The Laughing Body: the Art of Care

August 18-25, 2024 | Hillsboro, WV


The Experience

We invite you to spend a week dedicated to reflection, play, and rediscovering the joyful and creative potential of our body and of our inner Nature (our soul), while basking in the wonderful outdoors of the Gesundheit Institute in beautiful West Virginia.

It’s a week dedicated to the art of care, as a way to better understand ourselves, discover our body, explore Nature, and reflect on the different facets of care.

We’ll take in nature and learn the art of forest bathing, communal living, sharing, and explore how to better take care of ourselves and of others through play, water activities, clowning, meditation, and group reflection.

It’s an invitation to rediscover our inner and outer Laughing Body, and better appreciate the Art of Care. No experience is required. Dr. Patch Adams will come to visit us for two days.




Art of Care: As a way to better understand ourselves, discover our body, and reflect on “Care”.

Living in Community: A week dedicated to exploring the possibilities of communal living.

The Laughing Body , the Listening Body : An invitation to rediscover our inner and outer Laughing Body. The body jumps and plays, senses and appreciates itself and its environment. It’s an invitation to explore our bodies through listening and interacting with nature. This workshop focuses on tuning in with one’s awareness and one’s connection with the natural surroundings.

Earth and Walking meditation: A celebration of our union with nature, and how we care for it, along with the environment and others.  A focus on our awareness and the intelligence of nature.

Humanitarian Clowning 101: An exploration of your sense of curiosity, vulnerability, silliness, joyfulness, and simple clown techniques. 

Extraordinary and the ordinary: humor and clowning in all environments, being in the present, wonder/imagination, and mindfulness. We will learn how to build and organize a volunteer clown group.

Mind-Body Medicine: An interactive group exercise to reflect on how we suffer, as well as share how we heal and how we grow in mind, body, and spirit, in community and within ourselves. 



Who is offering this?

Facilitators and presenters include:  

Patch Adams — Entered medical school in 1967 to use medicine as a vehicle for social change; promotes and practices living a life of public joy as a revolutionary act; fountain of ideas for avoiding burn-out in long-term social justice and health. Enthusiator.

Patrick Harris — Psychotherapist and college professor residing in Austin, TX . He has a BA in Psychology and Religious Studies, MA in Counseling, and a PhD is Mind-body Medicine, and sits on the board of directors forthe Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor.

Rachel Kessler — Rachel Kessler is a long time visual artist and a nationally recognized workshop facilitator for adults in caring fields. She is focused on meaningful engagement, creative play, and the appreciation of nature and community. She currently resides in Portland Oregon.

Matthew Fielder — Artist, clown, performer, educator, Matthew Fielder has been working in the areas of performance, experimental theater, puppetry, animation and the visual arts for 20+ years. His philosophy and practice are rooted in “heartfelt being”-compassion, self-world connection, nature communication, “material play”, creative spirit, and artistic discovery.


Who is invited?

You are! Though we do focus primarily on healthcare provider burnout, there is no prior background or experience required. Just a positive attitude, an open mind, concern for the welfare of others, and willingness to curiously step outside of your comfort zone!



General Information

Early Bird Price | $850. Price increases to $925 after June 1st. This covers tuition, room, board and transportation pick up & return. Scholarships are not available. Be Prepared to pay your $200 deposit to confirm your participation.

Where? | The program takes place on the Gesundheit Institute’s 320 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with mountain trails, waterfalls, extensive gardens, and a lake. Gesundheit’s project-in-progress is a  unique model of holistic health care that will serve as an inspiration for us to coax each other to dream big—in our personal lives, in our community involvement, and in our contributions to global peace and justice

Facilities | Gesundheit lays on a pristine tract of farm and mountain land in rural West Virginia. The dacha, with its onion domes and Russian architecture, serves as a residence and meeting place, and has won awards for its unique design. PHOTO 5

Meeting Spaces | Gesundheit Institute offers many unique meeting spaces and classrooms. There are quiet spaces for meditation or study and large rooms to house workshops and classes. Gesundheit hosts events focused on education—at the site of the future hospital and elsewhere.

Accommodations | Accommodations are in dormitory-style group settings. There are laundry machines at Gesundheit that you can use. We offer very slow WIFI (cannot download, cannot use skype, sorry!). Clean sheets and towels are provided.

Travel | Please meet us in West Virginia and arrive by the early evening of August 18th. You can plan to leave Gesundheit on Sunday, August 25th. We will only be providing breakfast on August 25th.

Continuing Education Credits | 8 hours of CEUs are available for LPCs and LMFTs licensed in the state of Texas only, a certificate reflecting these hours will be sent upon completion of the course for an additional $50.

⇒ Gesundheit staff will shuttle people to and from the train station in White Sulphur Springs and the airport in Lewisburg on Sunday, August 18th and Sunday, August 25th only. 



How Do I Apply?

2024 REGISTRATION IS OPEN! $75 OFF Early Bird Discount until June 1st (must pay in full to receive discount)

Space for this course is limited. We register participants on a first come first serve basis and Gesundheit! courses are known to fill up quickly. If you would like to participate as a clown, here’s how:

Registration consists of 2 parts.

  1. Registration form: Please take a moment to fill out the registration form and make your payment by Credit Card or Bank Transfer. We are only accepting 20 participants and we suggest you submit your application as soon as possible to guarantee your spot. Be prepared to pay your $200 deposit to confirm your participation.
  2. Please Send your Final Payment by July 30 to confirm your participation to workshops in August. Scholarships are not available. 

Questions ?

Please Contact: Patrick at

Patch Adams MD & Gesundheit Institute, P.O. Box 307, Urbana, IL 61803

© Copyright 2024 Gesundheit! Institute