The purpose of this study was to explore the use of sandplay psychotherapy, as intervention technique, in overcoming a language barrier, whilst supporting a young vulnerable child emotionally. An empirical study of limited extent was undertaken, which was qualitative by nature and conducted from the interpretivist paradigm. An in-depth case study was used as research design, whilst educational psychological assessment, intervention and re-assessment, observation, interviews, analysis of documentation, field notes and visual data (photographs) were employed as data collection methods. A young Sotho-speaking girl, who resides in an institution for children who are infected with and affected by HIV&AIDS, who had been made vulnerable by various circumstances (death of primary caregivers, emotional difficulties, and being infected with HIV&AIDS), was selected as the primary participant in the study. The findings of the empirical study are supported by relevant literature with regard to the main concepts guiding the study, namely, sandplay psychotherapy, vulnerable children, and language barriers. The findings were, firstly, that sandplay psychotherapy supported the primary participant emotionally, and, secondly, sandplay psychotherapy was an effective technique for overcoming a language barrier. A further finding was that the emotional healing that appeared to take place had a positive effect on the relationships and communication skills of the primary participant.
Dissertation (MEd (Educational Psychology))--University of Pretoria, 2006.