CHAPTER 4 RESEARCH PROCESS AND FINDINGS
The previous chapter served as a foundation for this chapter in that it explained the research design that was used in this study as a way of validating the scientific basis of the study. Ethical aspects that were adhered to throughout the process of this study and during the interaction with the respondents were also explained. The findings from the empirical investigation are discussed in this chapter.
RESEARCH PROCESS AND CONTEXT
Schools sought consent from parents/guardians before referring children to me. This was written consent which was provided for in a space in the referral forms. The consent was the first thing I checked before attending to any case. After verifying the consent for referral, I sought their consent and assent for the children’s participation in the study (see Appendix D and E). I then collected collateral information from all stakeholders. The ILST coordinators explained the reasons for referral in detail, as this is only given in a summary form in the referral form. Interviews were held with parents and significant others who provided the background to the cases.
Therapy sessions were conducted in the schools that each participant attended. The number of sessions varied from five to ten per case, as each one is unique. Communication was in the participant’s language of preference, which was mainly in seTswana (one of the official languages of South Africa). By using the game of Mmaskitlane, allowing children to talk in their home language and letting them use an activity which is part and parcel of their own culture, an approach was used that leans towards indigenous psychology (Dipale, 2013:21).
An agreement was reached between me and all coordinators that they would prepare the clients for a meeting with me prior to my visit to the schools. This was done by way of telling the children what a psychologist is and what their work entails. Of vital importance was that they had to sell me in a very positive way to the clients in order to enhance the chances of them embracing me and the work I was to do. Fortunately, this was never a difficult or challenging task, as love and sympathy for children is one of the inherent prerequisites for choosing an ILST coordinator. Coordinators would then inform clients of the days that I would be meeting with them.
The first session
As already explained, therapy sessions were held in schools. On arrival at the schools I was taken to the rooms to be used for therapy by the SBST/ILST (school-based support team or institution level support team) coordinators. I prepared the room and unpacked the play material in a way that would be conducive to play while the coordinators went to fetch clients from their classes. Participants were brought to me and introduced by the ILST coordinators, after which they would leave us to continue with therapy. I then reinforced what the coordinators had told the clients about me by way of explanation, and by practising the principles of establishing a secure and therapeutic relationship.
As part of my introduction to my clients, I told them some things about myself so that they could have some insight into what type of a person I am. However, the main reason for doing so was to lead by example because I needed them to disclose things about themselves. As part of the introductory activity I:
- laid down minimum limits to play therapy, for example, like “We will respect each other”
- named a few things that I like, for example, ”I like talking to children and playing with them”
- named a few things that I don’t like, for example, ”I don’t like swearing at people”
- stated my few weak points, for example, ‘’I am not good at using technology’’
- stated my few strong points, for example, ”I am good at making other people feel good about themselves”
- told them a few things that people say about me, for example, ”Some people say I am too kind for their liking”
- told them what I think about myself, for example, ”I think my children see me as a good mother”
I was always honest about everything I said about myself. However, I kept my list short. I then asked my clients to tell me about themselves in a way that was similar to how I had told them about myself, that is, their likes and dislikes, what they thought about themselves, and what other people say about them. It was usually at this point that I would ask them if they knew why they were asked to see me. Their answer was something like ”The teacher says I am …” or ”Other kids always …”. I told them at the beginning of the session that I was going to write down what we discussed so that I didn’t confuse their stories with those of other children. Therefore, they were not perturbed when I noted what they said.
Some clients were able to provide sufficient information about themselves but most of the younger ones, that is, those below seven years, struggled to come up with enough appropriate responses. After a short discussion about general issues, for example, the school, home, friends, etc., I introduced an emotional barometer (see Figure 2.3). I adapted it slightly to include the same emotions in seTswana. I kept many copies of the barometer and used a clean copy per client per session. I explained how it worked (see 2.9.4). I then asked clients to indicate/rate their feelings about life in general on the barometer which had their names and the date at the top. I included colouring pencils with this exercise, being mindful of what Schaefer and Cangelosi (2002:236) state, that some children like using colours to relate their feelings. An exploration was conducted around the client’s emotions.
I then asked my clients to help me list the information that I gave them when I introduced myself, and to do this on a ‘’teeter totter balance’’ like the one in Figure 2.4. I always brought along to therapy a number of copies with a blank ”teeter totter balance”. My personal points were placed either on the positive or the negative part of the balance. On completion I would indicate that it was enough about me and that it was now the client’s turn. We would go on to fill a new ‘’teeter totter balance’’ for the client using the points that they reported earlier. The end product gave an indication of where areas of concern were.
My ‘’teeter totter balance’’ was then used to move on to the play part of therapy. This I usually did by way of pointing out that I had said I like playing with children. I would then ask them what types of games they usually played. Most clients started by naming competitive games like soccer and netball. Indigenous games were usually named after some probing was done. Mmaskitlane was named towards the end of the spectrum of indigenous games in some cases. In other cases, it was not mentioned at all. It was in such cases that I enquired from clients if they were familiar with Mmaskitlane. It was necessary to make the enquiry because familiarity with the game was not one of the criteria for selection of the sample.
Participants indicated their emotions on a new emotional barometer at the beginning of every new session. I also always asked if a client had new information that they wished to include on their ”teeter totter balance”. In cases where the answer was positive, I would pull out their original balance and a new blank one. Both of us would look at the original one to check whether what the participant wanted to add was already there or not. New blank sheets with the participants’ names and that particular day’s date were used to put in additional points.
Cases were handled in three different ways. Firstly, cases that were received at the beginning of the study were handled slightly different from those received in the mid-term and towards the end of the study. The DAP and CAT were administered before playing Mmaskitlane in the earlier cases. These are the cases that I coded as the “A” cases. “A” cases required longer sessions due to the administration of the additional DAP and CAT media mentioned above.
CHAPTER 1 IDENTIFYING THE STUDY
1.1 INTRODUCTORY ORIENTATION
1.2 RATIONALE AND MOTIVE FOR THE STUDY
1.3 THE NATURE OF MMASKITLANE
1.4 ANALYSIS OF THE PROBLEM
1.5 THE AIM OF THE STUDY
1.6 RESEARCH METHOD
1.7 EXPLANATION OF TERMS AND KEY CONCEPTS
1.8 FURTHER WORK PROGRAMME
CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE STUDY
2.2 THEORETICAL PHILOSOPHICAL FRAMEWOK
2.3 NARRATIVE THERAPY IN PLAY THERAPY
2.4 INDIGENOUS PSYCHOLOGY AND ITS IMPORTANCE
2.5 MMASKITLANE AS AN EXAMPLE OF AN INDIGENOUS GAME
2.6 PLAY, PLAYFULNESS AND THE PLAY CYCLE
2.7 THE THERAPEUTIC VALUE OF PLAY
2.8 INCLUSIVE PLAY PRACTICE
2.9 PLAY THERAPY TECHNIQUES
CHAPTER 3 EMPIRICAL RESEARCH DESIGN
3.2 RESEARCH TYPE
3.3 RESEARCH PARADIGM
3.4 RESEARCH DESIGN
3.5 POPULATION AND SAMPLING PROCEDURES
3.6 DATA COLLECTION
3.7 DATA ANALYSIS
3.9 ETHICAL ASPECTS
CHAPTER 4RESEARCH PROCESS AND FINDINGS
4.2 RESEARCH PROCESS AND CONTEXT
4.3 INVESTIGATION INTO THE METHODS OF IMPLEMENTING MMASKITLANE
4.4 SUMMARY OF CASES
4.5 FINDINGS FROM INVESTIGATED CASES
CHAPTER 5GUIDELINES FOR THE UTILISATION OF MMASKITLANE
5.2 GUIDELINES FOR PREPARING AN EFFECTIVE CLIMATE FOR THE UTILISATION OF MMASKITLANE
5.3 GUIDELINES FOR THE EFFECTIVE 178
IMPLEMENTATION OF MMASKITLANE
5.4 HOW TO USE MMASKITLANE TO ACHIEVE
5.5 GENERAL HINTS FOR THE EFFECTIVE
UTILISATION OF MMASKITLANE
CHAPTER 6 CONLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
6.2 REVIEW OF THE STUDY
THE AIM OF THE STUDY REVISITED
6.4 TRUSTWORTHINESS OF THE STUDY
6.5 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
6.6 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FURTHER STUDIES
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
Guidelines for the utilisation of Mmaskitlane in play therapy by Educational Psychologists