This study investigates changes in specific behavioural patterns following a series of non-directive serial sandplay sessions with boys aged five-six years demonstrating oppositional defiant behaviours in the classroom, as defined in section F91.3 of the ICD-10 and 313.81 of the DSM-IV-TR.
This is a small scale qualitative systematic hermeneutic study supported by quantitative data. The research sample consists of five Caucasian boys attending a primary school in a small town situated in North West England. The boys were selected by using questions 21-28 of the SNAP IV Rating Scale.
Four assessment methods were used these are; Continual evaluations of sandplay sessions and symbolic interpretation; House-Tree-Person Assessment; Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaires; and a Five Trait Rating Scale.
The results demonstrate a correlation between all four assessment tools for four out of the five children indicating a reduction of oppositional defiant behaviours. The fifth child did not show improvement, however a plausible explanation has been provided for his results.
The results indicate that a series of non-directive sandplay sessions with boys aged 5-6 years can reduce their oppositional defiant behaviours in the classroom. Changes in the boys behaviour are reflected by their level of engagement and expression in the sandtrays.
The results indicate that further research over an extended period of time is required.