Probing play: a narrative inquiry
LE3 .A278 2001
Master of Education
This is an examination of how hope, understood as a consciousness of possibilities for personal growth, is accessed through play. Using a narrative research framework, I document and discuss some of my life experience of play in order to better understand the optimal conditions for accessing hope within contexts of play, including how, as a play therapist, I can best prepare myself to help children become conscious of their own possible ways of being. After explaining the practical and conceptual bases of this thesis, I present my field texts and develop the thesis' positive themes. Accessing hope requires that play is a place where children may sample possible alternative realities. Especially in play, children are very competent teachers who, when they have the opportunity, capably direct others to the possibilities that they themselves want and/or need to sample. Helping children to access hope thus involves providing this opportunity where it is absent. To do so, I prepare myself by becoming a good playmate; that is, someone who communicates acceptance and security to the other and who engages her spirit of play to meet the other on common ground. Optimally, a playmate exhibits certain qualities: an openness to connection; a non-judgmental approach; a non-defensive posture; and a willingness to be vulnerable within the safe, trusting relationship. When the strength of their vulnerability permits playmates to meet each other on common ground, the opportunity for accessing hope is realized.
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