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Being in Touch: Healing Developmental and Attachment Trauma at the Clay Field

  • Cornelia Elbrecht (a1) and Liz Antcliff (a2)
Abstract

Developmental trauma is a term that describes the impact of adverse childhood experiences that results in the loss of capacity to integrate sensory, emotional, cognitive and relational information into cohesive, trusting and safe lived experiences. Infants’ and children's brain, nervous systems and neural development are vulnerable to these traumas. Trauma is stored in the implicit memory and is manifest through body gestures, breath, body behaviours, sensory perceptions, emotions and thoughts. Play therapy, sand tray therapy and creative arts therapy are all offered as interventions for childhood trauma. Work at the Clay Field®, is a sensorimotor art therapy and differs from play, sand and visual arts therapy as it focuses on haptic perception, the use of the hands and touch as a tool of perception. Touch is one of the most fundamental human experiences and is the basis of secure attachment, linked to our earliest body memories. Work at the Clay Field® is grounded in theories of developmental psychology, object relations, sensorimotor therapy and haptic perception. Haptic object relations as skin sense, vestibular sense of balance and depth sense are presented as the underpinning principles of Work at the Clay Field®. Children from the age of 2 years old onwards are enabled through work at the Clay Field to satiate developmental needs, in particular those from the preverbal age of early infancy. They also can complete trauma-related fragmented or incomplete action cycles through safe touch and restore their developmental path.

Copyright
Corresponding author
address for correspondence: Cornelia Elbrecht, MA. Art. Ed. Art Therapist, SEP & Liz Antcliff, B. Sc. Psych. Ma. Coun. SEP. Institute for Sensorimotor Art Therapy. E-mail: www.sensorimotorarttherapy.com
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Children Australia
  • ISSN: 1035-0772
  • EISSN: 2049-7776
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