Fear ex­pert sends in the clowns to help com­bat rise of ‘coul­ro­pho­bia’

Irish Independent - - News - Al­li­son Bray

A HYPNOTHERAPIST will be send­ing in the clowns to com­bat the grow­ing phe­nom­e­non of ‘coul­ro­pho­bia’ this Hal­loween.

Adam Cox is host­ing what is billed as “The World’s First Work­shop to Com­bat Killer Clown Fears” later this month. His clinic on Lon­don’s Har­ley Street will fea­ture clients who suf­fer panic at­tacks and other forms of anx­i­ety from catch­ing a glimpse of a clown.

Thanks to the 2017 re-make of hor­ror mas­ter Stephen King’s 1990 film ‘It’, more peo­ple are run­ning scared than ever be­fore.

The so-called ‘killer clown craze’ that stormed the in­ter­net last year has also led to a surge in the num­ber of peo­ple suf­fer­ing from coul­ro­pho­bia, or fear of clowns. Mr Cox said: “Be­cause of ‘It’ and killer clowns, it is one of the fastest-grow­ing pho­bias.

“It’s be­cause the face paint rep­re­sents a mask, which hides hu­man emo­tion and gives an el­e­ment of anonymity.

“I’m ex­pect­ing clowns to be one of the pop­u­lar Hal­loween cos­tumes of this year and many teenagers will use the killer clown masks to cause may­hem anony­mously while trick or treat­ing. For those that have a fear of clowns this Hal­loween could be a real-life night­mare.”

A re­search study two years ago re­vealed that up to 12pc of the pop­u­la­tion have a fear of clowns, he said. Their re­ac­tions range from a rac­ing heart, sweat­ing or chills to full-on panic at­tacks and even heart at­tacks, he said.

To counter their fears, he will use var­i­ous hyp­no­sis and other pho­bia-bust­ing tech­niques like neu­rolin­guis­tic pro­gram­ming (NLP) that ul­ti­mately cul­mi­nates with send­ing in two ‘killer clowns’ to the work­shop on Novem­ber 25 so clients can con­front their worst fears. The cost of the work­shop is around €110.

Adam Cox

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