an arts‐based practice typically in healthcare settings with children, adults or elders. It is designed to reduce stress, restore a sense of control and dignity, and celebrate the personhood of each individual regardless of their physical or cognitive limitations. Working in pairs using imaginative play, improvisation and music, the Therapeutic Clowns bring connectivity, lightness and joy in a place where sadness, trauma and boredom often reside. In most settings, they regularly partner with staff/clinicians as needed to provide playful diversion during medical procedures and aid various therapists to help clients achieve a better quality of life through directive or non-directive techniques. This is an evidence-based practice. The Therapeutic Clowns play a key role in bridging relationships between family members and their loved one. They typically have an extensive training in theatre, improvisation, movement, voice and dance in order to serve a variety of clients’ needs and desires. They undergo ongoing professional artistic, psychosocial development and reflective practice. These are professional clown artists, working a minimum of 3 and a maximum of about 20 hours a week in healthcare. They are remunerated for their work.