How Migrants and Refugees Experience Play Therapy: The Influences of Cultural Background and Interactions with Social Services
New Zealand is facing a major increase in the number of refugees and migrants arriving each year of whom approximately a quarter are children. Parents and children who mi-grate experience multiple stresses that can impact their mental and social well-being, in-cluding the loss of cultural norms, religious customs, and social support systems, adjust-ment to a new culture and changes in identity and concept of self. Play therapy has been empirically proven as a validated mental health treatment tailored to children's matura-tional needs. A number of studies indicate that refugees and migrants not only experi-ence problems with cultural differences when they migrate, but they also experience challenges associated with engaging with play therapists. This qualitative research project aimed to explore the complex interplay between refugees and migrants' cultural backgrounds and their experiences of and engagement with play therapy at Parentline, Hamilton, New Zealand, with special focus on the role of culture and acculturation factors. A qualitative descriptive study was used to provide contextual data to inform qualitative research on play therapy. Semi-structured inter-views were conducted with 11 refugees and 9 migrants who had accessed play therapy at Parentline Services in Hamilton, New Zealand. Data analysis techniques included thematic analysis. A number of strategies were used to enhance methodological rigor such as member checking, triangulation, peer feedback and reflexivity. The study found that the rapid inflow of migrants and refugees in Hamilton, New Zealand has significant implications for play therapist when engaging with migrants and refugee families. Prac-tice implications for this study highlighted the need to illuminate the attitudes and experi-ences of refugee and migrant families, by enhancing the culturally-appropriate use of play therapy to address the mental health needs of their children to better serve refu-gees and migrant’s families at Parentline.
Advisor: Barusch, Amanda; Taumoepeau, Mele
Degree Name: Master of Social Work
Degree Discipline: Department of Sociology, Gender & Social Work,
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Keywords : refugees, migrants, play therapy and culture.
Research Type: Thesis