themselves are not complete novices. The researchers say they
have been trained to understand each child's medical history,
social history and emotional history. "Indeed, the clowns become
a fully integrated part of the medical team and may be present
during medical examinations and on the journey to the operating
room," write the researchers.
And it's not only the children who the clowns help. The
researchers say parents and other caregivers are reassured by
the clowns' interaction with the children that the kids still
are capable of fantasy and play despite the suffering they
experience. This, the researchers say, relieves a bit of the
stress that parents undergo as they watch helplessly.
"Clowns can help children to understand their feelings and
thoughts and express them, to preserve and protect the freedom
of their imagination and the liberty of their psychic play, and
help them confront their cancer without excessive mental
suffering or enduring damage," the researchers conclude.