In their work, the therapeutic artists of the Dr. Clown Foundation are daily called upon to work with children who have various mental health problems, including anxiety, eating disorders and depression.
In January 2018, we set up a pilot project in the child psychiatry department of the Hôpital Rivière-des-Prairies. After only two visits, we were able to observe the benefits of Dr. Clown interventions in youngsters with mental health issues. The clowns establish relationships of trust, and by creating a relaxed atmosphere in which laughter is encouraged, they make it possible for the children to gradually experience moments of joy and peace
Here is an entry from the notebook of one of our artists:
“The staff told us that the Dr. Clown visits created a pleasant atmosphere that continued long after their departure, and this made the next activity much easier.”
“Because the clowns are not authority figures, the children are able to explore other types of relationships with them than those they have with the rest of the team. Staff members noted that the clowns’ presence and participation in the social skills workshops made a big difference. They seem to reinforce the group leaders’ work on areas such as listening, taking turns speaking, cooperation, sharing... […] The children know they aren’t being evaluated when they’re interacting with the clowns. They enter into trusting relationships that help them face challenges from a different, more positive, angle, and to receive validation and reinforcement when they succeed.”