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An evaluation of changes in specific behavioural patterns following a series of sandplay session with five to six year old girls demonstrating behaviours associated with separation anxiety

By January 1, 2015No Comments

This study aims to evaluate the effect of 15 individual non-directive sandplay sessions on the specific behavioural patterns of girls demonstrating behaviours associated with separation anxiety. It takes an attachment theory perspective and explores the hypothesis that sandplay may reduce separation anxiety and shift insecure attachments along a continuum towards a more secure one.
A triangulation of methods was employed:

1. The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ).
2. The Persiano Separation Anxiety Questionnaire (PSAQ) designed by the researcher.
3. An evaluation od sandtrays through themes.

The cohort included six British white girls aged five to six years living with both parents of middle socio-economic status and residing in eastern England.
Quantitative results indicate that separation anxiety behaviours reduced in the entire sample on the 15 weeks period although there were peaks at specific points. These results corroborated with the sandtray’s dominant themes and indicated that the girls’ insecure attachment shifted towards behaviours indicating a more secure attachment by the end of the research.

Findings contribute to recommendations for future research and practice.