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Title: Magic Land design and the use of interactive tabletops in non-directive play therapy with primary school children :to play or not to play?
Authors: Pykhtina, Olga
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This research considers the role and design of digital technologies in play therapy settings with young children. Through an aggregation of academic and practitioner literature, and the results of focus group and individual interviews with therapists and counsellors, a set of design requirements for digital technologies that support non-directive play within a play therapy context is proposed. The study explores how these complex requirements could support non-directive play therapy principles through the development and evaluation of Magic Land, a set of four play therapy applications for an interactive tabletop. On the basis of the qualitative research evidence, it is suggested that the design guidelines should be deeply rooted in the theoretical foundations of non-directive play therapy and reflect a number of psychoanalytic and child social development theories. The concepts developed in two opposing schools of thought by Piaget and Vygotsky are used to guide the design and map the research findings. Taking into account the children’s interest in technology, the therapists’ skills, the affordances of the technology and the design guidelines aligned with the core theories of play therapy, it was found that the Magic Land application on an interactive tabletop could support such non-directive play therapy principles as the development of a trusting therapeutic relationship, a child’s creative expression and the gradual nature of the therapeutic process. It created opportunities for children to practise exercising a feeling of mastery and taking the initiative, as well as allowing for joyful and non-goal oriented free play.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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