Clown Doctors in NYC

The Clown Doctors in NYC article was quite interesting. Clown doctors in pediatric wards in NYC hospitals aided in spiritual healing among the children and families there. While they don’t actually do any of the work a physician would do like surgeries or treatments they are arguably just as important to the healing process. The clowns use a variety of techniques they have rehearsed for various situations. Puppets, ventriloquism, sleight of hand and other ‘magic’ tricks, as well as using symbols of the societies’ medical systems to manipulate the power of suggestion or the placebo effect. Most if not all of the tricks performed are rehearsed to make it appear that the clown is the incompetent one and the butt of the joke will always fall on the clown never anyone in the room. The tricks are designed to make the clowns seem silly and that the child is in charge.

The clown doctors worked along side trained physicians in a seemingly normal hospital setting. Granted it was the pediatric ward and i’m sure there were some pretty awful things that were seen but it’s also why it seemed to have the most success. The clown doctors would always try to display anti-cultural norms for the hospital settings. They would be loud and boisterous in a quiet , solemn, waiting room or be goofing around making faces behind the physician. All attempts to break the normal, dreary, feeling one would experience in that setting and uplift the spirits of those around. The article explained how children are far more susceptible to the notion of “magic” or how a clown doctor could “squeak” away the pain before or after a procedure. They could make the child laugh and essentially forget about the pain. In this healthcare setting the clown doctors are used to try to enhance the efficacy of biomedicines by aiding in the mental and spiritual healing.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Valencia Smith says:

    I thought that the Clown Doctors in NYC article was interesting as well. Compared to doctors, they don’t do any actual work of a physician. However, their sole purpose is to lift the spirits of families and patients who are having tough times dealing with their health related problems. Personally, I wouldn’t seek the help of a Clown Doctor, but I think it just depends on a family and their beliefs. In the case of young children, I do think it is important to keep their spirits lifted and take their minds off of what they are going through but I also believe that that could be done by the family themselves. I just feel like in tough times, your family and friends are needed the most. Clown doctors seem to not be legitimate to me. I can’t say that it’s extremely effective because just because someone is happy and filled with laughter, doesn’t mean that physically they are getting better. But then again, spiritual healing is a great thing and I’m not saying that healing in this way is not helpful to a person, but I think there are different ways to go about it. But that comes back to beliefs and how your family goes about dealing with certain health issues.

  2. holechri says:

    I like the idea of clowns being used in healing wards for children in hospitals. The affects of the clown on the person are more of a spiritual sense in that it alters their mood and removes the stress of the lifestyle and surroundings in a hospital. The hospital is definitely not one of the more welcoming of places which means being cramped within the halls and rooms with other places for extended or indefinite periods of time would be difficult. The use of these flows to lighten the atmosphere for the children, especially those with terminal conditions, would be a huge uplift to the spirit of the kids. I can see this being a good nonprescription manner in dealing with things such as depression, anxiety, and provide the body and immune systems with more energy to fight. Right on clowns, Right on!

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