Dream Doctors Training
The medical clowns participating in the Dream Doctors Project are performing artists active in street theatre, clowning, drama and professional theatre.
The medical clown training is based on four elements:
- Therapeutic (expressive therapies)
- Artistic (clowning, drama, acting, and the like)
- Medical and nursing
Following is a description of some of the training activities and support programs provided for our medical clowns:
1. Academic studies for an undergraduate degree from the University of Haifa
In October 2006, we inaugurated an undergraduate track with the University of Haifa, a unique studies program leading to an undergraduate degree (B.A.).
For the 20 or so Dream Doctors (out of more than 70) who lacked an academic degree, the dual-major studies track for medical clowning using the Dream Doctors approach, is being administered by the University of Haifa’s Department of Theatre and the Department of Nursing. The Dream Doctors study theoretical and practical courses in theatre; nursing; psychology; and social studies.
We are currently working hard with the University of Haifa to prepare a Master’s Degree program in Psychodrama and Psychotherapy under the auspices of the University’s Graduate School of Creative Arts Therapies.
For contact the Theatre Department Secretary, Ms. Tal Landeshut, 04-824-9242.
2. Annual seminars
Each year, three seminars are held for the medical clowns: one lasts one week, and two are weekend seminars, with lectures, workshops, and activities relating to clowning, drama, psychology and medicine. The goal is to enrich the group by inculcating professional tools and develop the clowns’ “toolbox” for their work in the hospitals.
An important issue which we will be discussing is modes and ways of integrating the clowns into the medical teams as part of the multidisciplinary staff. To this end, we invite physicians, nurses and social workers to our seminars, to examine new ways to collaborate as part of the practical work on the hospital wards.
3. Professional in-service training workshops
We hold professional in-service training workshops in psychology and in the arts. For example, Dr. Gili Peleg of the University of Haifa, gave a workshop on palliative care to all of the clowns. The workshop imparted tools and know-how on the subject, “The dying patient,” which the clowns deal with in their work, especially in the oncology units. On the artistic level, the clowns have Master Classes with world-renowned clowns invited to Israel for the class.
4. Psychological support and mentoring
A psychologist accompanies the group to provide individual and group response to issues that arise on the job. The Dream Doctors meet with the psychologist over a period of several months as part of the work teams to analyze psychologically complex individual and group situations.
5. Monitoring and control
Each medical clown must fill out a daily report of hours worked on the Dream Doctors Project website and participate in the Dream Doctors Forum. This is a professional online forum in which the medical clowns share professional know-how and experience, provide mutual support and transmit current information. The Forum provides full transparency and enables continuous learning by clowns from the experiences of other medical clowns.