'Alchemy and Magic': the Experience of Using Clay for People with Chronic Illness and Disability
Authors: Timmons, Alexandra; MacDonald, Elaine
Source: The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, Volume 71, Number 3, March 2008 , pp. 86-94(9)
Publisher: College of Occupational Therapists
Abstract:Clay is used within various therapeutic settings, yet within the occupational therapy literature there is a significant lack of evidence to support its use. This phenomenological study sought to enquire into the experience of ceramics as a creative leisure pursuit for people living with long-term physical health problems. Six people responded to an invitation to participate published in an international ceramics journal. They were given the choice to be interviewed by telephone or in person, or to provide a written account about their experience of engaging in ceramics. The criteria for recruitment were people living with a chronic illness or a physical disability who currently engaged in the occupation of ceramics.
The data collection and analysis utilised interpretative phenomenological analysis. Four main themes emerged from the data analysis: being productive and creating, promoting physical and psychological wellbeing, enhancing opportunities for social interaction and 'alchemy and magic'. All the participants reported ways in which working with clay was beneficial to their health and contributed to personal wellbeing. The ceramic process afforded opportunities for experiencing flow and creative adventure, enabled social contacts, enhanced self-worth and provided the participants with a sense of achievement, all of which appeared to promote successful adaptation to ill health. For a minority, the material itself enabled expression about feelings of loss and, in some cases, maintained physical functioning. These findings have relevance for occupational therapists because they suggest that a meaningful creative occupation may be helpful for people learning to cope with chronic conditions.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: March 1, 2008
The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.
BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at http://www.cot.co.uk/british-journal-bjot/british-journal-occupational-therapy
Submissions can be made at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/bjot
The 2012 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 1.096.
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