An exploration of the intrapsychic themes in the play of children affected by HIV/AIDS using the Sceno test.
This study is an exploratory investigation aimed at understanding the intrapsychic themes of children affected by HIV/AIDS, using the medium of the Sceno test. The Sceno test is a play assessment technique. The aim of this research was to ascertain if the Sceno test would be a useful procedure to increase our understanding of children's intrapsychic experience of illness, impending death, and/or the death of their parents. Four children, between the ages of 7 - 11, who are affected by HIV/AIDS and are living in a children's home, were assessed three times. Two children not affected by HIV/AIDS but who had lost their parents were also included in the study. The assessment sessions were videotaped and then the action and dialogue transcribed. A hermeneutic phenomenological methodology was used within a narrative framework to interpret the 'text' of the children's play. Several important themes arose in analysis. Children were concerned with routines, particularly within the family. This is believed to be demonstration of a need for security and structure. The role of the Mother as caring and nurturing occurred often in the childrens' play. This demonstrates attachment or wish for attachment to this figure. Other important themes were those of organising the environment and having control over the context of the play, and the theme of the doctor and illness. The Sceno was found to be a valuable means of eliciting the intrapsychic themes of these children. Limitations and implications of the study are considered.
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