Our therapeutic clown program, La Belle Visite, promotes humour in health care settings, both in Montreal and Quebec City… but making people laugh is not our only goal!
Designed for the elderly living in long-term care residences, this program promotes reminiscing, the lightening of moods, enabling relationships and socialization, and stimulating the imagination. The therapeutic clowns are all members of the elegant, funny and charming Labelle family. The characters and the costumes they wear are inspired by the 1930’s, 40’s and 50‘s, harkening back to the cultural context known to the elders in their youth. This artistic approach helps the elderly remember these years through song, dance, fashion, good manners and gallantry. Above all, the artists are there to listen to the people they meet, ask for advice and take advantage of their rich experience in many spheres of life, such as family, education, homemaking, personal finance, marriage, etc. This approach allows the elders to be competent and helpful, it values their life experience and opens their perspective to the world in which they now live.
In paediatric hospitals, therapeutic clowns meet children of all ages, from babies who are just a few weeks’ old, to young children and teenagers. They have to adapt to different physical and psychological conditions as well as various cultures.
Hospitalized children have to face the tedious and often painful routine of treatments associated with their condition. Added to this is getting used to an environment that is strange and unknown to them, sometimes away from their parents and personal comforts.
In line with the health-care plan, where every action is measured, the clown offers free and spontaneous play. They bring life and the license to be a child back to the five-year old, the three-month old baby, as well as to the adult staff who take care of them.
Our Dr Clown interventions always aim to empower children by offering them a choice. The child has the freedom to decline the visit of the clowns. By accepting this refusal, the clowns help build a feeling of freedom and mutual trust. Also through role play or improvisation, patients can express negative feelings such as pent up frustration from days or weeks of hospitalisation. This can be as therapeutic as a smile or a burst of laughter.