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Exploring sandplay with children who stutter Addison, Sharon J.

Abstract

This study examined the use of sandplay, with three school-aged boys who stuttered. Each child was offered one-hour of sandplay therapy per week, over a four-month period. The number of sessions per child ranged from twelve to sixteen. Participant-observation was used for data collection. All sessions were videotaped and photographs were taken of each child's sand pictures. A detailed description of each session is presented. This is followed by a detailed analysis of the themes and symbols that occurred in each sandplay picture, based on Carl G. Jung's theory of Analytical Psychology and Dora Kalff s theory of Sandplay. Researcher served as the sandplay therapist in all sessions. The researcher/counsellor's clinical impressions and reflections are also presented. Quantitative pre- and post-tests measured each child's level of anxiety, self-esteem and attitudes towards his speech. The stuttering level of each child was also tested before the sandplay therapy began and once it was completed. The quantitative tests produced a wide range of results which seemed to be most useful for gathering further information relation to each child. The stuttering levels of each child increased slightly over time which was attributed to the possibility of the stressful time of year (end of the school year) during which the study was completed and the physiological demands that could have been occurring due to emotional catharsis. The sandplay process of each child appeared to indicate that each child was experiencing some psychological distress. However, during the four months of sandplay each child seemed to show some signs of some inner emotional healing. According to Kalff s (1980) theory of sandplay, each of the three boys depicted images representing the beginning and middle stages of ego-development. Symbols associated with wholeness, order and sense of Self were also portrayed. From a Jungian perspective, after four months of sandplay, each child experienced some inner healing and gained some inner strength, thus enabling each child to feel stronger when facing external conflict. Sandplay as a therapeutic intervention and as an adjunct to speech therapy appeared to be a beneficial form of therapy for release of unconscious and conscious psychological issues, and a valuable means for gaining further insight into the emotional world of each child.

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