In an effort to tackle this PR challenge, Mr. Carpenter and some of his fellow clowns recently began hosting pre-show therapy sessions, inviting circus attendees to help people overcome their fear—a classic form of exposure therapy. “We put on our makeup very slowly, and then we put on our costumes,” explained Mr. Carpenter (aka Popol when he’s in clown mode). “And if that goes well and they haven’t run for the door, we then try and get them interacting with us in the circus ring. We go through a few clown routines, getting them involved. And if that goes well, our ultimate aim is to get the person themselves dressed up in costume and makeup, and then we help them find their own inner clown.”
Me? I’d be running for the door. But according to Mr. Carpenter, this form of exposure therapy appears to work for some circus fans. This might be a remedy to suggest to your patients who have a fear of clowns.
To listen to the interview or read a transcript of the conversation, click here.
— Doug Brunk (on Twitter@dougbrunk)