Skip to main content

PLAYFUL HANDS: An evaluation of the effect of non-directive play therapy sessions on separation anxiety in deaf children of hearing parents from an attachment perspective.

By January 1, 2013No Comments

This study aims to evaluate the effect of ten individual non-directive play therapy sessions on behaviour associated with separation anxiety in a sample of school-aged deaf children born to hearing parents. It does so from an attachment perspective and explores the hypothesis that non-directive play therapy has the potential to reduce levels of separation anxiety whilst increasing an internalised experience of secure attachment. Three research methods were employed:

1. The Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale (SCAS-P).

2. Mother-and-Child drawings (MAC drawings).

3. The Deaf-aware Separation Anxiety Measure (DaSAM) designed by the researcher.

The cohort comprised five children: between five and eight years old; born to hearing parents; from both genders and varied ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds; with profound to severe bilateral sensorineural hearing loss; without additional affecting comorbidity; and British Sign Language users.

By the conclusion of this study, results demonstrate a reduction in separation anxiety in four out of the five children pointing to an increase in secure attachment within each child’s internal working model. In addition to the discussion for the case in which separation anxiety increased, the study’s findings contribute to recommendations for future research and practice.

**Keywords: deaf children, separation anxiety, attachment, play therapy.