The Setting

Offered is a flat wooden box filled with clay: the clay field. Next to it sits a bowl of water. There are no specific instructions except the encouragement to make contact with and perceive the clay field with the hands. Adults mostly work with their eyes closed in order to allow the perception of touch to fully unfold. Children follow their needs with open eyes and allow figures and stories to emerge.

The clay field can be perceived, touched and experienced with the hands. The pliable material invites experiment; it receives every movement and is available for endless possibilities. The containing box communicates a hold to the hands while the flat expanse offers freedom of space. Forms emerge from the movements of the hands as they leave marks in the clay. The presence of a trained accompanier is crucial, someone who can verbally support the hands process of movement based on skilled perception and understanding.

It becomes apparent within the setting of Work at the Clay Field there are three core elements of human development: First there is the clay field, a symbolic world, as something available to grasp, to grab and understand. Secondly there are the hands, filled with life’s potential and urge to do and grasp. Thirdly there is the unfolding process of this encounter, which is supported and confirmed through a human ‘you’ as a relational experience.




International Events: Work at the Clay Field

English Publications


2014, Larsch, Oliver; Biebrach, Monika: 
Work at the Clay Field; Recognizing potential, awakening resources, furthering development. Verein fuer Gestaltbildung e.V.

2009, Deuser, Heinz:
Work at the Clay Field: Grasping what moves us: Possibilities of haptic evolvement
Set of 7 DVDs, 21 hours of Heinz Deuser teaching. German with life English translation. Purchase


2014, Elbrecht, Cornelia; Antcliff, Liz:
Being Touched through Touch:
Trauma treatment through haptic perception
at the Clay Field: A sensorimotor art therapy
. INSCAPE, International Journal of Art Therapy, 2014, Routledge

2014, Elbrecht, Cornelia: 
The Clay Field and Developmental Trauma
In: Malchiodi, Cathy Ed., Creative Interventions with Traumatized Children. The Clay Field and Developmental Trauma. Guilford Press, Pennsylvania.

2013 ANZJAT, the Australian New Zealand Journal of Arts Therapy Vol 8, No. 1, 2013, p.67 review of: Trauma Healing at the Clay Field by Maggie Wilson.

2012 Elbrecht, Cornelia: 
Trauma Healing at the Clay Field,
A Sensorimotor Art Therapy Approach. 
Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London/Philadelphia. This book has been translated into Korean and a Spanish translation is underway. Look inside