1st Edition

Circus Psychology An Applied Guide to Thriving Under the Big Top

By Fleur van Rens Copyright 2023
    150 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The lives of circus artists can be mentally and physically demanding. Circus Psychology: An Applied Guide to Thriving Under the Big Top is an evidence-based guide to nurturing the mental health of circus artists while enabling them to perform at the peak of their capacities.

    The book is organised into three accessible sections: mental health in circus, optimising the circus environment to facilitate thriving, and mental skills for thriving in circus. The first section introduces general mental health concepts, provides insight into the mental health of circus artists, the stress process, and the role of psychological resilience and perfectionism in mental health. The second section offers insight into motivation and engagement in circus, the features of a psychologically safe circus environment, and advice on psychologically supportive talent development environment. The final section explains, applies, and provides practice material for mental skills, including goal setting, self-talk, mental imagery, arousal regulation, and visual anticipation.

    Written by Dr Fleur van Rens, a circus artist and lecturer in sport psychology, this book is an essential resource for those passionate about the mental health of amateurs and professionals in the circus industry.

    SECTION 1: Mental health in circus 1. An introduction to mental health 2. The mental health of circus artists 3. Stress, mental health, and performance in circus SECTION 2: Optimising the circus environment to facilitate thriving 4. Engaging circus students 5. Creating a circus environment that nurtures psychological wellbeing 6. Sustainable talent development in circus SECTION 3: Mental skills for thriving in circus 7. Goal setting and self-talk in circus 8. Mental imagery in circus 9. Relaxation and arousal regulation in circus 10. Psycho-perceptual motor skills and visual anticipation in circus. Epilogue.


    Dr Fleur van Rens is a circus artist and a lecturer in sports psychology at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia.