Are you afraid of clowns?

The fear of clowns (Coulrophobia) can be debilitating in many ways and can cause people to avoid situations where they fear one may appear. But did you know that 1 in 10 adults admit to being scared of clowns in one way or another?

This fear can even lead to a phobia and can stem from various situations in childhood, for example:

  • Watching a parent or someone react in fear of a clown.
  • Watching movies featuring clowns that were created to be scary. Viewing this as a child and believing it to be real, not having the cognition to process that it was created for entertainment.
  • Attending a circus and being approached by a clown, with perhaps a feeling of humiliation.
  • Being taken unaware by a masked figure
  • Birthday parties, Halloween parties and trick-or-treating.

A fear can be created due to seeing the familiarity of a human face, but unfamiliarity in the exaggerative elements of the costume or make-up causing a feeling of unease or distress.

The great news is, you weren’t born scared of clowns so it CAN be overcome. Here are some tips that might help:

  • See the origin for that it was, not how it felt at the time. E.g. If you saw someone scared of a clown, it was their fear, not yours. If you were at a circus and the clown approached you, consider that he didn’t do anything wrong, his job was to interact with audience members. Anything you may have seen in movies is often created by special effects and embellished to be visually captured.

Look at the evidence which is:

  • When you see a clown, it is a human being with human feelings simply dressed up as a character to make you laugh and smile! They often appear in children’s hospitals to make the patients happy. They would never allow anything scary or dangerous in a children’s hospital!

Living with coulrophobia can be extremely challenging, however, you are not alone. Here at Trauma Research UK, our belief is, ‘it’s not what’s wrong with you, it’s what happened to you’. With this philosophy, we believe that everyone can successfully overcome their mental health issues if given the right help and support. Read more…



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