From Clay to Creative: Clay and the Expressive Therapies Continuum

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Medlock, Emily
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
With its rich history, natural occurrence, functionality, and creative capabilities, clay has offered vast potential in the field of art therapy. This mixed methods study utilized art interventions with pre- and post-assessments, a questionnaire, and a personal reflection of the researcher’s experience of the interventions to investigate the therapeutic nature of clay and the pottery process within the framework of the Expressive Therapies Continuum (ETC). The clay-based interventions aimed to encourage functioning within each level of the ETC, a trusted framework for art therapy treatment, while following the pottery process. The results indicated that clay possesses the ability to elicit healing and emergent functions in each of these levels, which encouraged a broader application of clay-based art interventions in the field of art therapy. For adults with mental health issues, clay was used within each level of the ETC as an alternative form of treatment for their symptoms.