As a ceramic artist myself, I am perhaps biased about the effectiveness of clay as a medium for art therapy. I think it really depends on the fit between the person and the art material, however. Some people find the grittiness and 'dirtiness' of clay unappealing and so it doesn't work for them. In my work I find that clay work can be useful for the venting of anger, and its greater physicality compared with paint or drawing materials can be satisfying when working with strong emotions. In a purely, 'art as therapy' approach such as what you describe, I think that this physical energy intensive quality of clay work (the wedging, sculpting actions) can be very helpful for venting feelings and centering oneself. I am not aware of any specific research looking specifically into clay as a medium compared with other art materials for the setting you describe, but there will probably be something helpful in general art therapy texts, or if you do a seach in PsychInfo database for it (available in some universities).
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