The unique Dream Doctors project integrates professional medical clowning into the medical services provided at Israeli hospitals. Established in 2002, the Dream Doctors Project is now operating at 20 hospitals throughout the country, with 70 medical clowns working in various pediatric wards and clinics.
The Dream Doctors’ vision is to expand the number of patients benefiting from Dream Doctors and to transform Clowning Therapy into an officially recognized and firmly established paramedical profession acquired through a specialized academic training program.
The project aims to develop Clowning Therapy by promoting academic research in this field and establishing a professional community. Towards this aim, it has created a unique BA program in Clowning Therapy at Haifa University that is currently expanding into an MA program as well. Hopefully, fulfilling this vision in Israel will create a global model for Clowning Therapy.
Dream Doctors are integrated into the multidisciplinary medical staff within hospital departments. As expressive arts therapists and paraprofessional caregivers, the Dream Doctors make a unique contribution to patients’ treatment, recovery and rehabilitation processes. They transform patients’ and families’ hospitalization experience into a less traumatic and more pleasant experience.
Widely acknowledging the Dream Doctors’ benefits to patients, families and caretakers, medical staff and administration cooperate fully with project. Through this symbiosis, an innovative approach to patient care is developing at participating hospitals, perceiving medical clowning as an integral part of the treatment scheme.
Dream Doctors operate at the following units, among others: internal care, surgery, intensive care, operating rooms, day-hospitalization clinics, diabetes clinics, HIV-AIDS clinics, external care, rehabilitation, dialysis, day care centers for autistic children, oncology, premature baby wards, center for child victims of sexual abuse and psychiatric wards.
Bridging between People and Cultures
Hospitals in Israel are multicultural meeting grounds, for "veteran Israelis" and new immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia, ultra-Orthodox and secular Jews, Bedouin, Druse and Israeli Arabs all encounter each other in the medical centers. It is not uncommon for an Israeli child to share a room in an oncology department with a Palestinian child.
Dream Doctors play a unique role in facilitating cross-cultural liaisons mediating across religious, ethnic and national lines. Their expressive abilities enable them to bridge between opposites, calm fears, elicit smiles and inspire trust in the medical team and the treatment process. It is quite often impossible to treat certain children without the presence of a Dream Doctor who mediates between the patients and the ‘white jackets.’
The Dream Doctors Project was established and operates under the
sponsorship of the Philnor Foundation and the Magi Foundation ( registered non-profit associations).