Why are we scared of clowns and how can coulrophobia be overcome?

Never fear! Phobias can be treated

While phobias are not formally diagnosed, most phobias can be successfully treated and cured. It is best to go to your GP if you have a phobia which you feel interferes with your day-to-day life. They might recommend a combination of psychotherapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which aims to change patterns of negative thoughts and behaviours.

Adam shares a tip for phobics (people with phobias) who have a fear of clowns specifically:

“The key is to acknowledge that there is a real person behind the mask – and they often they are very shy,” he said.

“Most people that want to be clowns genuinely want to make people laugh and smile, but don’t feel they can do it as themselves. The clown costume gives them a persona in which they can be more extroverted.”

Attending a clowning workshop where you watch a person become their clown persona might be an example of a way to unlearn fear associated with clowns.

“Once the phobic connects with the shy and vulnerable person behind the clown costume, then they might feel sorry for the person rather than fear,” Adam adds.

But he also reminds us that context is important: “Obviously, this doesn’t apply to those that feature in killer clown videos, as their motive is to create shock or fear as a result of their costume.”

Depending on the type of phobia, avoidance of or exposure to the thing you’re scared of might make the phobia worse – so it is always best to consult a GP, as they can recommend the best path to take to treat it.

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