What is a Therapeutic Clown?
Therapeutic Clowns Canada is a network of professional therapeutic clown practitioners working in health care facilities and in communities across Canada. Our network comprises over 45 individuals working in a variety of different settings within the health-care field.
We define a professional therapeutic clown as one who:
is specifically trained to work in the health care field
abides by a code of ethics
is committed to being a regular presence in the health care setting
collaborates routinely with other members of the health care team
engages in on-going training and development
receives appropriate remuneration for the work
The members of our network reflect the richness and diversity of clowns working professionally in health care in Canada. All network members go by the title of therapeutic clown, whether they choose to work as a medically- based character, such as a Clown Doctor, or not. Our members work in solo and duo models, and are both verbal and non-verbal. We work with all age groups from babies to seniors.
"With their focus on the imaginative and the creative, therapeutic clowns offer new opportunities for play and laughter, for self-expression and self-acceptance, for mastery and empowerment, and for moments of tenderness and comfort. We believe that these interactions have an impact on everyone's experiences and perceptions, and thus help to humanize the health care setting.
We honour and respect those we serve (patient, resident, family and staff), and offer ourselves as resources they may freely choose to access. We believe that we are co-creators with them, and that the joy, creativity, tenderness, and wealth of benefits arising from our exchanges are a collective creation of all involved. As therapeutic clowns, we see our role as being supportive and inspirational in nature, facilitating and encouraging emotional well-being. The patient, resident, family or staff member is the one whose imagination and creativity we wish to foster, celebrate and set free."
(from the statement of Principles of CATC/ACCT*)
* Therapeutic Clowns Canada was formerly a professional association called the “Canadian Association of Therapeutic Clowns/ L’Association Canadienne des Clowns Therapeutiques” (CATC-ACCT). It was founded in 2005 with 27 charter members. In 2012, the membership, then 45 members from across Canada, voted to relieve the administrative load of maintaining an Association in favour of establishing a professional network comprised of the same individuals. This is who we are today, The Therapeutic Clowns Canada Network.