The Lakeland Mirror

Breaking down the psychology of clown madness

Alexia+Samsal%2C+sophomore+psychology+major%2C+is+shocked+when+she+finds+out+there+have+been+clown+sightings+on+campus.
Alexia Samsal, sophomore psychology major, is shocked when she finds out there have been clown sightings on campus.

Alexia Samsal, sophomore psychology major, is shocked when she finds out there have been clown sightings on campus.

Emma Schad

Emma Schad

Alexia Samsal, sophomore psychology major, is shocked when she finds out there have been clown sightings on campus.

Emma Schad, Copy Editor

Due to the multiple clown sightings on campus within the past few weeks, it has become apparent who is “afraid” of clowns.

The fear of clowns, coulrophobia, is an uncommon phobia. Elizabeth Stroot, professor of psychology, said, “Thankfully, the vast majority of people who are ‘afraid’ of clowns do not have a true phobia. Nonetheless, they may feel uncomfortable around clowns.”

Stroot went on to explain how it might not be the clowns the students are “afraid” of but rather coinciding factors. She stated, “If [students] only recently become ‘afraid’ as a result of the bizarre clown hysteria that’s sweeping our country, then I suspect they’re more afraid for their personal safety and dislike the unpredictability of the situation, rather than a fear of clowns per se.”

There is an effective treatment to deal with phobias, such as coulrophobia, called systematic desensitization. Stroot explained the process by saying, “In the presence of a trained practitioner, the person is exposed to increasingly intense instances of the phobic object — all while deeply relaxed. The key is exposure, and this treatment works precisely because it is impossible to be simultaneously both anxious/afraid and relaxed.”

However, if a student is dealing with a “full-blown clown phobia to the extent that the symptoms are interfering with his or her ability to function and are causing significant distress, the student should consider seeking help from our counseling center,” said Stroot.

Stroot advises students to “keep a level head.” She further explained, “If you find yourself worrying and obsessing about clowns, stop — and substitute a physical activity (five jumping jacks or clean your room, for example) or a mental activity (sudoku or read a poem).”

If you’re someone who is deeply “afraid” of clowns and wants this craziness to end, be aware that it won’t until people stop giving attention to the situation. The more attention given, the more the clowns will “thrive.”

For more information about the phobia of clowns, contact Stroot at strootea@lakeland.edu, or if you are experiencing distress due to the clowns, contact Cary Knier, director of counseling services, at knierca@lakeland.edu.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Leave a Comment

The Lakeland Mirror editors invite readers to comment on all articles. Comments will be moderated by editors. Inappropriate or libelous comments will not be published.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




*

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Breaking down the psychology of clown madness

    Events

    Old and new Betas celebrate heritage

  • Breaking down the psychology of clown madness

    News

    Bajczyk’s departure highlights residence life restructuring

  • Breaking down the psychology of clown madness

    Art & Features

    Senior Kapla shows love for art

  • Breaking down the psychology of clown madness

    Mens Basketball

    Gallery: Muskies beat Marian on Senior Night

  • Breaking down the psychology of clown madness

    Art & Features

    Gallery: Work from three senior art majors displayed

  • Breaking down the psychology of clown madness

    Opinions

    Drunk students need safe transportation

  • Breaking down the psychology of clown madness

    News

    Shuttle service for JB’s cancelled

  • Breaking down the psychology of clown madness

    News

    2017 December graduates named and honored

  • Breaking down the psychology of clown madness

    Sports

    Muskies basketball takes on Aurora: Men lose, women win

  • Breaking down the psychology of clown madness

    Art & Features

    International student experiences Greek life

Official Lakeland University Student Online Newspaper.
Breaking down the psychology of clown madness