My experience with clay...

I've been an amateur potter since 2013 and am well aware of the therapeutic benefits of handling clay. I've learnt a range of hand building and throwing techniques from local potters and some of the pots I’ve produced are ‘good-enough’. The 2 – 3 hours a week I spend in the pottery provides a time for me to switch off my left-brain activity, unwind, and enjoy. When I produce something at the end of it, all well and good, but when I don’t, I still benefit enormously from the process of touching, squeezing, throwing and manipulating soft clay. This is what piqued my interest in using clay therapeutically and finding out more about using it in my work with young people. 

 Clay and psychotherapy...

I can draw many analogies between working with clay and the practice of psychotherapy. 

  • Both are creative tasks that facilitate imagination and playfulness. 
  • Both depend on learned techniques, but intuition and exploration are much more valuable. 
  • Both are quiet, contemplative practices than enable daydreaming and the flow of unconscious thought. 
  • Both practices can be challenging and frustrating with multiple false starts! 
  • But most importantly, whether working with clay or engaging in psychotherapy it’s the process that  matters.


Clay therapy: a work in process

The potential of clay therapy...

I have witnessed first hand how manipulating clay can have monumental effects:

  • It can bring into conscious awareness that which has been unconscious.
  • It can activate forgotten (or repressed) childhood memories. 
  • It can provoke feelings of anger, sadness and loss which can then be thought about in a safe way. 
  • It can be used to express preverbal and more recent experiences that cannot be put into words. 
  • It can allow for messy exploration within a contained space. 
  • It can provide a medium for safe touch.

Clay therapy: something quite monumental 

 Offering clay therapy...

I feel privileged to be able to offer Clay Therapy to my clients within the safe space of the therapy room. Natural clay is available as an additional resource alongside other art materials, games and music. Clients can choose to work with clay instead of or as well as engaging in talking therapy and can dip in and out of working with clay as with all other resources available in the room. 

Clay therapy: container and contained 

Working with clay in therapy...

Items created during therapy will be kept safe, confidential and in a workable state between sessions. Clay creations can be photographed by the therapist during the session and photographs kept in the client's folder until the end of therapy. Clay changes as it dries; it shrinks and changes colour, so these photographs can provide a valuable reminder about what the clay creation looked like when it was first made.

Clients choose what to do with their creations (and photographs of their creations) in between sessions and when therapy ends. They may destroy them, leave them behind or take them away with them. 

The clay used by Sea Psychotherapy is locally sourced and will not stain the skin or clothes. Items created will gradually dry out and harden over time but as they are not fired in a kiln they will never be water or weather proof and they will eventually disintegrate over time. 

If you have any questions about the use of clay in therapy, please use the contact Sea Psychotherapy link in the menu bar.