South African Journal of Psychology

A Board Game as Gestalt Assessment Tool for the Child in Middle Childhood Years

Gestalt psychotherapyResearchQualitative researchEnglish
Journal Article - Paid access


During this research the middle childhood years were studied and assessed from the Gestalt approach by means of play, with the focus on developing an assessment tool for the play therapist. Previous work refers to a therapeutic process of play therapy with children based on the Gestalt approach. This process is linked to theory and performance of Gestalt therapy and commences with contact-making and building a therapeutic relationship, regarded as extremely important, in order to observe the child's sense of self and his emotional expression. These phases are then followed by self-nurturing and concluded with termination. Since our research focused more on the beginning phases of therapy, examinations and discussions occurred in terms thereof. During the commencement phase of Gestalt play therapy, qualitative assessment is an important component within the relationship of trust. The aim is to gather as much information about the child as possible, reinforcing the relationship, for awareness-making and for planning the intervention. The literature confirms a shortage of assessment tools in Gestalt play therapy and other areas of assistance. Problems experienced with current assessment techniques and processes create a lacuna that we address. The board game as Gestalt assessment tool was designed for the primary school child and focuses on the therapeutic relationship, sensory stimulation and the child's process (Schoeman 3-aspect model). During application of the board game, valuable information regarding the child was gathered and the Schoeman 3-aspect model was followed. This board game can be utilised successfully by therapists for establishing relationships, sensory stimulation, and discovering the child's process and makes a contribution towards the initial assessment of the primary school child. Throughout the article the child in middle childhood is referred to in the male gender, implying also the female gender, unless stated otherwise.

APA citation

Botha, E., & Dunn, M. (2009). A Board Game as Gestalt Assessment Tool for the Child in Middle Childhood Years. South African Journal Of Psychology, 39, 253-262.