At Hearts & Minds we have decided to call what we do Therapeutic Clowning. Healthcare Clowning or Hospital Clowning doesn't sufficiently describe us, not only because the work that we do isn't limited to healthcare settings we work in schools and at Maggies Centres too. But not only that. Want to emphasise that what we do has a therapeutic effect that goes beyond entertainment.
It is perhaps important to emphasise the use of the adjective here: Therapeutic.
My Collins English Dictionary says that:
If something is therapeutic, it helps you to relax or to feel better about things, especially about a situation that made you unhappy.
As distinct from the noun Therapy:
Therapy is the treatment of someone with mental or physical illness without the use of drugs or operations.
We are absolutely not therapists. We are not curative. But we encourage the participants we visit to activate their inner resources and resilience through meaningful connection, empowerment, play and laughter (Clowning).
It is part of a wider conversation we are having about how we communicate what we do to people who don't see it, how we raise our profile not only as a charity, but also as a profession in the UK.
This is just the beginning!
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.