The experiences of professionals utilizing sensory–motor play with young children in Gestalt play therapy / Elizabeth Sarah Janse van Rensburg
Janse van Rensburg, Liza
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The aim of this study was to explore and describe the experiences of professionals utilizing sensory-motor play (SMP) with young children (YC) in Gestalt play therapy in order to provide recommendations for professionals and to create an awareness of the value of SMP in Gestalt play therapy. Coming from an occupational therapy background, the researcher became aware of the potential value of utilizing sensorymotor play in Gestalt play therapy with YC. SMP, being a vital part of the sensory integration developmental process of YC, promotes body awareness through muscle movement and control. Awareness is one of the major aims of Gestalt play therapy. All the senses contribute to YC's awareness, including the frequently unacknowledged vestibu lar and proprioceptive senses. In order to treat YC holistically, the developmental importance of SMP should be acknowledged and integrated in the therapy process. Professionals young children working in this field, coming from diverse educational backgrounds, do not necessarily have the knowledge or experience of the utilization of SMPwith YC. A qualitative research approach with a case study research design was adopted in order to explore and describe the experiences of professionals regarding the utilization of SMP with YC in Gestalt play therapy, through applied research. The empirical data was collected by conducting two focus group discussions with professionals from diverse educational backgrounds. Two main themes with different sub-themes and categories were identified by analysing the data. The main themes are that participants are of the opinion that SMP enhances the therapeutic relationship and that SMP has a self-regulatory function. The researcher concludes that professionals gained a new awareness regarding the subject of discussion and experienced that uti lizing SMP in Gestalt play therapy with YC can promote and facilitate whole body/mind awareness and integrated healing.
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