One of the goals in child trauma therapy is to enable a child to express themselves without fear. To draw out the inner thoughts of the child.
There are numerous activities (e.g., games, play-acting, music) and various modalities (e.g., individual, family, group) to help a traumatized child; but one activity that is most likely to draw out his inner thoughts is Clay Sculpture. Clay Sculpture is an assessment intervention technique used by Sharlene Weitzman.
In this therapy activity, the child is given modeling clay of various colors to choose from. They are then asked by the practitioner to create a sculpture that they feel represent who they are. The sculpture could take any form, e.g., human, thing, or abstract. What is important is for the child to understand the sculpture is who they project themselves to be.
Once the sculpture is finished, the practitioner then asks questions to the child as to what the sculpture is thinking. The practitioner then gathers the child’s answers and writes it down in the form of a poem, without the child knowing it.
- What is it? (This will be the poem’s title.)
- Where does it live?
- What does sculpture love doing?
- What makes the sculpture happy?
- Where are its mommy and daddy?
- Is there anything the sculpture wants to tell its mommy and daddy (or siblings)?
- What is it (the sculpture), again?
At the end of the activity, the practitioner surprises the child with a poem that they will say the child had created about the sculpture.
This child trauma therapy technique enables the child to express their inner thoughts without feeling intimidated. It allows the child to displace suppressed feelings on to their sculpture. The intervention activity provides the practitioner valuable insight into the inner thoughts of the child: from the child’s choice of color, what they say the sculpture is, and how the child sees themselves and the world (his family) around them.