IDF disabled veterans and victims of terrorist acts
A pioneering program at the Hamama center
Rehabilitation Center for disabled veterans and victims of terror, developed by
David DuSH Barashi, an internationally renowned senior medical clown with the
Dream Doctors and clinical psychologist Yoram Ben Yehuda.
What is Restorative Clowning?
The Dream Doctor is blazing a new trail within a field of medical clowning through their joint initiative at the Hamama Center. Restorative Clowning works with post-trauma patients, IDF disabled veterans, survivors of hostile acts and bereaved populations. A therapeutic clown trained in this area can work with these vulnerable populations using
a variety of professional techniques and communication skills. The basis for the interaction is listening and processing information. This leads the patient to a healthier reality, helps them open up, and improves their interpersonal communication within a society where that are required to function on a daily basis. One of the most complex problems facing this population is a detachment from reality and from society, leading to isolation and a disconnect with the environment. The “clownish gaze” is the primary tool of the clown to create an immediate dialogue and establish a connection with the patient.
For this population, it can be very difficult to perform daily social functions but the presence and interaction of the medical clown alleviates the pressures of social codes, empowering the patients in their own abilities to communicate and interact with their environment. The clown creates an imaginary circle around him where each of the rehabilitated can join him and each add something unique and special. They find humor in themselves, confess their feelings and worries, and share their thoughts and hopes. They give each other permission to be honest and to be funny, helping release the tension.
Through their activities with the therapeutic clown they find a way to truly express themselves, which is a very valuable ability among members of this community, and they start to imagine the possibility of being rehabilitated.
The clown recognizes weakness and estrangement and can find a way to approach those in need, by presenting himself as needing attention. This makes the patient feel needed again. Restorative clowning drives patients to action, into healthy processes for patients dealing with PTSD.
This new subfield is a natural professional development of the medical clown character. These patients are existing in a reality of fear, pain, illness and coping with extreme situations. The unpredictable, provocative, vivacious, and theatrical character, a verbal character with humorous expressions and extensive use of parody is uniquely situated to communicate in various ways such as through eye contact, facial expression, using objects, body language and more. The clown has a unique and unexpected appearance which creates the image of the rehabilitating clown
The Dream Doctors Project at Hamama
Clinical Psychologist and Therapeutic Director of the Hamama Center, Yoram Ben-Yehuda, felt like after 6 years of activity at the center they were lacking something and he wanted to add another dimension to their work. They needed something special to address the aging population there, many of whom are suffering from several different medical and mental health concerns. As they were feeling themselves age, they were finding themselves sometimes stuck in the past, and were seeing their future diminishing before their eyes. After thinking about this problem for some time, Yoram came upon the idea of bringing therapeutic medical clowns into the center.
With this understanding The Dream Doctors Project leaded by David ‘DuSH’ Barashi began a 18 month Pilot at the center. ‘DuSH’ have been working there a weekly 3 ½ hour shift meeting with an average of 30 patients each time, including going twice a month for a social activity with the patients and meetings of the therapeutic professional staff.
The medical clown’s work plan was built together with the Professional Director of the Hamama Center, Psychologist Yoram Ben Yehuda. The idea is that, through humor and clown language, we can preserve and empower the desire of those who are rehabilitated for creation and action and connection to normative reality and routine.
“One day you realize that when he comes into the room, light, optimism and hope comes with him and a foolish grin spreads across your face…Finally, you find the clown within you, and with it, the power to make others better… For us military handicaps, post traumatics, and their caregivers, it is a gift beyond imagination,”
Yoram Ben Yehuda, Psychological Director of Hamama.
In the Eyes of the World I am just Somebody,
in the Eyes of just Somebody I am the Entire World…….