The Role of the Inner Clown


I had the distinct opportunity last week to meet with Jeff Gordon, an international Happiness Trainer and master of the Role of the Clown. Recently he’s been spending his days doing workshops with local entrepreneurs in Northern Israel. He is teaching people the benefits of connecting to one’s Inner Clown. What purpose is there in that? Well, just see what Jeff said when I asked him to describe the Inner Clown.

SMF: Jeff, how would you describe the Inner Clown?

Jeff: The role of the “Inner Clown” puts us in another space — internally and externally, physically and emotionally — therefore creating a new frame of thinking and acting. Once having invoked this role, we can move in and out of it whenever we choose and draw upon its strength to allow for more spontaneity, flexibility, renewed energy, increased humor and expanded creativity. Teachers use it to break the familiar teacher-student reaction, raise class attention, or as a catalyst to release tension in the classroom. Managers use it to provoke new debate while changing employee communication. Therapists use it to lighten their presence and allow for and encourage more play. It empowers us, encourages us to face challenges, helps us confront the conventional and repetitive way of doing things and, in doing so, enables us to discover more effective solutions to unresolved issues. In Clown role, we can break the tension in an existing situation, release pressure, and allow laughter to guide the processes we are involved with.

The “Inner Clown” emerges at the point at which our socially and intentionally constructed masks fall away, allowing our authentic selves to be expressed, freed from the need to define ourselves and follow convention and habit. At that point, there is no longer a division between our inner and outer being, no longer a conflict between contradictory aspects of our personality. In Clown role, we can be totally who we are, comfortable in our vulnerability, beyond self criticism and judgement, without fear of others’ perceptions of us, outwardly flowing. In Clown role, we embrace paradox, we can be seriously funny, sadly happy, confidently insecure, a wise fool. We can paint a world using all the colors of the palette and celebrate the naïveté of a child, while being a fully conscious adult. We can play uninhibitedly in the present, unchain ourselves from the past, fearlessly meet the future, laugh uncontrollably at the absurdities of life, celebrate the elements of surprise, and reconnect to the deep love and compassion that makes us all fully human.


Jeff Gordon has a background in Community/Social Theater, Drama Therapy and Clowning (medical/therapeutic). He has worked with diverse populations in a variety of settings, both in Israel and abroad. He established Happiness Training for educating individuals, groups and organizations to be happier. As a result, they are more successful in both their personal and professional lives. His work is in four key areas, personal development, education, health and in the workplace. Central to Jeff’s work is the Role of the Clown, and it’s application and relevance for teachers, therapists and trainers/facilitators. Connect with your Inner Clown by contacting Jeff at

About Shimshon Meir Frankel

Rabbi Shimshon Meir Frankel is a clinical psychologist and founder and president of the Chedva Institute for Relationship Enrichment. He was trained at the Michigan School of Professional Psychology and has been working privately for nearly twenty years. His rabbinic studies -- along with extensive coursework in communication, child development, and group dynamics -- help Rabbi Frankel guide others seeking to actualize their potentials and form healthy relationships. Rabbi Frankel founded the Chedva Institute for Relationship Enrichment to provide worldwide access to experts specializing in the various challenges faced by those in relationships. He lives with his wife and children in Northern Israel.
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