Fear of Clowns

Clowns should be funny. Clowns should bring happiness, but for a large number of children and a growing number of adults the fear of clowns may seem like a fear of childhood. The technical name for this phobia is Coulrophobia.

A recent event that asked those planning to attend to dress like clowns caused an incredible amount of anxiety and cancellations from those who fear clowns.

A surprising number of children admit to having a strong fear of clowns. Those clowns that visit hospitals will generally wait at a child’s doorway. They will only enter when invited by the child.

What causes the fear of clowns?

There have been horror movies depicting clowns as objects of horror. This has likely contributed to the fear of clowns. That being said there has always been a sense of mistrust behind the white paint, elaborate smile and honky nose.

The role of a clown is intended to be elaborate and over the top. There is an intimidation factor associated with this style of entertainment.  Some have even discussed the same fear about visiting Santa as children. The experience seems unnatural and very uncomfortable. While statistics on the subject are not universal some suggest the fear of clowns may be as high as one in every seven individuals.

The general consensus among experts is that the fear of clowns is almost always attributed to a traumatic event or clown encounter prior to the age of seven.  That fear in childhood convinces even adults to express an unnatural fear of clowns.

Signs of Coulrophobia

Many phobias express similar outward symptoms. Coulrophobia is not unlike other debilitating fears.

  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Feelings of dread
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Crying or screaming
  • Anger at being placed in the situation

There is a video link at the bottom of this article that provides visual clues as to how many may respond to the presence of a clown – even if it is a picture or clown statue.

Overcoming the Fear of Clowns

Numerous therapies are available for the coulrophobe. This can include sessions with a therapist including hypnotherapy. Many will work to introduce the coulrophobe to clowns in various configurations. They will introduce pictures, statues, marionettes and actual clowns. The responses may be varied, but a trusted therapist can help you understand your emotions and address the irrational nature of the fears you may experience during the process.

When individuals feel safe in this process they may be more willing to address the issues with exceptional bravery and profound courage.

Unlike other fears Coulrophobia is a fear of something that is not a naturally occurring phenomena. What this means is that it may also be easy for the coulrophobe to simply work at avoiding social settings where a clown may be present. It doesn’t necessarily alleviate the fear, but this fear may be less debilitating because those who fear clowns realize that this fear is not naturally occurring in the majority of settings they will encounter.

Parents should understand that clowns that are supposed to instill a sense of joy in the life of your child might actually be instilling a lifelong fear. It may prove worthwhile to discuss clowns with your child before visiting the local circus. Understanding that the clown is an elaborate costume may help the child accept what is supposed to be seen as something fun.

Do you avoid the circus because of your fear of clowns? Have you involuntarily gasped and felt panic when you spot one in an unexpected place? How are you dealing with this phobia? If you’ve mastered this fear do you have any tips you can share?

Coulrophobia – Fear Of Clowns Video

The fear of clowns is also referred to as:

  • clown phobia
  • fear of clowns phobia name
  • clown fears
  • phobia of clowns
  • clown phobia coulrophobia
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