I love co-facilitating workshops with Igor. The process of planning and delivering and debriefing these sessions together has been so enriching. As always, I suppose it comes down to cost that this isn’t more common but I love it as a participant too - having more than one perspective offers more keys to more doors to the myriad of possibilities of what clowning can offer.
Co-facilitating helps keep up momentum, means that we can offer differing skill sets, and demonstrates that there is no one right way to do something. Participants can experience different delivery styles and energies, and hear an additional perspective. And of course we are learning from one another all the time as teachers. My facilitation is better for being in the space with Igor while he teaches.
It is also grounding to have someone to talk to after each session, to check that we are noticing the same things, to remind one another of little breakthroughs we have seen in the group. It creates a natural mechanism for supervision and emotional safety - in the same way as when we work in hospital, this partnership means that we can see both the participants and ourselves more clearly and compassionately.
Planning this training feels like mountain climbing, in the best possible sense. At the beginning of the walk everything seems possible - why not climb two summits today? Before lunch?! As we climb further, the enormity and complexity of the task reveals itself, each step revealing both how far we have come and how far we still have to go. The summit (clowning in hospital) keeps slipping further and further away, entangled in a cloud of bureaucracy. We know it is there, we know reaching it is possible, but we have to be patient, flexible and responsive. Summit fever is a trap and will lead to exhaustion, burn-out, and is unsafe, so on the way we have clear pit stops to aim for, principles that can be explored and embodied and practised, and this is what we focus on. We go one step at a time.
And time is against us, of course, as in any mountaineering expedition. We cannot possibly share everything we want to in the time we have available, and expect anyone to be able to usefully understand, process and integrate it. Our challenge for this training is to distil healthcare clowning down into what is essential. We need to empty our backpacks and travel light.
Igor led the first three days before I arrived so by the time I got here, the group were already at basecamp, inspired, acclimatised and ready to go with a solid grounding in clown language. Now, after our next three days with the group and more time for acclimatisation, we are planning our 5 day residency. This will take us to the proverbial Hilary Step…and conditions allowing our first sessions in hospital.
I am a therapeutic clown and performer. Writing here is part of my wider practice and maybe some of my thoughts will trigger some thoughts of your own and I hope that helps.