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Faculty of Social Work


Social Work


It is important for all therapists to be culturally sensitive to children and their eco-systems as well as to be aware of the current trends and the changing application of play as a healing agent. The focus of this study is on the development of a current description of play by therapists from a global perspective through a thematic analysis of focus groups resulting in an explanation of how play contributes to healing and the practice of therapy. In this study, the naturalistic method of qualitative research (Bowers, 2009; Lincoln & Guba, 1985) was applied to the study of play around the world, resulting in a new description of “play”. The analyses of focus group meetings in Morocco, Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada and Europe resulted in the emergence of 8 themes: productivity through play, contribution to development, facilitation of the relationship through play, honouring diversity, collaboration between children and caregivers, stimulation through technology-based play, relaxation provided by play, and the devaluation of play. These themes, which are presented through the “voices of the participants”, together with the literature review, serve to enrich the changing description of play. With participants from all continents, a current global perspective highlights the changes that play, both as a concept and as a healing agent, has undergone and will continue to do so. New information emerged suggesting that technology has become a worldwide focus for children but has a paradoxical effect on their relationships.

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