The purpose of the research was to use life mapping during the intervention period in order to enhance the self-knowledge of the children in their mid-childhood years, in a children’s home. In order to reach this goal, the life mapping- and the gestalt play- therapeutic processes had been combined with, art and creativity included in the process. The study is quantitative and a standardised measuring instrument had been used for the pre-test and posttest, according to the single-system design. The hypothesis was tested by way of statistical analysis, by comparing data obtained from the pre-test and posttest. The child in a children’s home does not always know who he/she is. Because of possible trauma experienced before admission to the children’s home, self-knowledge could not be developed from within or from input obtained out of the social environment. Sometimes, a child in a children’s home, does not know why he/she was admitted. It is necessary for the child to know where he/she came from, where he/she is at present and where is he/she is going. The framework of life mapping integrates these concepts. By compiling a life map, a child obtains self-knowledge. When he/she had formed a perception of who and what he/she is and what he/she wants to achieve, the child can start working on self-fulfillment. With self-knowledge and a good perception of his/her life, the child develops a self concept, which usually contains an element of self-evaluation. The child can start leading an own life, make own choices, take responsibility for his/her own life and becomes independent, notwithstanding the circumstances of origin. The purpose is to bring back balance and a sense of self into the life of the child, which are also the purposes emphasised by both life mapping and gestalt play therapy. The literature study includes both the behaviour and emotions of the child in a children’s home. The influence on the life of the child had been investigated. Objective one was to build on the knowledge base on life mapping and gestalt play therapy processes. The processes were compared and integrated in this study. Life mapping as a concept, is known since the early 20th century, but was not applied in therapy, often. The developmental phase of a child in mid-childhood, in a children’s home had been studied. The developmental tasks in the mid-childhood are varied and is a progression of tasks from the previous phases. The synthesis, according to Erikson, during this phase, is capability. Industry versus inferiority could be seen as the “crisis” of this developmental phase. The child starts having the concept of the true self, versus the ideal self and he/she compares him/herself with others. Objective two was intervention by way of life mapping, together with the gestalt principles. This proved to have been very successful with observing the research results. Aspects of the whole life of every respondent had been included into the life maps. The fact that the life had been looked at in totality is in accordance with the gestalt concept of gestalt therapy. The respondents started owning their own personality traits and began to experiencing their uniqueness. It was thus enhancement of self-knowledge that took place. All the objectives of the study had been reached. The study resulted in an 80 percent significant change in the average self-knowledge of the respondents.
Dissertation (MSD Play Therapy(Social Work))--University of Pretoria, 2007.
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