• Me, myself, and I: Women’s perceptions of their body-image using clay making as a tool for exploration.

      Crocker, Trisha; University of Derby (2018-05-04)
      An expanse of research literature has confirmed that a significant percentage of women are concerned about their body size and appearance. Western cultures have emphasized that women must look good to be worthy. Media attention that alludes to the benefits of a thin, fit body exacerbates women's beliefs that they need to look a certain way to be acceptable and to fit in. How though, can the majority of women fit into a world of contrary ideals? Being strong and healthy does not absolutely mean a woman has to be model thin with conspicuous abdominal muscles and extreme body definition. In the field of art therapy, there has been no specific research to demonstrate the advantages of clay for the exploration of body-image, male or female. The research undertaken focuses on and evaluates the manner and methods in which clay can be employed as an enabling material for body-image issues with women within art therapy practice. With the help of small groups of female participants who were invited to attend sessions in my pottery to make their body-images from clay and join in discussion, I was able to explore within a safe and contained environment the ways in which clay can be utilised within an art therapy setting. None of the women who took part in the research had a diagnosis relating to body-image issues. By pursuing the methods of Participatory Action Research (PAR) for Study One I employed the fundamental features of Cycles of Reflection. The results of Study One assisted me in choosing Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to further the research. In this way, I would be able to identify the most robust of themes within the dialogues of the three women who attended the individual sessions that comprised Study Two. The final results of the research point to a positive and contained means of working with clients and patients in order to provide a significant resource to help women explore and be more accepting of their bodies.