The potential of claywork to facilitate the integration of the self in psychotherapy with an adult survivor of childhood trauma : a Jungian perspective

Smuts, Tanja (2005) The potential of claywork to facilitate the integration of the self in psychotherapy with an adult survivor of childhood trauma : a Jungian perspective. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

The aim of this thesis was to explore the experience of “self” within the clinical context of adult survivors of childhood trauma. Childhood trauma in this study referred to a range of childhood experiences of emotional and physical assault, including encounters with various kinds of abuse and neglect. The focus was on the experience of a sense of disintegration and dislocation, associated to aspects of self being in conflict. This was explored from theoretical perspectives of Jungian analytic psychology, as well as art therapy.Answers were sought to the questions of how claywork, as a form of art therapy, may facilitate the integration of the self and contribute to the development of a healing dialogue with feared and hated aspects of self. Grounded in Jungian theory, integration of the self was conceptualised as a movement towards “differentiating wholeness”. The study took the form of a phenomenological-hermeneutic case study. One participant’s experience of making and discussing a clay sculpture in a therapeutic setting according to Edwards’ method, was analysed thematically. It was concluded that the potential of claywork in therapy to facilitate the integration of the self is related to three aspects. Firstly, claywork in therapy may promote a concrete personification of feared and hated aspects of self, which may enable the maker to view these aspects from a distance, and learn to understand them in a new way. Secondly, claywork in therapy may facilitate the safe ‘unearthing’ of repressed feelings as well as hidden aspects of the personality. Thirdly, claywork’s potential to mediate symbolic functioning was shown to be an important aspect of the integration process. These findings confirmed and extended existing theory regarding the usefulness of claywork in psychotherapy with adult survivors of childhood trauma. Brief recommendations for future research were provided.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Carl Jung, Art therapy, Child abuse, Self, Psychotherapy
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Psychology
ID Code:2722
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:26 Apr 2012 09:56
Last Modified:26 Apr 2012 09:56
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