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Being Touched Through Touch. Trauma Treatment Through Haptic Perception At The Clay Field: A Sensorimotor Art Therapy

01 December 2019

This article by Cornelia Elbrecht and Liz R. Antcliff, reviews Trauma Healing at the Clay Field® as a sensorimotor art therapy approach in trauma recovery.


Neuroscientific research provides increasing evidence of the intimate relationship between physiological and psychological dimensions of human experience. The integration of body awareness into psychotherapy through a focus on sensorimotor processes is increasingly becoming best practice in trauma therapy.

So far the arts therapies have given little attention to the role of touch in this context. Touch is one of the fundamental human experiences: to know loving or unwanted touch, the traumatic rupture of boundaries and their repair. Touch is the basis for secure attachment, linked to earliest body memories, to the ability to handle the world, to sexuality and injury. The use of the hands as a tool of perception is known as haptic perception.

Clay is a familiar art therapy material which features tactile expression and experiences. When hands touch clay in a therapeutic setting, exteroceptors and interoceptors become naturally stimulated, and every movement of the hands provides instant feedback to the brain. Haptic perception allows non-verbal access to psychological and sensorimotor processes thwarted by trauma.

This article reviews Trauma Healing at the Clay Field® as a sensorimotor art therapy approach in trauma recovery.


This article by Cornelia Elbrecht and Liz R. Antcliff has been made FREE ACCESS until 31st December 2019 here


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