Phenomenological Research: Art Therapy

Chapter I: Introduction

A society with good human resource to increase productivity is the wish of every community; therefore, it must be free from psychosocial and physical complaints. This achievement is difficult to attain but not impossible. However, these societal problems have fallen into the hands of many disciplines in attempts to reduce their prevalence if not uprooting them to create a conducive environment for all individuals.

Art Therapy which falls under the field of psychology is one of the disciplines that has established itself to finding laudable solutions to these psychosocial and physical problems.

The participants of this research study are foreign international students who are coming from various countries all over the world, having different cultures, and speaking different languages. some of these international students some of them are from Mongolia, Uganda, Ghana, Mali, Pakistani, Russia, and Brazil and are enrolled at Yong In University, South Korea in Art Therapy master’s program.

Yong In University is composed a variety of international students, the researcher has intended to research on lived experience that experienced in art therapy class while using clay work by international students who are pursuing master’s degree in art therapy.

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This experience will help the researcher to understand deeper and get an essence of international students when using clay work in art therapy class.

Their aim of coming to South Korea particularly is to study art therapy with an intention of exploring how to deal with human beings through solving physical and psychological problems as far as concerned art therapy program is all about weaknesses of human beings, these international students soon completing their degree, they will go back in their home countries and introduce art therapy program in different parts such as institutions, hospitals, community centers etc.

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Apparently international students believed that art therapy has powers of healing and indeed it has power of healing.

Clay may be a natural product mamma from the planet, that has rotten from rock within the earth’s crust for millions of years. Decomposition occurs when water erodes the rock, breaks it down and deposits the eroded particles. The particle size of these minerals is extremely small. Because it is dependent on the type of rock that it decomposes from, clay is specific to a geographic area. Hence, different types of clays, every with its own particularities are found in several areas of the globe. ( htt://

Two properties of clay Clay differs from the dead earths and fine sand owing to its ability, when wet with the correct quantity of water, to make a cohesive mass and to retain its form when molded. This quality isknown as clay’s plasticity. A second property of clay is that of shrinkage and rigidity once air- dried or heated. The more water clays hold, the additional it’ll shrink once it dries. To prevent excessive shrinkage which will deform a finished piece, a potter will add in little quantities of materials that do not absorb water to the clay, like spar or flint, referred to as additives.

  • Additives: what are they for?

Different types of additives lend completely different qualities to the clay. Different types of clay can also be mixed together. Ingredients may be added to aid plasticity, change its fired coloration, or to lower or raise the firing temperature. To make the clay materials fuse higher, a flux may be added. A standard flux agent is wood ash, that was conjointly used extensively in Cambodian and Thai pottery as glazing. Sometimes potters conjointly use clay that has already been unemployed and so ground up to add to their mixture. This type of substance is called grog. Grog can be used to add color to a bit, moreover, as will flakes of rust or adding chemicals like manganese dioxide. The clay and additives are then mixed totally beside water to create a liquid mud, called slop. Once the ingredients are sufficiently blended, the slop must be air dried, so excess wetness might evaporate, otherwise the clay won’t have enough consistency to be shaped.

The clay body

The ensuing compound is that the clay body, though we tend to usually use the term clay to describe this material that’s wont to create pottery.

A third property of clay A third characteristic of clay is that once heated to high temperatures, it part melts, leading to the tight, laborious substance called ceramic material. The higher the temperatures, the more durable the clay becomes, looking on the sort of clay used. Firing also changes the color of the clay an makes it less porous. Thus, firing and sort of clay will influence the design and properties of the finished piece. Pottery, therefore, isn’t created solely from raw clay however a combination of clay and alternative materials, and clay bodies come in a wide spectrum of colors, from white, to red, to black, and many colors in between.

De-airing before shaping Before a lump of clay is intentional into a ceramic object, another step of preparation is needed.

Besides forming a malleable clay body with totally different additives, the befuddled clay has to be de-aired to get rid of any air unfree inside it, as air bubbles in the clay can cause cracks in the final product when it is fired. This is because the trapped air will expand within the hot oven atmosphere and typically even cause the thing to explode in the kiln, destroying other objects in the process. Nowadays, a machine known as a vacuum pug-dog mill is used, but in ancient times, a potter had to wedge it. This just means kneading the clay in different directions to push out the air bubbles. Wedging can even facilitate to make sure a good wetness content throughout the body. It is safe to mention that this method of kneading clay has probably remained the same for millennia.

Only in the end this {can be} done can the clay be formed into a desired object.

Pottery: an art and a science Pottery-making is a long process. In modern society, clay is readily bought, and ceramics can be mass produced. But imagine once potters had to dig their own clay from the banks of the watercourse, take away the minuscule impurities from it, mix it with numerous ingredients that they’d to gather themselves, fashion Associate in Nursing object from the ensuing clay compound, monitor the drying method, fabricate their own glazes, construct their own firing chambers (kilns), gather their own hearth wood and even sell their own products.

Little marvel then that the objects that have more responsible the ages currently command such respect from us; respect for his or her art and craft, for those anonymous, ancient potters, of whom we know so little.

©2018 Southeast Asia Ceramic Society

Clay is a natural substance that is made up of silicates, which are the main component of the clay body, and other materials such as fluxes, materials that control the density of the clay body (Peterson, 2000). Clay is a familiar material in art therapy and in psychotherapy. Many advocates the therapeutic potential of clay as a tool for advancing therapeutic processes in individual, and group therapies (e.g. Anderson, 1995; Mattes & Robbins, 1981). Others judge to clay-work diagnostic qualities in family and individual therapies (e.g. Jorstad, 1965, Kwiatkowska, 1978;Keyes, 1984).

A compound of decomposed rock containing silica, alumina and traces of organic matter, which becomes a plastic modeling compound when hydrated: used for making bricks, pottery (Henley, 2007, p. 21).

Clay facilitates a pregnant expertise of making one thing out of nothing and remodeling the merchandise into totally different forms. Simply by gently touching the lump of clay, the shopper leaves the imprint of his or her fingers thereon and therefore becomes absorbed in his or her ability to transforming the impact of his or her existence and presence on the here and now (Heimlich & Mark, 1990).

These imprints could also be understood as his or her personal signs within the world. This expertise is most evident during a shopper United Nations agency involves medical aid with feelings of loss and grief, and in several cases with feelings like helplessness. Heimlich & Mark (1990)

Engaging with clay is straightforward and the organic materiality of the medium provides a particular tactile appeal. Clay-work: The process of handling, manipulating, and sculpting clay, and the products of these activities (Sholt & Gavron, 2006, p. 66).

“Clay work is just like the Cinderella of the art therapies. She still waits to be discovered along with her magic, her beauty and her ability to remodel the wells of human suffering into places of insight and celebration. Her dark earthbound solid mass, typically showing in grayish, dark-brown or terracotta dress, is hardly enticing initially sight. Touching this sticky cold mass, you sense she encompasses a yearning and determination to merge along with your skin.” (Sherwood, 2010). Clay-work involves associate degree intense and powerful tactile expertise of touching and tactile involvement. Touch was known joined of the primary sensory responses to develop in humans (Frank, 1957; Ashley Montagu, 1978). Tactile contact is really the primary mode of communication that associate degree kid learns. For humans, the first stages of life area unit dominated by oral and skin contact between kid and caregiver (Hunter & Struve, 1998). Thus, clay-work involves an awfully primal mode of expression and communication. Touch in clay-work also requires body movements in endless opportunities for touching and modeling. Thus clay-work makes possible an entire non-verbal language or communication for the creator, through which his or her mental realm, emotional life, and primary object relations can be expressed.

The researcher chose to use concepts from attachment and object-relation theories to describe the inner processes that are relevant to clay-work. The central assumption of attachment theory is that humans form close emotional bonds with significant others (Bowlby, 1969, 1973, 1979, & 1980), which facilitate the development of mental representations of self and different, or “internal working models” (Pietromonaco & Barrett, 2000). According to attachment theory, there are two consecutive working models of attachment: an unconscious, fairly primitive model that a person develops during the early years of life, and later a second model, which is more sophisticated, linguistic and conscious. The two models operate simultaneously (Bowlby, 1979): mental representations regarding self and others develop from procedural and sensorimotor representations (Case, 1996; Crittenden, 1990) that have no linguistic coding because they were developed within the pre-verbal part (Nelson, 1996). Our assumption is that non-verbal modes of expression, including art, can function as a way of communicating these procedural representations. This is especially true with regard to clay-work, which taps into primary modes of communication and e.g. through bit) and is thereby joined to actual past recollections and feelings that were encoded through touch and movement. In this respect, clay-work may perform as a central window to those unconscious, non-verbal representations and will be particularly useful with folks that notice it arduous to specific themselves verbally or who are very defensive. It is advocated by many psychotherapists as one of the primary devices for helping clients to explore difficult concepts and express fundamental emotions in a non-verbal manner (Freud 2006). This research aims to understand deeper experience on the live experience based on international students most especially master’s students in art therapy class.

The researcher addressed the following research questions:

  • “What is the lived experience of international students while using clay work”
  • What is the essence of lived experience of International Student’s using clay work?

Upon scrutiny of other research works on clay, being qualitative or quantitative, there had not being any research work on the lived experiences of clay work. Those who tried to work on clay work practically left out its experiences, not even crossing over to talk about students’ lived experiences.

Some of the qualitative research works were about the therapeutic qualities of clay work and clay sculpture within an object relational therapy, in which phenomenological methodology was used but did not dive further to talk about the practical experiences of clay work. Other quantitative works were talking about the benefits, and effects of clay work.

All these research works were all talking about the application of clay work to the treatment of psychological problems such as psychosis, schizophrenia and depression. Their major aim was about the therapeutic qualities of clay work to patients, but not to explore the qualities of clay work which allows free will to come out with individual experiences, humans are unique, therefore, we must allow them to come out with their own experiences but not approaching set goals.

The lived experiences of future therapists who are undergoing training at the maters level of education have been overlooked, this brings to the ground the basis for this current research. This research bridges the gap existing in the works on the lived experiences of clay work on international students enrolled in master’s art therapy program.


Several factors apparently became impediments to this research study that could not be avoided. The research would have been stronger if participants were selected randomly. Therefore, the research lacked a number of participants because it was limited to be for only masters students whereby it affected the research. The research lacked enough place for interview because the researcher followed the participants view and choice whereby the space for interview would have been at campus grounds, rather than travelling long distances.

The third limitation addressed the idea that the participants might feel the need to “please the researcher.” The participants were informed of the study’s purpose when reading the provided informed consent form; however, throughout the interview there did not appear to be any participants who felt the need to ‘please the researcher’.

CHAPTER II: Background

Art therapy is best described as “the marriage of two disciplines: art and psychology” (Malchiodi, 2007, p.3). Art therapy allows clients to explore their presenting issues in a creative and safe environment. “The term ‘art therapy’ is a huge umbrella, covering the use of art expression for many purposes in a great variety of settings” (Wadeson, 1980, p. 14). Art therapists treat a variety of populations, including geriatrics, children, adolescents, prisoners, war veterans, and people with disabilities. Art therapists work in a variety of facilities, such as public-school systems, hospitals, prisons, nursing homes, and hospice centers.

Along with the different populations and settings that art therapy incorporates, art therapists utilize different models as well, including group therapy, individual therapy, family therapy, couples’ therapy, and the open studio model. Art therapy has long been a part of human life but was officially incorporated by Margaret Naumburg in the 1940s (Wadeson, 1980). Naumburg relied on psychoanalytic theories with her clients, allowing them to have free association with their artwork. Another pioneer in the field of Art therapy was Edith Kramer. Kramer allowed clients to experience the healing qualities of art with very little verbal response (1980).

When words are insufficient to express the pain and anger some clients may feel, these clients may use artistic materials to explore these emotions. “Verbal statements may not be reliable translations of our personal constructs or experiences. This suggests that in the therapy room, it may be useful to incorporate nonverbal methodology in order for the client’s world to be fully understood” (Hanieh & Walker, 2007, p. 184). Art therapy allows a client to focus on the creative process while the product itself takes on secondary importance (Ulman, 1961). Through the art making process, clients can engage in the release of emotions and energy known as catharsis. It is through this art that a client engages in the therapeutic process and is in part the main initiator in the therapeutic process. Art Therapy is used with clients experiencing mental health issues, trauma, grief, etc. Among the things that art therapy is used for is the treatment of the various forms of anxiety disorders.

Art therapy has drawn its foundations extensively from psychoanalysis. Its theories and methods of practice are therefore based primarily in that particular paradigm founded by Freud in the 1900’s. As Western culture is predominantly verbal, from the inception of psychoanalysis, practitioners have used the spoken language as the primary medium of therapeutic communication and expression (Wadeson, 1987). However, there has been an opening in psychotherapeutic practice to explore more widely differing forms of emotional expression, such as psychodrama, poetry, dance and art therapy (Dalley,

1984). In this manner, expressive art furthers the range of human experience by providing symbols which contain the power to evoke authentic emotions (Diers, 1999). The process of art therapy is based on the discovery that our most fundamental thoughts and feelings are derived from the unconscious and reach its fullest expression in images rather than words (Dally, 1984; Rubin, 1987). The ability and need to communicate is essential to being human, and when verbal expression are problematic, art can be used as a form of symbolic communication from the psyche. Freud was one of the first to propound that the ‘talking cure’ has its limitations since we have to rely on translating images into words (Diers, 1999).

Fundamental thoughts, feelings fantasies, fears and childhood memories are stored and derived from the unconscious (Naumberg, 1966) and often reach expression in images rather than words (Naumberg, 1987; Rubin, 1987). A trauma or difficult early relationships may lead to memories invested with a high level of emotional arousal. At the time of the trauma or early deprivation, the authentic affects and needs could not be expressed and became repressed into the unconscious. The memory and concomitant emotional response could not find expression and often reappears in the form of psychological symptoms and defenses. Therefore, the source of psychopathology is the repression of authentic feelings in the unconscious leading to a variety of neurotic symptoms and defenses.

It is posited that specific properties of clay such as its pliability naturally invite the expression of feelings. Clay is regarded as a very ‘forgiving’ medium. It is subject to endless change. Clay’s plasticity makes it a particularly apt material for evolving a process and experiencing change. Wadeson (1987) proposes that more than any other medium, clay invites the person to play, to feel, to shape and reshape without necessarily producing a finished object. Its tactile qualities can provoke expression of feeling through pounding, pulling, slapping, breaking and so forth (Henley, 2002; Wadeson, 1987). Clay allows for the expression of strong feelings such as anger and discharge of aggression. According to Henley (2002), clay has the ability to bind things together including the inner conflicts that clients may have. Henley talks about how clay is formed by the earth through a long process of disintegration, re-integration and “melded together, awaiting the sculptor’s hands” (Henley,2002, p. 22). Clay has a dynamic, poetic quality to it and lends itself to emotional expression and is therefore therapeutic.

Clay product area unit accepted in human history since prehistoric times in such forms as vases, pots, and symbolic figures, together with human figures. According to von Neumann (1955) the primary vessels within the ancient world were created out of clay, that originated from earth. Humans attributed significance to earth because the supply of all things. The first man within the Bible is termed Adam, apparently derived from the Hebrew word for earth, adama, the fabric from that he was created.

In addition to its functional use, for creating a variety of containing tools, clay has been used throughout history by many cultures as a vehicle to express a religious dimension in human life. Anthropologists speculate that symbolic forms formed in clay had charming and ritual meanings (Raphael, 1947). Thus, we find a link between symbolic clay products and the mental- spiritual realm of human kind early in human history. Accordingly, clay figures, that area unit manufactured from earth, might mirror the affiliation between the human mental world and also the material world. This connection is central in art therapy, an activity that uses art materials to represent the inner, spiritual world.

Clay as a medium of expression in art therapy has been employed in different ways by various art therapists and psychotherapists. Nez (1991) made use of clay in order to facilitate healing for clients who had difficulties related to childhood abuse. This included an exploration into the cathartic and integrating potential of clay therapy, as well as further elucidating the power of communicating unconscious parts of the self in a nonverbal and less threatening manner. Nez found that clay encouraged a more spontaneous and less controlled expression than other art media, and that the “act of forming the clay seemed to put [the participant] in touch with primitive and physical sensations and emotions” (p. 125).

Atlas, Smith and Sessoms (1992) posit that the concretization of feelings in clay form might serve the function of exorcism or abreaction. In his work with adolescents he discovered that clay as an expressive medium helped them to externalize their concerns and regain focus in their daily lives. Herrmann (1995) found that clay lends itself to the projection of anger as it can be poked, manipulated and handled forcefully. In contrast to this, Gerity (1997) highlighted the ‘soothing tactile’ quality of clay. Anderson (1995) described a clay art therapy group process with adult female survivors of incest. A structured programme with specific methods was introduced and followed. It was reported that all the participants experienced the process as helpful, and it had a positive effect on their lives and self-esteem. As a result, clay work is viewed as a highly curative and expressive medium of art.

Benefits of clay

Clay is a versatile material the can be utilized by various age groups. It has the ability to be used as a fine art material, but also can be used in a kindergarten classroom (Peterson, 2000). Some art materials, such as watercolors or charcoal, are harder for children to control. However, clay is an accessible medium for children. Because of its three-dimensional physicality, clay can be used by those patients with poor motor skills. If a therapist is working with stroke patients and helping them regain their grip in their hands, the therapist may give the client a piece of soft clay to squeeze. This gives the client a tangible art material uses during exercise.

Clay often allows a client to involve in a “playful” art making process (Anderson, 1995). Clients are able to regress to a childlike state when using clay. It is easily manipulated and allows clients to fully express themselves through the use of the clay material. Clay reveals the “individual’s own personality traits and inclinations” (Idhe, 1999, p. 118). Clay has the ability to bring out a person’s character and playful side of their personality.

Working with clay will be profitable for kids World Health Organization square measure hesitant concerning their creativeness. You need little or no ability to use clay then there’s hardly any likelihood of failure (Henley, 2002). The psychotherapy is non-directive and because the play healer doesn’t enforce any expectations or boundaries on the consumer, he will specific himself freely in a very assured matter and without restraint. Additionally, the necessary facet of exploitation clay that is usually unnoticed live medical aid as we have a tendency to target the method instead of the merchandise is that the approach it allows children to produce lasting pieces. This duration of creation promotes a child’s vanity and once purposeful items square measure created (e.g. cups, bowls) youngsters see themselves as capable of participating in a very really purposeful activity (White as cited in Schaffer, 2006).

The fact is clay will provide kids the fabric to create one thing out of nothing. They can place their own imprint on clay and thus they carry one thing from the unconscious to the aware (Heimlich and Mark, 1990 as cited in Sholt and Gavron, 2006).

Play provides kids with unlimited opportunities to form, through the development of clay, whereby they gain a way of confidence and self-efficacy that boasts their shallowness (Schaefer 2006). Oaklander (1988) additionally advocates projective techniques like clay sculpting that she claims is extremely helpful to facilitate kids and facilitate them explore negative self- image and increase self- acceptance and self- esteem.

For many years clay has been used by psychotherapists and art therapist. As clay has been advocated by healer as one thing that advances the therapeutic method in not solely in individual however conjointly cluster therapies (Anderson, 1995; Mattes and Robbins, 1981 as cited in Sholt and Gavron, 2006). Using clay also can be a real group action. When applicable, teams of kids with similar presenting issues are inspired to move along verbal communication skills, confidence and social skills are developed and promoted. Children can usually exchange ideas and suggestions on however one thing will be created, and being able to show another child how to make something can be particularly rewarding (White, 2006). Co-operation and sharing of ideas in teams promotes a way of identity and a way of happiness. In a study allotted by Sweeney and Thomas as cited in Souter-Anderson (2010) specializing in the difficulty of transition, clay was the second most well liked medium used. Sand tray work was the first.

The overall aim of the medical aid was to change the purchasers to become additional assured, additional confident and to own a additional positive image concerning themselves. Sherwood (2010) says victimization clay in teams is incredibly productive in prompting discussions regarding feelings and relationships and that i felt this was definitely true with this explicit cluster.

Landreth (2002) states that it’s troublesome for kids to access their feelings at a verbal level as children don’t have the psychological feature or verbal ability to precise what they are feeling in a very manner which will be expressed into words. Since the origin of psychotherapy, clay has continuously been a crucial tool for healer (Axline, 1947; Landreth, (2002). It is advocated by several psychotherapists together of the first devices for serving to shoppers to explore troublesome ideas and specific elementary emotions in a very non-verbal manner (Freud 2006).

Therapeutic aspects of clay or clay as a therapeutic medium generally (Sherwood, 2010, Gavron and Sholt, 2006, Souter-Anderson, 2010). The dearth of analysis and books on the topic is also a results of the assumption that clay medical aid comes beneath the umbrella of art medical aid.

Souter- Anderson (2010) in her book “Touching Clay, Touching What?” refutes this and claims clay therapy has a “unique theoretical anchoring in the same way that sand play, music therapy and authentic movement have their respective theoretical bases” (Souter-Anderson, 2010: 13).

In order to explore the therapeutic aspects of clay it’s vital to in short describe the role clay has compete in history. Clay products such as vases, pots, and symbolic figures have been present in past civilizations. In addition to the purposeful aspects of clay in making a range of containing tools, it has been used in many cultures as a method of expressing the religious dimensions in human life. Clay originates from the world and because the earth is viewed because the supply of all things it is inferred that clay will anchor terribly powerful emotions. Sholt and Gavron (2006) claim there is a link “between symbolic clay products and mental spiritual realm of human kind early in human history. Accordingly, clay figures that are made from earth could mirror the association between the human mental world and therefore the material world”.

Clay involves an awfully primal mode of expression and communication because it involves touching (Henley, 2002). Tactile contact is truly the primary mode of communication that a baby learns (Bowlby, 1969). It is the sense of bit that permits folks to grasp the terribly boundaries of themselves (Sunderland, 2004). Touch, before all else, is the primary, non-verbal way a child has to relating to its mother. From the instant of birth, touch is the way in which feelings are communicated and experienced.

The sense of bit is closely joined to early attachment. (Bowlby, 1969). Attachment is that the bond that develops between a baby and its primary caregiver. It is characterized by the interaction patterns, which develop in order to fulfil the infants’ needs and emotional development (Bowlby, 1969). According to Bowlby (1969) not developing a secure attachment in youth, could prove damaging to the child emotionally and these difficulties could filter through to adult life. Souter-Anderson (2010) states that a lot of therapists see their clients’ relationship with clay as a figure for his or her attachments with totally different folks in their lives.

Cattanach (1996:196) states that the medium of clay has its own specific qualities and says, “it responds and reacts and has to be grappled with, in the same way as a personality’s relationship will if it’s to progress”. Baring this in mind it might be all over mistreatment clay within the recreation room may facilitate kids or adults not solely to explore their early attachment bonds however additionally facilitate them examine and look at their current relationships.

Clay leaves an imprint and feelings move through hands into clay creating the invisible visible. In addition to touch, molding clay requires body movement. Touch and movement are interlinked. Real past recollections and also the “central window to the unconscious” may be unfastened through bit and movement (Oaklander, 1988). Clay medical care will permit the shoppers see their inner trauma and places of wounding (Sherwood, 2010). Nez (1991) created use of clay so as to facilitate healing with adults UN agency had tough and traumatic childhoods. He found that clay inspired a additional spontaneous and fewer controlled expression and response then different art mediums. He explicit that victimization clay place the consumer in contact with primitive sensations and feeling. (page 18)

Clay is cathartic in nature because it permits the kid to specific Associate in Nursing array of emotions. Catharsis permits for unharness of antecedently restrained and interrupted affectional release via emotional expression like pounding clay (Schaffer, 2006). When youngsters feel stuck, pissed off and overpowered by life challenges, the utilization of clay in medical care provides a secure place for emotional keep up thoughts and emotions, and unlearning old, destructive or unproductive habits. Some youngsters notice this notably soothing and it may be helpful for emotional tension or may be safe outlet for frustration and aggression (Hart, 1992 as cited in Sholt & Gavron, 2006). Sholt and Gavron (2006:67) states that operating with clay could” operate as an effect window to those unconscious nonverbal representations and perhaps useful with those who notice it onerous to express themselves verbally or who are defensive.

Clay is malleable and three-dimensional, and it will become something a toddler desires it to become. It will embody a mimetic kind or associate abstract one, for instance, a toddler may produce a form that represents a monster that may appear as if an animal or a fantasy figure or it simply may well be a form that perhaps symbolic. Once kind has emerged from the clay, it’s going to become mounted and permanent or be crushed and rolled make a copy into a ball. Creating totally different forms will facilitate a toddler realize the way of expressing their inner emotions and thoughts.

Souter-Anderson (2010) states that clay is especially helpful once exploring feelings of anger. It can also act as an outlet to prevent the buildup of negative emotions and feelings in the child. Macks (1990) as cited in Henley (2002) talks a few consumer United Nations agency mamma her nails into the clay over and all over again. He says that so as for “the therapeutic method to progress than all suppressed or imploded anger should initial be imploded” (Sherwood, 2010:72).

Sherwood (2010:105) states in her book may be a notably great way “for the discharge of anger since it splats on the board. The release is dramatic”. Clay being associate degree earthy medium by its terribly nature will take plenty of anger and rage. Clay in medical care provides a medium to figure through problems like anger, grief, and concern and move the consumer on in their therapeutic method. Another consumer used the clay to represent ton of various emotions.

Facilitating expression of emotions Clay-work is described as facilitating and enabling the expression of feelings fairly quickly, due to the tactile quality of the clay (Bratton & Ferebee, 1999; Wadeson, 1987), that allows exteroception involvement (Kagin & Lusebrink, 1971) and rhythmical movements that accompany clay work. There are many descriptions in the literature describing clay figures as representing powerful emotions that previously were inaccessible to the client (Brock, 1991; Henley, 2002; Keyes, 1984; Mattes & Robbins, 1981; Mciver, 2001; Mitchell, 1984).

For example, the many opportunities of modeling in clay furnish countless ways in which anger can be expressed or ventilated, such as scratching, clasping, stabbing, throwing, smashing, and so on. As mentioned above, these emotional expressions are made through the most primal and procedural mode of communication, through tactile contact and on a somatic level. Hence there is a greater likelihood that they will be authentic with regard to affects (Horovitz-Darby, 1992). Furthermore, because clay as a material resists some of these manipulations and is not easily breakable or ruined or destroyed in its plastic state (unlike painting), the client can engage in these aggressive actions without concern of negative outcomes to the fabric.

Facilitating catharsis Jorstad (1965) and Anderson (1995) describe a cathartic effect of clay-work in psychotherapy. Both authors mention client intensity of emotional engagement whileworking with clay. Jorstad (1965) suggests that the cathartic result is because of the very fact that operating with such a primitive and original material as clay satisfies antecedently annoyed wants, and that it will vent to anal tendencies for a few shoppers.

Anderson (1995) contends that because of the tactile qualities and fluidity of the clay, and because it has the potential to resemble the real object it is meant to represent by its three-dimensionality, it will inevitably evoke an effective response, such as memories, thoughts, and fantasies. Henley (2002) demonstrates however regression that happens through clay-work facilitates cathartic unharness.

Revealing unconscious materials One aspect of the cathartic effect is to bring repressed ideas, feelings, wishes, and memories of the past into consciousness. But clay-work also can uncover unconscious aspects while not a cathartic result through the procedural expression itself (Rubin, 1984; Woltmann, 1993). Anderson (1995), for example, claims that clay-work can yield some products that are not monitored by the client’s intellect and that clay-work can evoke direct expression that is not filtered through the client’s mind.

An example is what is detected through physical manipulation (Henley, 2002) once shoppers bit and mould the clay. In such cases, therapeutic conversation with the client after his or her creative work can disclose the unconscious layers embedded in his or her visible product (Betensky 1995; Kwiatkowska, 1978

Facilitating rich and deep expressions: Many reports describe clay-work as communicating to the therapist additional layers of Elkisch, 1947, Jacobi, 1955; Kameguchi & Murphy-Shigematsu, 2001). Mattes and choreographer (1981) write: “The image exposes prospects for exploration and discovery in distinction to additional standard verbal communication that tends to cut back the field” (pp. 386-387).

In a qualitative study of the special contribution of clay-work compared with verbal communication of adolescents, Graziano (1999) found that the symbolic clay objects expressed deeper levels of subjective meanings. They were tied to organic process problems and considerations of the adolescents: “The clay symbols created were communicatory of deeper felt which means about: possession, mystery, entrapment, perfection, vengeance, and foolishness”

Facilitating verbal communication: Jorstad (1965) reported that when patients brought their clay products to their therapeutic sessions, the presence of these symbolic figures often facilitated the patients’ verbal associations: “Thus verbal communication typically became easier and therefore the patients’ risk of emotional expertise and insight inflated within the therapy-situation” (p. 494). The phenomenon of facilitating verbal communication is demonstrated in clinical examples by several authors (Heimlich & Mark, 1990; Kwiatkowska, 1978; Oaklander, 1978; Raginky, 1962; Rubin, 1984)

Concretization and symbolization: The embodiment of inner representations in visual pictures. Many have described the phenomenon of concretization, noted in psychoanalytic studies and in clay-work in individual psychotherapy (Brown, 1975; Denny & Fagen, 1970; Mattes & Robbins, 1981; Simon, 1996) and conjointly in group psychotherapy (Winship & Haigh, 1998).

Concretization refers to the method during which thoughts, feelings, fantasies, and conflicts area unit embodied in concrete objects, and conjointly within the method of sculpting and thru perceptive the merchandise because of its facilitating symbolization.

For example, Macks (1990) describes this development in art medical care with purchasers full of consumption disorders, noting that several such purchasers created sq. and angular containers instead of rounded containers. Macks interprets this phenomenon as a concretization of the denial of the feminine. Another expression of concretization was recounted by Brown (1975) United Nations agency suggests that clay-work may depict some aspects of the therapeutic relationship between consumer and healer. This effect makes clay-work a useful diagnostic and therapeutic tool especially in family therapy, due to its potential to illustrate many family concepts (e.g., proximity and distance) through plastic representations (Kameguchi & Murphy-Shigematsu, 2001; Kwiatkowska, 1978; Vandvick & Eckblad, 1993; Ventre , 1986)

Material used in art therapy

Art therapists use a wide array of materials; However, this study will limit itself to one specific type of media; clay, which differ in the way that they are used, the process within which they’re used and also the outcome.

Clay work allows a client to work on a three- dimensional scale. It can be a fluid or resistive material that may be easily formed and manipulated by the client or artist (Lusebrink, 1990). Clay work can also be referred to as ceramics. “The term ceramics refers to all nonmetallic, inorganic materials that lend themselves to permanent hardening by high temperatures” (Peterson, 2000, p. 11). The level of plasticity in the clay is dependent upon the amount of moisture that is found in the clay body. Plasticity is the clay’s ability to hold its shape once manipulated. If a clay body has a higher level of water, its ability to hold its shape, or its plasticity, is low.

Clay materials are either natural or man-made. It is composed of fine particles of hydrous aluminum silicates and other materials depending on its structure (Peterson, 2000). Natural clays are usually comprised of sands and may be baked at high temperatures in order to harden, such as earthen ware. Manmade clays, such as oil-based clays, may not harden and can be used repeatedly (Rubin, 1984).

Here are some of other materials used in Art Therapy and their intended purposes

Water Colors – They allow to paint anything that is much desire using any color that anybody feels want and even it creates a state of being calm and relaxed

  1.  Acrylic Paint – This material grant opportunity to anyone most especially people who likes to emulate any tree and promotes a connection to Mother Nature.
  2.  Colored pencils – It is recommended in sessions for instance to draw circles with some instruments to help develop a sense of being self-assured and centered.
  3. Markers – for examples draw a person picking an apple from tree (PPAT), this assessment is much useful for many therapists because that’s only materials that clients given to draw that picture in order to the therapist to understand client’s weakness or patient.
  4. Photography – Whenever anyone is outside, takes a picture that conveys exactly how his/he feelings at that moment in time. It helps to teach them how to recognize their actual emotions and feelings.
  5. Pencils – This material is naturally used everywhere in general to draw or sketching for instance HB pencil is for shading many things in even fine art as well as art therapy.
  6. Collage – This is a collection of any pictures that someone can get from coloring books, magazines, or the newspaper to create an image of who he/she would like to be, how she/he would like to feel, and how him/her would like to look. This way provides them something to shoot for in the future.
  7.  Clay –Clay is used to create several things in art therapy field, and express clients and non-client’s feelings for instance expressing anger in, and never let it out again. In most cases many people know what to do to keep this unwanted and deeply disturbing emotion under control. When art therapy is utilized in the deeper fashion, it allows clay work users to see things about themselves that were formerly imperceptible. That of course is the first step in the healing process and can help to propel them to a better happier life.

Chapter III: Methods

A qualitative research in a broad sense is used to explore a particular phenomenon as a lived experience. In using a qualitative approach, the researcher strived toward thoughtful reflection that was, “free from theoretical, prejudicial and suppositional intoxications” (van Manen, 2007, pg. 12). Exploring a phenomenon as a lived experience requires the researcher to rely on his or her own personal curiosity, deep reflection and openness about a subject. It also requires the researcher to “turn inward” and “live with” the phenomenon as relayed by the participants who volunteer for the study (van Manen & Adams, 2010).

Qualitative research does not aim to explain but rather to clarify the meaning of an experience (Penner & McClement, 2008).

A qualitative research methodology is regarded as the most appropriate approach for this study, as it allows the researcher to understand international students experience of clay sculpting and stay open to whatever emerges during the image making process. This study used van Manen’s methodology to guide the study (Creswell, 2007).

The research approach of phenomenology is appropriate for this study because study participants shared an experience, which would help the researcher develop a deeper understanding of the phenomenon and potentially develop practices and policies.

In this study, the researcher used a qualitative approach for several additional reasons. First, qualitative methods were flexible and allowed the researcher the freedom to explore the perceptions of the participants through a personal participant-researcher relationship. Second, an open-ended format for data collection afforded participants an opportunity to share their perspectives and experiences in-depth and holistically. This type of face-to-face interview format allowed the researcher the opportunity to immediately clarify or allow expansion on each participant’s thoughts and afforded access to nonverbal cues such as gestures and facial expressions (Penner & McClement, 2008). Third, qualitative methods enabled the researcher to explore the human side of live experience. Live experience to the international students underscored the suitability of a qualitative approach for this research. Fourth, findings from this study enabled the researcher to extend the existing knowledge base regarding Live experience to the international students. This research study was particularly focused on Live experience to the international students using clay work in class.

The researcher chose a qualitative approach because had sought to understand the experience being studied according to the way it was lived rather than how it was categorized, conceptualized or theorized by scientific literature (Merleau-Ponty, 1945/2002).

Phenomenology methodological outlines.

The steps the researcher intended to use the van Manen method of research. This methodology involves eleven (11) steps:

Turning to the nature of Lived Experience.

  •  Orienting to the phenomenon: this is to understand that phenomenology is the studying of the essences which consider etymological and idiomatic sources from examining experiential descriptions, literary and phenomenological material and so forth. This includes suggestions of; explicatively, existentially, exegetically, embodiment; they are not exhaustive nor mutually exclusive but there could be combination of approaches. It is important, therefore, for the researcher to focus on what is it, what phenomenon. this is starting point of phenomenological research is largely a matter of identifying what it is that deeply interests oneself and of identifying this interest as a true phenomenon such as some experience that human beings live through. The nature and number of possible human experience are as varied and infinite as human life itself.
  •  Formulating the phenomenological question: questioning something phenomenological to identify human experience or what something is really like. What is the nature of the lived experience? what is clay making like?”or what is it like to use clay material?
  •  Explicating Assumptions and Pre-Understandings: the researcher may know too much about what is under investigation, such as what is phenomenon of clay making is? Therefore, there is existing common sense, pre-understandings, suppositions, assumptions and the existing bodies of scientific knowledge against itself, as if it were there by exposing its shallow or concealing character.

Existential Investigation.

  • Exploring the phenomenon: Generating “Data”

The manipulation and interpretations of the findings by the researcher, it should be circled around the scope of the lived experiences, that is finding ways to develop deeper understanding of the phenomenon being investigated. This research of the phenomenological question goes significantly beyond the protocol or data collecting from subjects (by means of interview or written protocols) as suggested by some human science researchers.

Under exploring the phenomenon; the sub steps include

  •  Using personal experience as a starting point: the ego-logical starting point for phenomenological research is a natural consequence of the above remarks. To conduct personal description of a lived experience, I try to describe my experience as much as possible in experiential terms, focusing on a particular situation or event. I try to give direct description of my experience as it is, without offering casual explanations or interpretive generalizations of my experience.
  •  Tracing etymological sources: the first thing that often strikes us about any phenomenon is that the words we use refer to the phenomenon have lost some of their original meaning. Words that one could invoke and reveal a world now are mute, emptied and forgetful of their past power.
  •  Searching Idiomatic phrases: It is sometimes surprising how didactic language itself is if we allow ourselves to be attentive to even the most common of expressions associated with the phenomenon we wish to pursue. This should be no surprise since idiomatic phrases largely proceed phenomenologically; they are borne out of lived experience.
  •  Obtaining experiential descriptions from other literature: in phenomenological research the emphasis is always on the meaning of lived experience. The point of phenomenological analysis is to “borrow” alternative people’s experiences and their reflections on their experiences so as to higher be ready to return to an understanding of the deeper meaning or significance of an aspect of huma

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Phenomenological Research: Art Therapy. (2022, Jun 04). Retrieved from

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