Title page for ETD etd-06212001-155913

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Mathis, Cynthia Renee
URN etd-06212001-155913
Title The Story of a Sexually Abused Child's Sandplay: A Single Case Study
Degree Master of Science
Department Human Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
McCollum, Eric E. Committee Chair
Gil, Eliana Committee Member
Rosen, Karen H. Committee Member
  • Sandplay Therapy
  • Play Therapy
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Child-Centered Play Therapy
Date of Defense 2001-06-07
Availability unrestricted
This single case study provides a detailed description of a 7-year-old sexually abused child’s sandplay, describes prominent themes in the child’s sandplay, and concurrent family transitions and events. Included are reflections and meanings that the therapist attributed to the sandplay. Child-centered play therapy was the guiding theory for the therapy.

Thirty-six consecutive therapy sessions are examined in this study. The therapy sessions were divided into three phases that were tied to significant life events and changes in the sandplay content and process, along with the therapist-child interactions were explored in each of the phases. There were many significant changes in the content and process of the child’s play. He went from primarily using nonliving miniatures to using primarily living miniatures in his sand worlds. Specifically, the use of people and animals increased in his third phase sandplays. The categories of miniatures the child used also increased from one predominant category in the first phase to four or more miniature categories in the third phase. The child’s sandplay moved from primarily static play to increasingly dynamic play. Changes in the child’s play are linked to changes in his living environment.

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