Using Clay Work to Help At-Risk Children Regulate Emotions

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Gerke, Gail
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
Little research is available pertaining to the use of clay in art therapy to help regulate emotions to improve the social and academic success of at-risk children. The following describes an experimental pilot study that compared the use of clay with the use of alternative art materials to help regulate emotions and improve behaviors of at-risk youth. While the limited study did not allow time to strengthen results to fully support the researcher’s hypotheses, some of the data collected supports the use of clay to help regulate emotions and improve behaviors. Subjects utilizing clay in art therapy showed a decrease in nine out of the ten negative behaviors evaluated and improvement in emotional regulation.