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A developmental unit featuring play media for disruptive fourth and fifth grade students

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A developmental unit featuring play media for disruptive fourth and fifth grade students
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Flax, Jo-Anne, 1950-
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viii, 196 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.

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Academic advising ( jstor )
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Classrooms ( jstor )
Elementary schools ( jstor )
Learning ( jstor )
Play therapy ( jstor )
Psychological counseling ( jstor )
School counseling ( jstor )
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Counselor Education thesis, Ph.D ( lcsh )
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Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 1998.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 173-195).
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Typescript.
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Vita.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Jo-Anne Flax.

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A DEVELOPMENTAL UNIT FEATURING PLAY MEDIA
FOR DISRUPTIVE FOURTH AND FIFTH GRADE STUDENTS













By

JO-ANNE FLAX


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


1998













ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


Doctoral degrees do not just happen! I could not have completed this

dissertation and subsequent degree without the assistance and support of

many special people. First, I would like to thank my friends who stood by

me and never lost confidence in my abilities. Second, my colleagues, who

were too polite to say nol Third, the peer facilitators, administrators, and

teachers who so willingly took part in the study have my sincere

appreciation. My family also deserves special recognition for their long

distance support of my work. Further, I would like to thank my committee

members at the University of Florida who were giving of their time in helping

me complete the process. In particular, I would like to thank my committee

chair, Bob Myrick, who has been a wonderful mentor and role model. His

patience, support, and expertise helped make this a true learning experience.

Finally, I would like to formally acknowledge some things I have

learned while pursuing this degree that are very important to me: you can't

live your life from under a rock, you really do get just one chance at life, and

windows are made to be opened. To those special people who have helped

me learn these things, you have my appreciation and love.














TABLE OF CONTENTS


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS----------------------------------------- ii

ABSTRACT------------------------------ ----- -------------------------- vi

CHAPTERS

1 INTRODUCTION------------------------------------------------------- 1

Purpose of the Study--------------------------------- -- 3
Research Questions---------------------------- ------------------ 4
Statement of the Problem----------------------------- ------------ 5
Need for the Study--------------------------------- --------------- 8
Theoretical Bases for the Study-------------------------------------- 11
Developmental Guidance and Counseling------------------------- 11
Play Counseling------------------------------------------------- 14
Peer Facilitators----------------------------- ------------- 17
Definition of Terms-------------------------------- ----------------- 19
Organization of the Study----------------------------- ----------- 21

2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE------------- ----------------- 23

Disruptive Children------------------ -------------- ---- ------24
Developmental Guidance and Counseling------------------------------ 39
The Developmental Model of Guidance and Counseling ------- 39
Developmental Play Counseling--------------------------------- 44
Play------------------------------ --- ------------------------- 47
Play Defined--------------------- --------------- 47
Rationale for Children's Play------------------------------------ 48
Theories of Play Counseling---------------- ----------------- 52
Psychoanalytic play therapy---------------------------------- 53
Active play therapy------- --- ----------- ------ 55
Release play therapy------------------ -------------------- 55
Structured play therapy--------------- ----------------- 56
Relationship play therapy--------------------------------- 56
Non-directive play therapy------- ----------- ------ 57








Therapeutic Uses of Play---------- ------------------- 64
Play Therapy --------------------- -------------- 70
Play therapy as an intervention----------------------- -- 71
Play therapy and play counseling------- ----------------- 74
Play Counseling in the Elementary School------------------- 76
Play media----------------------------------- 79
Structured counseling ------------------------------ 82
Peer Facilitators-------------------------------------------------- 83
Summary--------------------------.......-------------------------- 90

3 METHODS AND PROCEDURES-------------------------------------- 91

Population and Sample----------------------------------- ---------- 92
Population-------------- --------------------92
Sample--------------------------------------------------- 93
Research Design------ ----------------------------------------- 95
Hypotheses--------------------------------------------------- 96
Analyses of Data------------------------------------------- 97
Independent Variable---------------------------- --------------- 98
The Developmental Unit----------------------------------------- 98
Unit Leadership and Leader Training------------------------------ 104
Dependent Variables------------------------------------- -------106
Acting-Out Behavior---------------------------- ---------- 107
Peer Relationships------------------------ ---------- -------107
Self-Concept--------------------------------------------------- 108
Student Classroom Behavior---------------------------------- 109
Instrumentation----------------------------------------------------- 109
Walker Problem Behavior Identification Checklist (WPBIC)----- 110
Reliability of the Walker Problem Behavior Identification
Checklist---------------------------- ------------------112
Validity of the Walker Problem Behavior Identification
Checklist---------------------------- ------------------113
Student Self-Concept Scale (SSCS)-------------------------------- 115
Reliability of the Student Self-Concept Scale--------------- 118
Validity of the Student Self-Concept Scale-------------- 119
Disruptive Behavior Rating Scale---------------------------------- 124
Summary----------------------------------------- ------------------ 125

4 RESEARCH FINDINGS------------------------- ------------------- 126

Acting-Out Behavior-------------------------------- ------------ 127
Disturbed Peer Relationships------------------------------- -----130
Self-Concept-------------------------------------------------------- 133
Classroom Behavior--------------------------- ------------- 136









5 SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, LIMITATIONS, IMPLICATIONS AND
RECOMMENDATIONS---------------------------------------------- 142

Conclusions--------------------------------------------------------- 146
Limitations------------------------------------------------------------ 146
Implications and Recommendations----------------- ----------- 147

APPENDICES

A GROUP LEADER'S MANUAL: THE DEVELOPMENTAL UNIT--------- 149

B CORRELATION TABLE------------------------------------------------- 172

REFERENCES------------------------------ -------- ------------------- 173

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH------------------------ ----------- ----- ------196














Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
Of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

A DEVELOPMENTAL UNIT FEATURING PLAY MEDIA
FOR DISRUPTIVE FOURTH AND FIFTH GRADE STUDENTS

By

Jo-anne Flax

May 1998

Chairman: Robert Myrick, Ph.D.
Major Department: Counselor Education


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a

developmental guidance unit featuring play media on disruptive elementary

school students. More specifically, the study focused on the use of play

counseling strategies with fourth and fifth grade groups of children who

were identified as having disruptive classroom behaviors. The impact of the

unit on the children participating was examined in terms of students' acting-

out behavior, peer-relationships, self-concepts, and classroom behaviors.

The investigation involved three experimental groups: 1) a counselor-led play

group; 2) a peer facilitator-led play group; and 3) a control group which

received no planned interventions.

The study was conducted using a pretest-posttest control-group

design. Sixty-three students completed the Student Self-Concept Scale and








the Disruptive Behavior Rating Scale. The teachers of these students

completed the DBRS and the Walker Problem Behavior Identification

Checklist. Analyses of covariance were conducted for the dependent

variables of acting-out behavior, peer relationships, self-concept, and

classroom behavior using SPSS for Windows, 7.0. Further, gender

differences and group leadership were examined in terms of these variables.

The results of this study showed no statistically significant differences

among experimental and control groups for acting-out behavior, self-concept,

or classroom behavior in regard to group leadership or grade level. Peer

relationships was found to have a statistically significant difference between

grade levels. On post-test, students in Grade 5 scored significantly lower,

indicating better peer relationships, than students in Grade 4.













CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION


The behavior of disruptive students is a serious problem in public

schools. Disruptive pupils make the teaching process more difficult for

teachers and negatively affect the learning environment for all students.

Lessons are interrupted while the teacher deals with inappropriate behavior.

A feeling of tension may occur in the classroom making learning difficult.

Students who are disruptive in school exhibit poor self-control and

frequently act-out. It is not unusual for disruptive children to engage in

destructive acts toward others or things in their environment. Aggressive

actions, both verbal and physical, are often part of disruptive children's

behavior. Further, they are frequently noncompliant and defy teacher

requests.

Children who are disruptive are often ineffective learners who tend to

have poor relationships with both peers and teachers. Not surprisingly,

disruptive children may comment that no one likes them or they may be

hypercritical of themselves and others. Further, they may be left out of

group activities and may be rejected by their peers.








Teachers are concerned about these children and often refer them to

administrators, counselors, or for special placement. What is the best way

to help these children? What counseling approaches might be used?

Steve is a fourth grade student who hits other children with no

apparent provocation. He is frequently out of his seat in the classroom and

does not comply with his teacher's directions. Reading, arithmetic, and

other academic subjects are difficult for him. He blurts out answers and

often teases other children in the classroom and on the playground. No one

has been able to find an effective way to help Steve control himself.

Jennifer, a fifth grade student, pouts when things don't go her way

and loses her temper easily. She frequently argues with her teacher and

other children. She rarely completes a reading or arithmetic assignment and

often destroys the work she does. Jennifer blames other children for her

mistakes and lashes out at them in an angry way. Her classmates leave her

out of free-time activities. The teacher is concerned about Jennifer's

behavior and the impact it is having on other students.

Steve and Jennifer might be sent to the school principal, who would

probably talk briefly with them. Some principals lecture, reprimand, or even

threaten such children as they talk about how behavior must change. A

parent-teacher conference might be arranged. Or the children could be

referred to a school counselor who might also talk with them about their

classroom behaviors, their consequences and possible alternatives.








Counseling may focus on topics such as teacher and peer relationships, self-

concept and self-control (Mordock, 1991; Ohlsen, 1983).

Many methods have been used to help disruptive children adapt to

their school settings. Behavioral and cognitive interventions have provided

beneficial results when used on an individual and group basis. Parent

training has also been effective. In the school setting, counselors are

looking for short-term interventions that are effective in helping the child

learn more effectively with a minimal loss of classroom instructional time.

Therefore, there is a need for innovative short-term ways to work with

disruptive students.

One promising strategy is the use of play media, which helps a

counselor enter the child's world and develop an effective working

relationship. Given that Axline (1947, 1967) and more recently, Landreth

(1991) have referred to play as the natural language of children, it is

surprising that this treatment modality has not received more attention with

young children. It could be a welcome addition to the "tool box" of the

elementary school counselor.



Purpose of the Study



The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a

developmental guidance unit featuring play media upon disruptive

elementary school students. More specifically, this study focused on the








use of play counseling strategies with fourth and fifth grade groups of

children who were identified as exhibiting disruptive classroom behaviors.

The impact of the unit on the children participating was examined in terms

of students' acting-out behavior, peer relationships, self-concepts, and

classroom behaviors. Further, the impact of the unit in relation to peer and

adult led activities was examined.



Research Questions



The following research questions were examined:

1. Does participation in a developmental guidance unit featuring play media

have a significant effect upon the acting-out behaviors of disruptive

elementary school students?

2. Does participation in the unit have an effect upon the peer relationships

of the disruptive students?

3. Does participation in the unit have an effect upon the self-concepts of

the disruptive students?

4. Does participation in the unit have an effect upon the classroom

behaviors of the disruptive students?

5. Does participation in the unit affect girls and boys differently?

6. Is there a difference between the effects of the unit when the unit is led

by an adult or peer?








Statement of the Problem



The impact of disruptive children in the elementary classroom has

been well documented in the professional literature. Out of seat behavior,

aggressive behavior toward peers and adults, destruction of property,

speaking out of turn, and refusal to follow the directions of the teacher are

among the disruptive behaviors which may be observed in elementary

school classrooms. Aggressive behavior, in particular, has been positively

correlated with inadequate school adjustment and low academic

performance (Coopersmith, 1959; Walker, Colvin, & Ramsey, 1995;

Wittmer & Myrick, 1980). Disruptive behavior interferes with teaching and

learning (Gaustad, 1992; Hovland, Smaby, & Maddux, 1996; Nelson,

Dykeman, Powell, & Petty, 1996). When a teacher must deal with frequent

disruptions, it is difficult for learning to take place. Further, the stress

placed on the teacher in these situations may have a negative influence on

the rapport with children and thereby affect the learning process (Brembeck,

1962; Ginott, 1972; Hovland, Smaby, & Maddux, 1996).

Non-disruptive students are also influenced by the inappropriate

behavior of the disruptive child (Baker, 1985; Brake & Gerler, Jr., 1994;

DuPaul & Stoner, 1994; Hovland, Smaby, & Maddux, 1996). Bleck and

Bleck (1982) reported that "students who watch outbursts of aggression

and teacher-student conflicts may find themselves distracted, frightened,

intimidated, or unwillingly involved. Thus their learning is impaired" (p.138).








Students exhibiting disruptive behavior in the schools not only pose

problems for the teacher and other children in the school setting, but if not

dealt with in an effective manner, the disruptive child is at risk of rejection

by peers (Asher, Parkhurst, Hymel, & Williams, 1990; Bleck & Bleck, 1982;

Coie, Dodge, & Kupersmidt, 1990; Coie & Koeppel, 1990; DuPaul & Stoner,

1994; Hovland, Smaby, & Maddux, 1996; Jewett, 1992) and escalating

behavioral symptoms (Dodge, 1989; DuPaul & Stoner, 1994; Griffin, 1987;

Jones, Sheridan, & Binns, 1983; Major, 1990; Walker, Colvin, & Ramsey,

1995). Of further concern is the impact that the disruptive behavior has on

the emotional development of the child. Some forms of disruptive behavior

indicate early disturbances in social competence and interpersonal skills

which may indicate serious emotional and behavioral problems (Zahn-

Waxler, Cole, Richardson, Friedman, Michel, & Belouad, 1994).

At a time when self-concepts are being formed, the school experience

is a significant factor. A positive school experience is an important factor in

the development of a positive self-concept. Holly (1992) noted that children

with a high sense of self-esteem tend to do better in school. Disruptive

children encounter more negative forms of discipline than praise and

encouragement making a positive experience unlikely. Steps are needed to

reduce the negative behaviors and allow children to learn in an encouraging

environment.

Students with behavioral problems are considered by many in the field

of education to be at a high risk for not completing high school (Hovland,








Smaby, & Maddux, 1996; Perez-Selles & Hergert, 1989; Webb, 1992;

Weinberg & Weinberg, 1992). Further, children who demonstrate social

difficulties experience both short and long term consequences which appear

to be precursors of more serious problems in adolescence and adulthood

(Jones, Sheridan, & Binns, 1983).

In a poll conducted by Elam, Rose, & Gallup (1994), educators

identified lack of student discipline as being a primary concern in the

schools. Comer, Haynes, Hamilton-Lee, and Boger (1988) reported that

when teachers are asked about the major problems they encounter in the

schools, lack of discipline is included. Further, Safran and Safran (1985)

referred to disruptive student behavior as among the most pressing

problems in elementary schools today. Thompson, White, and Morgan

(1982) point to the disproportionate amount of time taken from classroom

instruction to deal with disruptive behavior.

Among teachers, aggressive student behavior consistently is ranked

as one of the most objectionable forms of disruptive student behavior (Hersh

& Walker, 1983; Nelson, Dykeman, Powell, & Petty, 1996; Walker, 1986).

Hoover and Hazier (1991) found that teachers in elementary and middle

school grades regularly identify approximately twelve percent of students as

disruptive to others in a physical or psychological way. Teachers frequently

turn to the school counselor for help in dealing with disruptive children.

Play counseling has been found to be a successful intervention with

disruptive children in the elementary school (Bleck & Bleck, 1982). Time for








counseling is limited in the schools. Developmental guidance units using

play media within a limited time frame have not received much attention.

Effective interventions that can be quickly implemented in the elementary

school setting need to be identified and empirically tested.



Need for the Study



Disruptive behavior is a visible and pressing problem in American

schools, posing a significant risk to school safety and order (Short &

Shapiro, 1993b). Children exhibiting disruptive behaviors can inflict both

physical harm and verbal abuse on those around them, and have a negative

effect on the education of their classmates. These children divert teachers

from their teaching tasks and cause them to spend considerable time in

behavioral management (Cotton, 1990; Gemmer, Harris, & Wyckoff, 1989).

Disruptive behaviors include such actions as aggression toward others

(i.e., hitting, shoving, and kicking), loss of temper, arguing and defiance of

authority, talking out in class, and using inappropriate language. If these

behaviors are not controlled, a significant loss of teaching time may occur.

Thompson, White, and Morgan (1982) referred to the disproportionate

amount of time taken by the teacher to deal with the disruptive behavior of

students in the classroom. This impacts not only the disruptive children, but

classmates as well. Cotton (1990) noted that approximately half of all








available classroom time is taken up with activities other than instruction

and that discipline problems take up most of this time.

Several interventions have been effective in modifying the disruptive

behavior of elementary children. For example, Amatea (1989) used a family

systems approach and suggested that working with the child through a

series of family-school consultations could be helpful. Shields and Green

(1996) advocated the conceptualization of the classroom as a system

without the involvement of families. Training students in social skills has

been used many times (Dodge, 1989). Techniques such as coaching,

modeling, behavioral rehearsal, feedback, and reinforcement have yielded

positive results (Walker, Colvin, & Ramsey, 1995). The utilization of play as

a counseling technique focusing on disruptive behavior has been described

as a possibility (Bleck & Bleck, 1982), but not extensively researched.

Several reports have appeared in the counseling literature which

utilize a developmental counseling approach to working with elementary

school children. For example, Bleck & Bleck (1982) found positive effects in

altering the attitudes and increasing the self-esteem of disruptive third grade

children. Campbell (1990) described a successful group for low-performing

students stressing motivation. A developmental unit was utilized by Myrick,

Merhill, and Swanson (1986) to improve attitudes and behaviors of fourth

grade children. Developmental guidance and counseling units appear to be

effective in working with disruptive students, but more research is needed.

In addition, the integration of play counseling techniques might provide a








missing ingredient that helps students learn more effective social and

learning skills at school.

The necessity for effective interventions which can be implemented to

reduce the disruptive behavior of elementary school children has been well

documented (Hovland, Smaby, & Maddux, 1996; Walker, Colvin, &

Ramsey, 1995). However, there is a lack of empirically based research

dealing with time-limited developmental play interventions. Disruptive

students need time-efficient help to gain control of their behaviors in order

to improve learning efficiency. Further, the teachers of these students need

help in order to maintain positive classroom atmosphere which encourages

learning for all students.

Play therapy and play counseling techniques have been recognized as

effective interventions in the treatment of many childhood problems.

Landreth (1991) identified fourteen problem behaviors in which a play

intervention is effective in eliminating or at least diminishing significant

problems in children. However, there has been little empirically based

research regarding the use of a developmental guidance unit using play

media for the correction of disruptive behavior exhibited by elementary

school children.








Theoretical Bases for the Study



Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Developmental guidance and counseling during the school years

attempts to identify the basic skills, interpersonal understandings, and

experiences children need to be successful in school and in later life.

Students are given the opportunity to learn about themselves and others

before problems arise in their lives. If a crisis should occur, then the

children will have a basis of knowledge and experience from which to draw

to resolve the problem for themselves. In this way, a developmental

approach enables students to learn effectively and efficiently within a

learning climate that fosters academic and personal growth (ASCA, 1990).

Developmental counseling focuses on the goals of self-understanding

and self-awareness leading to self-acceptance (Dinkmeyer, 1966).

Therefore, the self-concept is an important part of developmental guidance

and counseling. It appears that significant attitudes about self, others,

school, and society, which affect how a person learns and later functions as

a mature adult, are formed while young people are growing. According to

Myrick (1993), as the self-concept develops, the attitudes and personal

styles of the individual form, which in turn, become an important part of the

learning process. It is clear that the movement through developmental tasks

and stages depends greatly on the self-concept, and the self-concept, in

turn, has a great deal of influence on interpersonal relationships as well as








learning. To illustrate this, Nave (1990) found that self-concept is more

closely associated with student success than the IQ. Clearly, the self-

concept plays an important role in the development of the child.

There are a number of defining principles of developmental guidance.

First and foremost is the concept that human development is a life-long

process which involves physiological, psychological, and social elements

which begins at birth and continues until death. Second, this process of

development involves an interaction between what a person inherits

genetically at birth and the different environments in which that person lives

and grows (Myrick, 1993). Inherited potential can be nourished or stifled

depending on such factors as the type, amount, quality, and timing of

experiences (Paisley & Peace, 1995). Behavior, then, is a result of multiple

causes. Actions are seen as the result of the individual's unique interaction

between heredity, environment, and time.

Developmental counseling recognizes that behavior, as well as the

child, is dynamic and continually in the process of becoming (Dinkmeyer &

Muro, 1977). The developmental counselor works from an awareness that

as the child moves through developmental stages, behavior that may be

problematic may also be predictable in terms of a particular stage of

development. The role of the counselor is to help the child become more

aware of the behavior chosen to meet the needs of the situation. A basic

premise of developmental counseling is that self-awareness is essential

before self-management can occur (Dinkmeyer & Muro, 1977). Once the








child is aware of the alternatives involved in a situation, self-acceptance is

increased leading to a stronger self-concept. According to Dinkmeyer and

Muro (1977), "the goal of developmental counseling is the facilitation of

human effectiveness" (p.61). This includes knowing oneself, as well as

one's strengths and weaknesses, having a sense of personal worth and self-

confidence, having the ability to meet the tasks of life realistically and

successfully, being responsible for choices and actions, and understanding

one's own feelings and actions.

According to Wittmer (1993), a developmental program, by design,

focuses on the needs, interests, and issues related to the various stages of

students' developmental growth. Typical developmental concerns in the

school setting would include peer relationships, getting along better with

parents and siblings, making new friends, and dealing with feelings

(Dinkmeyer & Muro, 1977). Myrick (1993) identified eight goals which

characterize almost all developmental guidance and counseling programs

including understanding the school environment, understanding self and

others, understanding attitudes and behavior, decision making and problem

solving, interpersonal and communication skills, and school success skills.

Developmental counseling in the schools is aimed at making a

difference for the children and the school in general. Promoting the ability

of children to build such skills as effective problem solving, moral decision

making, and satisfying interpersonal relationships with peers and adults is of

greatest importance. The developmental model allows for learning to take








place at the most appropriate time in children's lives. Further, the

opportunity to continue learning is considered fundamental to this approach.



Play Counseling

The use of play in a counseling relationship can be traced back to

Hermine Hug-Hellmuth in 1921 when she reported that play was essential in

child analysis and therapy with children seven years of age or younger

(Gumaer, 1984). In the 1920s, Anna Freud and Melanie Klein utilized

aspects of play in their therapeutic work. Later, in the 1930s, the use of

play approaches was separated into active play therapy, where play of the

children was structured by the therapist via selected toys and scenarios,

and passive play therapy, where the play was unrestricted. In passive

therapy, the acceptance of emotional expression was emphasized. Children

were free to play at their own pace and deal with issues they selected.

Otto Rank modified play therapy in an important way. He believed

that the emotional attachment that developed between the child and the

therapist provided the curative power rather than the interpretation of play.

Following the work of Otto Rank, Carl Rogers' non-directive interventions

emerged. In this approach, the therapist makes no attempt to control or

direct the therapy; rather, the focus was on creating a therapeutic

relationship which enabled clients to solve their own problems. The

emphasis was on the client's capacity to move toward self-growth.








Virginia Axline was a student of Carl Rogers at the University of

Chicago. She incorporated Rogers' therapeutic philosophy into the area of

play therapy. Axline (1947) included some limitations and direction to her

work with children, but only for purposes of physical and emotional safety.

Children were prevented from harming themselves, the therapist, or

destroying property. These limitations established boundaries which

provided a feeling of security and stability necessary for a therapeutic

relationship (Gumaer, 1984). Axline's approach, which stressed play as the

natural vehicle of expression for the child, is arguably the purest form of

play therapy counselors have at their disposal. Her non-directive approach

and commitment to following the lead of the child has been accepted as an

effective, if time consuming intervention.

Play has been an effective means of establishing a therapeutic

relationship; it reduces anxiety, encourages expression of feelings, serves as

a diagnostic tool, and provides opportunities for socialization (Landreth,

1991). Play allows children to practice new roles, express emotion, try to

make sense of experiences, and deal with reality and fantasy (Knell, 1993).

It is clearly an activity in which children willingly engage and feel

comfortable. It is a natural means of communication which, if utilized in

therapeutic situations, can help children develop the necessary self-

confidence to learn and try out new behaviors (Gumaer, 1984).

One of the most natural and direct ways for a child to express

feelings is through play (Gladding, 1993). Ginott (1961) referred to play as








the talk of the child and toys as the words. Through the use of play media,

the counselor enters the child's world of feelings and ideas and fosters a

helping relationship with a young child (Myrick & Haldin, 1971). The use of

play media such as puppets and dolls, clay, games, and music serves to

facilitate both the child's imagination as well as emotional expression. The

play serves as a point from which the counselor can make the leap from

make-believe to real life.

Various play media have been used with children in the school setting

both individually and in groups. Art has been one of the most commonly

used approaches in the school setting (Bertoia & Allan, 1988; Denny, 1969;

Nystul, 1980; Rubin, 1988; Thompson & Allan, 1987). Puppets and dolls

have also played a major role in working with young children in schools

(Carter, 1987; Current, 1985; Muro, 1983; Palumbo, 1989; Pope, Edel, &

Lane, 1974; Woltmann, 1967). Woltman stressed that children relate to,

identify with, and ultimately work through feelings using puppets (Knell,

1993). Other play media which have been effective include drama, games,

guided imagery, music and movement, and storytelling. Landreth, Homeyer,

and Bratton (1993) offer a bibliography of more than seventy articles

describing the use of play media in the elementary school alone dating back

to 1940.

A trend in treatment of children has been the use of short-term

interventions. Once considered superficial and useful as a temporary

intervention until long-term treatment could begin, brief therapy is now








viewed more positively, often as the treatment of choice (Knell, 1993).

There is growing evidence that brief therapy can be as productive as long-

term treatment (Welter, 1982). Brief therapy typically involves fewer

sessions than its prolonged cousin, with an increased emphasis on the

presenting problems. Short-term interventions focus on specific problem

resolutions rather than more global interventions (Knell, 1993).

In the schools, brief counseling approaches can be a time-effective

vehicle for helping children in individual and group settings. Harrison (1993)

stated that brief approaches can be implemented with developmental,

preventative, and crisis situations thus making them ideal for the school

setting. Brief counseling tends to be action-oriented and geared towards

problem solving. They are logical, structured and usually progress in a step-

by-step manner.



Peer Facilitators

Myrick and Bowman (1981b) defined a peer facilitator as a student

who uses helping skills and concepts to assist other students and

sometimes adults to think about ideas and feelings, to explore alternatives

to situations, and to make responsible decisions. This concept is not a new

one, but can be traced back to the one-room schoolhouses of the 1930s

where the older, more skilled students helped the younger, less

accomplished students (Campbell, 1993).








In the 1960s, the idea of peer helper programs became very popular,

partly as a result of the increasing problem of drug abuse. Counselors, as

well as others in education searched for ways to reach students before they

developed problems with drug addiction. Surveys indicated that students

with problems turned to their peers, then counselors and coaches

(Campbell, 1993; Myrick & Folk, 1991). This finding served as a push for

peer helper programs which flourished at this time, especially at the high

school level. As the variety of peer helping groups expanded, high school

peer facilitators were trained to lead preventive guidance groups with

elementary students.

Four basic peer facilitator roles have been identified (Myrick &

Bowman, 1981b). The use of peers as student assistants commonly finds

students helping counselors, teachers, or administrators with various

structured tasks including answering telephones, taking and delivering

messages, and operating media equipment. A second role of peer

facilitators is that of a tutor. Cross-age tutoring, utilized by educators for

many years, becomes more than academic review when the trained, peer

facilitator-tutor can address motivation, interest, learning barriers, and self-

esteem. A special friend can provide encouragement, support, and perhaps

serve as a mentor to new students or students who have no friends.

Finally, a fourth role of peer facilitators is that of small group leaders. Their

role is to provide more personalized experiences for students and to increase

the productivity of the group (Myrick & Folk, 1991).








Since the 1970s, hundreds of articles have appeared in the literature

describing successful programs and substantiating the effectiveness of peer

programs aimed at reducing the school drop-out rate as well as increasing

appropriate school behaviors and positive attitudes toward school

(Campbell, 1993). For example, Mathur and Rutherford (1991b) conducted

a review of the literature dealing with peer interventions in promoting social

skills of children and adolescents with behavioral disorders. Their results

indicated that peer-mediated interventions were successful in reducing

behavioral problems. A study conducted by Fouts (1985) demonstrated the

effectiveness of eighth grade facilitators with sixth graders' self-concept and

attitude toward school. Similarly, fifth grade peer facilitators successfully

worked with disruptive students in the second and third grade to increase

desired classroom behavior (Bowman & Myrick, 1987). Peer facilitators

have become accepted as an important part of a developmental counseling

program. Clearly, a peer facilitator program can be a powerful counselor

intervention (Myrick, 1993).



Definition of Terms



Acting-Out Behavior: Acting-out behavior is behavior which is described as

inappropriate such as arguing with those in authority, defiance of

instructions, and temper tantrums. Acting-out behavior includes physical

aggression toward objects or others.








Developmental Guidance: Developmental guidance is an approach to

guidance and counseling that identifies the basic skills, understandings, and

experiences that children need to be successful and implements individual,

small group, and classroom activities to facilitate personal, social, and

academic growth.

Developmental Guidance Unit: A developmental guidance unit consists of a

series of counseling interventions that are organized into a sequential set of

sessions having specific objectives, materials, recommended activities, and

discussion leads. The focus is typically on general concerns or an indirect

approach to a problem situation.

Disruptive Behavior: Disruptive behavior is any inappropriate behavior which

disrupts the learning environment in the classroom (e.g. calling out, teasing

other children, verbal abuse toward others, throwing objects, disturbing

others during their work or seat time) and interrupts normal classroom

procedures.

Disturbed Peer Relationships: For the purposes of this study, those

behaviors which indicate a child's inability to get along well with others

such as lack of friendships, avoidance of activity with classmates, and

expression of loneliness or unhappiness, constitute disturbed peer

relationships. Children with disturbed peer relationships may be seen as

having a low self-concept.

Peer Facilitator: A peer facilitator is a student who uses helping skills and

concepts to assist other students and sometimes adults to think about ideas








and feelings, to explore alternatives to situations, and to make responsible

decisions (Myrick & Bowman, 1981b).

Play Media: Play media consists of materials utilized in the play process

such as clay, puppets and dolls, music, drama, and games to facilitate

imagination, elicit emotional expression, and learn interpersonal and

behavioral skills.

Self-Concept: The self-concept is defined as the totality of a complex,

organized, and dynamic system of learned beliefs, attitudes, and opinions

that each person holds to be true about his or her personal existence

(Purkey, 1992).



Organization of the Study



The related literature in the areas of disruptive children and the

treatment of their behavioral symptoms, developmental guidance, play

counseling, and the use of peer facilitators will be addressed in Chapter II.

The population and sample for the study, independent and dependent

variables, the various instrumentation utilized, research design, hypotheses,

participant training, the structured, developmental play unit, data analysis, a

review of methodological limitations and an implementation schedule are

outlined in Chapter III. The results of the study will be





22


reported in Chapter IV. Chapter V will contain a summary of the results of

the study and an analysis of these results including limitations and

suggestions for future investigation.













CHAPTER II
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE


This study focused on the use of play counseling strategies with

elementary school children who were identified as having disruptive

classroom behaviors. It involved experimental groups and examined the

effects of a developmental guidance unit featuring play media that was

counselor-led and peer facilitator-led. Structured play formed a significant

part of the activities in the unit.

A review of the professional literature is presented in this chapter. A

description of disruptive children, the impact and consequences of

disruptive behavior upon learning and development, possible causes of the

behavior, and previous attempts to deal with these children will receive

attention. The history and theories of play counseling, the therapeutic uses

of play in counseling, and a review of the previous use of play with

elementary children, and in particular, disruptive children will be examined.

Further, the use of a developmental model of guidance including peer

facilitator programs will be explored.








Disruptive Children



Disruptive student behavior is one of the most serious, ongoing

problems in public schools (Nelson, Dykeman, Powell, & Petty, 1996; Safran

& Safran, 1985; Walker, Colvin, & Ramsey, 1995). Disruptive behaviors

include verbal or physical aggression toward others or objects, teasing of

other children, and disturbing others with vocal outbursts at inappropriate

times. When teachers are asked about the major problems they encounter

in school, discipline problems and disruptive behavior are included among

their concerns (Brake & Gerler, Jr., 1994; Comer, 1988; Elam, Rose, &

Gallup, 1994; Hovland, Smaby, & Maddux, 1996) and is becoming an

increasing priority (Benshoff, Poidevant, & Cashwell, 1994). A significant

proportion of discipline problems arise from disruptive pupils in the

classroom creating difficult teaching conditions for teachers and frustration

and tension for students (Gaustad, 1992; Hovland, Smaby, & Maddux,

1996). An estimated twelve percent of elementary and middle school

children have been identified as disrupting others in a physical or

psychological way in the school setting (Hoover & Hazier, 1991).

Classroom behavior is an important factor in determining whether or

not children will experience academic success (Gerler, 1994). Further, the

behavior of disruptive children in the classroom may play a negative role in

the learning of others (Baker, 1985; Brake & Gerler, Jr., 1994; DuPaul &

Stoner, 1994; Hovland, Smaby, & Maddux, 1996; Nelson, Dykeman,








Powell, & Petty, 1996). Students who witness the inappropriate behavior of

disruptive pupils and the ensuing teacher-student conflict may feel

distracted, frightened, or intimidated (Bleck & Bleck, 1982).

Inattentive and disruptive students present significant challenges to

school personnel (DuPaul & Stoner, 1994). When a teacher must deal with

frequent disruptions, it is difficult for learning to take place. The stress

placed on the teacher in these situations may have a negative influence on

the rapport with other children and affect the learning process (Brembeck,

1962; Ginott, 1972; Hovland, Smaby, & Maddux, 1996; Nelson, Dykeman,

Powell, & Petty, 1996).

Disruptive children frequently have poor peer relationships (Bleck &

Bleck, 1982; Cole & Koeppel, 1990; DuPaul & Stoner, 1994; Hovland,

Smaby, & Maddux, 1996). They may be left out of group activities and

may experience rejection by their peers (Asher, Parkhurst, Hymel, &

Williams, 1990; Coie, Dodge, & Kupersmidt, 1990; Jewett, 1992). Children

rejected by their peers are likely to report high levels of loneliness and

personal unhappiness (Dodge, 1989). Coie and Dodge (1983) suggested

that at least half of rejected children are unable to resolve difficulites on

their own and remain socially rejected for several years. DuPaul and Stoner

(1994) reported that peer rejection status is typically stable over time.

Further, Dodge (1989) stated that "there is abundant evidence to indicate

that positive peer relationships are necessary requisites for...educational

success" (p. 222).








Students who are disruptive in the classroom have poor self-control

and frequently act out. Aggressive behavior, in particular, consistently

ranks as one of the most objectionable forms of student behaviors among

teachers (Hersh & Walker, 1983; Nelson, Dykeman, Powell, & Petty, 1996;

Walker, 1986). Disruptive children engage in destructive acts and often

display verbally and physically aggressive actions (Coie & Koeppel, 1990).

They exhibit high rates of noncompliance and defiance in response to

teacher requests (DuPaul & Stoner, 1994; Walker, Colvin, & Ramsey,

1995).

Children who are disruptive tend to be poor learners (Bleck & Bleck,

1982; Dodge, 1989; DuPaul & Stoner, 1994; Hovland, Smaby, & Maddux,

1996; Major, 1990; Myrick & Dixon, 1985; Reyes, 1991). Patterson,

Debaryshe, and Ramsey (1989) cited studies which found that children who

exhibit disruptive behavior in the classroom consistently show poor

academic achievement. Specifically, aggressive behavior has been

positively correlated with inadequate school adjustment and low academic

performance (Coopersmith, 1959; Walker, Colvin, & Ramsey, 1995;

Wittmer & Myrick, 1980). Students with behavioral problems, moreover,

are at risk for not completing high school (Hovland, Smaby, & Maddux,

1996; Perez-Selles & Hergert, 1989).

Many children who exhibit difficulty with behavioral control in the

classroom are also at high risk for developing antisocial behavior (DuPaul &

Stoner, 1994; Hovland, Smaby, & Maddux, 1996). Griffin (1987) reported








that children who exhibited a greater number of antisocial behaviors, along

with developmental and academic problems before the age of nine,

displayed more aggressive tendencies as adults than children who did not

exhibit such early problem behavior. Research has indicated that if not dealt

with in an effective manner, disruptive children are at risk of escalating

behavioral symptoms and long term consequences which appear to be

precursors of more serious problems later on in adolescence and adulthood

(Dodge, 1989; Jones, Sheridan, & Binns, 1983; Walker, Colvin, & Ramsey,

1995).

Attitudes about school and self are an important factor in learning.

When students do not like school they are generally not good learners. If

children feel accepted, successful, and important at school, they tend to

participate appropriately and achieve more (Myrick & Dixon, 1985; Myrick,

Merhill, & Swanson, 1986). A positive school experience is a major factor

in the formation of a positive self-concept. Children with high self-esteem

generally do better in school than those with lower self-esteem (Holly,

1992). Disruptive children experience more instances of negative discipline

than of praise and encouragement. As a result, their self-concepts and self-

esteem tend to be negatively influenced.

What causes children's misbehavior in the school? There are nature

theories, which point to the genetic, biochemical, or neurological disorders

as well as nurture theories, which look at the way in which children interact

with their environment. Behaviorists stress that all behavior, including the








misbehavior of children, is learned. Developmental theorists recognize that

children go through predictable stages which contribute to some forms of

misbehavior.

Some attention has been given to Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity

Disorder (ADHD). Children with ADHD exhibit inattention, impulsivity, and

overactivity that can lead to many problems in the school setting (DuPaul &

Stoner, 1994). Studies have indicated that approximately three to five

percent of children in the United States can be diagnosed with ADHD

(Barkley, 1990), meaning that approximately one child in a classroom of

twenty will have this disorder. Barkley (1990) stated that children with

ADHD may comprise up to forty percent of referrals to counseling services

out of the school setting. Boys with this disorder outnumber girls by

approximately three to one in community based agencies. Breen and

Barkley (1988) explained this gender difference as a greater prevalence in

disruptive behaviors, such as noncompliance, among boys with ADHD.

DuPaul and Stoner (1994) stated that there seems to be no apparent

single cause of ADHD. Rather, ADHD symptomatology may result from a

variety of causes. The greatest interest in empirical studies has been placed

on neurological factors, hereditary influences, and toxic reactions as being

causal factors in the disorder (Anastopoulos & Barkley, 1988).

Environmental factors such as family stress and poor parenting practices

appear to play a role in the severity of the disorder but have not been found

to be a causal factor (Barkley, 1990).








Another syndrome that has received a great deal of attention is

Conduct Disorder. Children who are conduct disordered display a broad

range of acting-out behaviors, ranging from annoying but relatively minor

behaviors such as yelling, whining, and temper tantrums to aggression,

physical destructiveness, and stealing. Typically, these behaviors do not

occur in isolation but as a complex of related behaviors. Conduct

disordered children have been labeled oppositional, antisocial, and socially

aggressive. Conduct disorders have been estimated to account for three to

four percent of the general population and boys are diagnosed as conduct

disordered two to three times more frequently than girls (McMahon & Wells,

1989). Patterson (1986) noted that researchers believe that the familial

socialization processes may be the major causal factor in the development

and maintenance of conduct-disordered behaviors.

Several authors have attempted to explain the disruptive behavior of

children in the classroom who have not been identified as ADHD or Conduct

Disordered. Gartrell (1994), a developmental educator, takes the position

that children do not actually misbehave. Instead, he suggested that what

adults see as disruptive, defiant, or other inappropriate behavior is mistaken

behavior. Young children are in the beginning stages of learning prosocial

behavior. They have limited experience dealing with the complex skills of

expressing strong emotions acceptably and getting along with others. It

may take some individuals into their adulthood before these interpersonal

skills are mastered. In this most complex of learning activities, then,








children tend to make mistakes. Adults may assume that children know

how to behave and that misbehavior is the result of a willful decision to

behave inappropriately. However, the decision to misbehave is made

because children have not developed the cognitive and emotional resources

necessary for more appropriate behavior. This approach requires that the

adult regard behavior traditionally thought of as misbehavior as mistaken

behavior. Therefore, mistaken behavior may be seen as the result of

attempts by inexperienced young children to interact with a complicated and

increasingly impersonal world (Gartrell, 1994).

Gartrell (1994) observed that there are three levels of mistaken

behavior: experimentation, socially influenced behavior, and behavior

motivated by strong needs. At level one, mistakes occur when the child is

curious and acts to see what will happen. Or, mistaken behavior may occur

when the child's actions in a situation do not get the expected results. A

child may pout when things don't go as planned. Or, a child may wait until

an adult's back is turned before demonstrating unhappiness with a situation.

The second level of mistaken behavior is that behavior which is socially

influenced. This happens when someone important to the child reinforces

an action, either intentionally or unintentionally. Level two mistaken

behavior may be observed in the actions of a child who hears an older

sibling using an expletive. Another example of this level of mistaken

behavior may be observed in the child who is influenced by classmates to

call another child a name. The third level of mistaken behavior occurs when








the child is reacting to a strong need. This level is the most serious kind of

mistaken behavior. Most often, strong needs mistaken behavior occurs

when a health condition is causing discomfort to the child, or when difficult

life experiences occur. The child reacts to pain and difficulty which is

beyond his or her capacity to cope with or understand (Gartrell, 1994).

Some writers focused on the developing self as the determining

dynamic in behavior. Self theorists such as Erikson (1950) and Rogers

(1961) suggested that if children felt successful, safe, and accepted in their

environment, they would see themselves positively and not need to

misbehave. Studies conducted in the area of the self-concept, the feelings

one holds to be true about oneself, seemed to indicate a general trend

supporting Erikson and Rogers. Children who felt better about themselves

tended to get along better with peers and do better in school than children

who saw themselves negatively.

Rudolf Dreikurs (1968) adapted principles of the self theorists. He

emphasized that all behavior is goal directed and the primary goal of

behavior is social acceptance by important others. A child's behavior

represents his or her attempt to feel significant and have a sense of

belonging. Misbehavior may indicate that a child did not develop the

cognitive understanding of how to find his or her own place, or, a child may

have experienced a real or perceived loss of status. Misbehavior reflects a

child's discouragement and an attempt to find a place in the group

(Dinkmeyer & McKay, 1982). Dreikurs and Soltz (1964) identified four








goals of misbehavior: attention getting, power seeking, revenge seeking,

and displaying inadequacy.

The first goal of misbehavior is the desire for attention. Attention

getting is influenced by the child's mistaken assumption that he or she only

has significance when at the center of attention. Dinkmeyer and McKay

(1982) stated that attention getting is almost universal in young children. It

is so common that many children will misbehave to receive negative

attention rather than behave appropriately and be ignored. The second goal

is that of power seeking. This mistaken goal of behavior usually occurs

after an adult has attempted to stop the child's demand for attention.

Children want to be in charge and will misbehave to win the struggle for

power over an adult. The child derives a great sense of satisfaction by

refusing to do what the adult is requesting. Giving in to the adult would

threaten the child's sense of personal value (Dreikurs & Soltz, 1964). If a

struggle continues and a child believes that defeat of the adult is not

possible, then the desire for power may intensify to one of revenge.

Children who look for revenge are convinced that they are insignificant and

unimportant. They believe that they are significant only when they are able

to hurt others as they believe they have been hurt. In their discouragement,

they find a place by being cruel and disliked (Dinkmeyer & McKay, 1982). If

the desire for retaliation and revenge continues, the fourth goal of

misbehavior may be seen as children become utterly defeated and seek to

be excused for their behaviors by displaying inadequacy. Underlying








inadequacy is extreme discouragement. These children believe neither

positive nor negative behavior will lead to any chance of success. They

become helpless and use this helplessness to avoid any task where

expected failure may be even more embarrassing (Dreikurs & Stoltz, 1964).

By giving up any hope of succeeding, children attempt to keep others from

expecting anything from them.

Popkin (1987) conceptualized four goals of behavior that were also

derived from the work of Dreikurs (1964): contact, power, protection, and

withdrawal. An individual's desire to belong leads to the first goal, making

contact. Initially, an infant needs to be held. Later, other forms of contact

are learned including attention and recognition. The second goal, the need

for power, is reflected in the desire to have a measure of control over one's

environment. The goal of protection involves both physical and

psychological defenses. Withdrawal, the fourth goal, serves to

counterbalance contact.

Popkin (1987) theorized that "there are no good or bad children, but

only encouraged or discouraged children, whose behavior is more or less

useful or useless" (p. 46). A child who feels encouraged is likely to pursue

the basic goals with behaviors that are considered positive. A child who

feels discouraged tends to pursue the same goals, but with behaviors likely

to be considered negative. A child who feels a lack of contact (attention or

recognition) may respond by seeking undue attention. A negative attempt

to gain power may be observed in a rebellious child. When a child becomes








extremely discouraged, avoidance may occur. A child is likely to give up,

become passive, and refuse to try anything in an effort to avoid the risk of

future failure.

Studer (1996) addressed the causes of a particularly troublesome

disruptive behavior, aggression. Aggression presents a significant challenge

to educators and is considered a primary concern of teachers (Elam, Rose, &

Gallup, 1994). There appear to be many causes of aggressive behavior in

young children including biological variables, family influences, and the

impact of television and other media (Studer, 1996).

Body chemicals such as testosterone and serotonin may influence

aggressive behavior. However, environment is also believed to play a part

in aggressive behavior. Studer (1996) suggested that there is evidence to

support the belief that nature and nurture are both factors in aggression

(Studer, 1996).

The role of the family is important in the development of aggression.

Meyers (1993) cited the family as the most violent institution in our society

after the military and law enforcement agencies. Discipline is considered a

key element in the development of aggressive, antisocial behaviors. When

parents use a physical approach to discipline their children, children learn

that battering or physical reactions are normal, effective methods for

expressing frustration. Children exposed to acts of force learn that

aggression is an acceptable problem-solving technique (Studer, 1996).








The relationship between media violence and aggression has not been

definitively established. Some researchers believe there is a causal

relationship between aggression in the media and aggression in children

(Meyers, 1993), while others argue that there are other factors, such as

intelligence that influence this relationship (Lippa, 1990).

Changing children's misbehavior and fostering productive behavior in

the classroom are important concerns of elementary counselors. Gerler's

(1985) review of elementary school counseling research from 1974 to 1984

provided evidence that counselors can make a difference in children's

classroom behavior, attitude toward school, and self-esteem, each of which

are factors in discipline. Research has suggested that the attitudes toward

the learning process, school, and peers developed in the primary grades

have a long-lasting impact on children's school success (Dobson, 1977;

Gartrell, 1987).

Many techniques have been used to help the disruptive child improve

classroom behavior. Bodiford-McNeil, Hembree-Kigin, and Eyberg (1996)

suggested that parent training, training in problem-solving skills, strategic

family therapy, and social skills training are effective interventions. Other

successful interventions include cognitive, behavioral, and developmental

approaches.

Smith (1994) suggested elementary counseling intervention programs

could promote long-term improvement in a child's school-related behaviors.

He concluded that positive results were obtained when parent-child behavior








contracts were used with problematic school-related behavior. Purkey and

Juhnke (1994) suggested that parents, organized into a "parent patrol" may

be effective in reducing disruptive behavior in school. Family systems

theory has been used with children exhibiting disruptive behavior in the

schools (Amatea, 1989; Aponte & Fabrick, 1976; Fine & Carlson, 1992).

Family-school consultations apparently achieve changes in behavior.

Shields and Green (1996) proposed family consultation with the

classroom teacher using a systems approach to deal with classroom

behavior problems. This approach recognizes that classroom behavior is the

result of the classroom system influenced by the teacher-student interaction

and the influences of other students in the same classroom.

The professional literature contains many reports of successful

behavior modification programs using contracts and positive reinforcement

with children (Smith, 1994). For example, Shook, LaBrie, and Vallies (1990)

reported decreases in disruptive classroom behaviors following the

implementation of a token reward system in a first grade classroom.

The use of a developmental guidance approach has been advocated in

classrooms. The role of discipline should be to teach children how to get

along with others, express strong feelings in acceptable ways, and solve

problems. Young children are in the early stages of gaining social

competence, and lack cognitive and emotional resources to choose more

mature responses. Using unconditional positive regard and encouragement

can help children learn appropriate classroom behavior. This approach to








discipline takes a positive view of human nature. It allows children to

develop healthy self-concepts and grow toward social responsiveness

(Gartrell, 1994).

Myrick and Dixon (1985) investigated a structured, six-session, small

group intervention with fifth and sixth graders who were identified as having

poor attitudes toward school. Positive results were obtained in changing

student attitudes about school and achievement. The next year, Myrick,

Merhill, and Swanson (1986) reported a study first conducted in the state of

Florida and then replicated in Indiana. A six-session, developmental

guidance unit was successful in improving the attitudes and behaviors of

fourth grade students. In particular, task completion, compliance with

teacher directions, social skills, and feelings about school were improved.

Assertiveness training programs can reduce disruptive behavior.

Huey and Rank (1984) were successful in decreasing aggressive behaviors

while increasing assertive behaviors in the classroom with disruptive, low

achieving eighth and ninth grade boys.

Bodiford-McNeil, Hembree-Kigin, and Eyberg (1996) developed an

intervention for disruptive children that used play and play media.

Combining the child-centered tenets of allowing the child to take the lead,

the importance of the relationship between the child and adult, and the

therapist attitudes of warmth and unconditional positive regard with

cognitive-behavioral methods, a twelve session plan involved parents in

changing behaviors.








The Discovery Program, a cognitive-developmental intervention for

fourth and fifth grade boys with a history of inappropriate classroom

behaviors, used peer tutoring and role playing to improve behavior. It offers

a promising new approach to dealing effectively with students who exhibit

discipline and behavior problems (Brake & Gerler, Jr., 1994). Another

cognitive approach was advocated by Goldstein and Glick (1987), who

suggested the use of a Hassle Log. It was modified by Studer (1996) as an

Annoyance Journal to deal with anger that can lead to aggression.

A twelve-session plan, suggested by Sloves and Peterlin (1994), was

designed as an out-of-school intervention. This highly structured approach

is intended to help children develop age-appropriate psychological (internal)

and behavioral-social (interpersonal) competencies (Sloves & Peterlin, 1994).

Amatea and Sherrard (1991) described a brief therapy approach to

working with children exhibiting problematic behaviors in the school setting.

Inappropriate behavior is viewed as resulting from the mishandling of

predictable life events, and "how people interact is the most central factor

in shaping and maintaining problem behavior" (p. 341). In this approach to

changing behavior, the staff changes its behavior toward the student, and

the student responds by a change in behavior.

Bleck and Bleck (1982) reported the use of a developmentally based

counseling unit using play with disruptive third grade children. Self-concept,

improved attitudes toward school, and diminished disruptive behavior were

reported. Further, there may be a correlation between a positive self-








concept and positive classroom behavior. The results of this study indicated

that counselors using structured play can have positive effects on the

attitudes of disruptive children.



Developmental Guidance and Counseling



The Developmental Model of Guidance and Counseling

Human development is a process that occurs in stages over time as

individuals interact with their environment. The developmental guidance

approach maintains that the developmental process can be enhanced by

planned, appropriate educational interventions (Baker, 1996).

Developmental guidance is proactive and preventive in focus. Its

purpose is to help students acquire the knowledge, basic skills, self-

awareness, interests, and attitudes necessary for successful mastery of

normal developmental tasks (Borders & Drury, 1992; Wittmer 1993). The

mastery of developmental tasks at each life stage is essential for the

individual's effective functioning and happiness. Further, continued

developmental growth increases the likelihood of future success (Neukrug,

Barr, Hoffman, & Kaplan, 1993).

The work of the developmental counselor is based on the rationale

that providing early developmental guidance services to children can

enhance their present and future development and effectiveness.

Developmental counselors work toward helping children to be responsible








for their own choices and actions and to understand their own feelings. The

ability to know one's strengths and weaknesses, to have a sense of

personal worth and self-confidence, and to feel capable of meeting the tasks

of life realistically and successfully are among the cornerstones of

developmental counseling.

The role of the self-concept is important in the developmental model.

The self-concept is continually being shaped through experience and

education. DeMaria and Cowden (1992) referred to the self-concept as a

learned perceptual system involving a feedback loop that influences

behavior and is in turn changed by behavior. As an individual moves

through the developmental stages of life, the self-concept both influences

and is influenced by learning and interpersonal relationships (Myrick, 1993).

Self-concept helps shape the attitudes and personal styles of the individual

which in turn become an important part of the learning process. Significant

attitudes about self, others, school, and society are formed while the child is

growing. The interactions the child has will affect how learning takes place,

and also, how the person will function as a mature adult. Gerler and Myrick

(1991) suggested that children cannot realize their full potential unless they

have healthy self-concepts, high self-esteem, and effective interpersonal

skills. Further, Landreth (1993) cited poor self-esteem as a basic cause of

many academic and social problems in elementary school-age children.

The developmental approach attempts to identify certain skills and

experiences that are necessary for children to be successful in school. It








helps students learn effectively and efficiently within a learning climate that

fosters academic and personal growth by examining the specific

developmental concerns and identifying appropriate counseling interventions

(ASCA, 1990; Myrick, 1993; Neukrug, Barr, Hoffman, & Kaplan, 1993).

In the school setting, developmental concerns typically include peer

relationships, getting along better with parents, siblings and teachers,

making new friends, and dealing with feelings (Dinkmeyer & Muro, 1977).

Further, emphasis is placed on assisting individual students with the

resolution of special problems and concerns (Morrill, Getting, & Hurst,

1974). Developmental counseling is an attempt to meet the needs of all

students, addressing their concerns, helping them to find answers to their

questions, and helping them to make appropriate choices. Those learning

behaviors and tasks that are considered important are offered to

complement the academic curriculum. Further, the life skills necessary for

adulthood are emphasized as part of the program (Hoffman, 1991).

The opportunity to learn about oneself and relationships with others

before encountering a problem is a cornerstone of the developmental model.

The children learn interpersonal skills, then, if a crisis situation does occur,

they are able to draw upon skills to work out the problem. As students

learn to interact with others in a positive and effective manner, they take a

more active part in learning, and in doing so, help create a positive school

environment (Myrick, 1993).








The developmental counselor incorporates skill building within a

framework related to the developmental stages, tasks, and learning

conditions encountered by the child. Since the child is usually more open to

learning when not on the defensive, the counselor will often use

hypothetical situations to explore ideas, feelings, and behaviors. In this

way, the child is able to look calmly at a situation rather than simply

reacting in an excited manner (Myrick, 1993).

Myrick (1993) identified eight points which characterize almost all

developmental guidance and counseling programs, a number of which are

particularly important to this study. Specifically, the goal of understanding

self and others is vital in helping children learn more about their own

abilities, interests, and personal characteristics. Children learn to identify

their strengths and explore areas in which they want to improve.

Relationships with peers, teachers, and other adults are stressed as children

learn self-acceptance and develop self-confidence. Expanding this goal

leads to understanding attitudes and behaviors. Children learn that habits,

attitudes, and perceptions influence behavior. Further, understanding how

feelings and behaviors are related to goals and consequences is explored,

allowing children to change their behavior, if desired. Another goal of

particular interest to this study is the goal of interpersonal and

communication skills. These skills emphasize the value of developing

positive interpersonal relationships and the importance of communication

skills in getting along with others and forming friendships. Since a primary








goal of a developmental approach is school success, a final point with

special significance to this study is the goal of school success. Here,

conflict resolution with peers and teachers and the development of positive

attitudes and habits are stressed, enabling children to get the most out of

the school experience.

Learning and growth is emphasized through programs designed to

enhance the positive development of individuals and groups. To accomplish

this goal, developmental counselors frequently make use of a unit, an

organized set of understandings and experiences designed to facilitate

personal, social, and academic growth. Through a series of counseling

sessions delivered individually, in small groups, or in the classroom setting,

the normal concerns or target problem situations are addressed through a

sequential set of procedures and activities.

In 1970, Dinkmeyer published Developing Understanding of Self and

Others (DUSO). This is a guidance program that can help children learn

about themselves and others through a variety of activities suitable for use

in the classroom and small groups. This structured program set an example

for the development of guidance units and sessions at all grade levels

(Myrick, 1993).

Many developmental guidance units have been successfully

implemented in small groups on the elementary school level. For example,

units have been designed to increase social competence (Coppock, 1993;

Mehaffey & Sandberg, 1992), build self-esteem (Coppock, 1993), reduce








disruptive behavior (Brake & Gerler, Jr., 1994; Bleck & Bleck, 1982), teach

anger management techniques (Phillips-Hershey & Kanagy, 1996), raise

academic achievement (Bourwell & Myrick, 1992; Lee, 1993), reduce stress

(Romano, Miller, & Nordness, 1996), improve attitude and motivation

toward school (Myrick & Campbell, 1990; Myrick & Dixon, 1985) and

increase cultural awareness (Blum & Toenniessen, 1992). The use of the

developmental units in the schools is an effective counselor intervention that

is structured to take advantage of time and allows children to work together

in a natural, comfortable setting.



Developmental Play Counseling

Play counseling may have a developmental focus when children are

helped to cope with stressful situations in their lives (Campbell, 1993b).

Child-centered play therapy has been used effectively in elementary schools.

Landreth (1993) suggested that it is, perhaps more than any other play

therapy approach, truly developmental in nature, because there is no

pressure on children to change. Child-centered play therapy can be used

effectively by elementary school counselors to aid change and growth in a

variety of developmental problem areas experienced by children such as lack

of self-control, socially inappropriate behavior and the development of self-

esteem (Landreth, 1993).

DeMaria and Cowden (1992) pointed to the conceptual fit of the

child-centered approach and the development of the self-concept. Many of








the techniques used to enhance self-concept are similar to Axline's non-

directive, client-centered play therapy techniques (DeMaria & Cowden,

1992). Unconditional acceptance, a basic tenet of client-centered play

therapy, conveys to a child that he or she is wanted, liked, and valued.

Coopersmith (1967) listed parental warmth, respectful treatment, and

clearly defined limits as antecedents of self-esteem. These are also used as

guidelines in client-centered play therapy. Axline's client-centered play

therapy has provided a sound foundation for impacting self-concept

(DeMaria & Cowden, 1992).

For many years, the term play media was used to refer to the use of

play techniques in counseling. The use of the term play therapy was

avoided, because of its original use with disturbed or maladjusted children.

Dinkmeyer and Muro (1977) advised elementary counselors to stress that

although there is some overlap in the techniques and basic philosophy in the

use of play media in counseling and play therapy, the two are not the same.

More recently, Hoffman (1993) suggested that despite the differences in

terminology and the populations served, few other substantial differences

exist between the use of play media in counseling and play therapy. The

only important difference concerns the use of interpretive techniques that

are rarely used by school counselors in developmental counseling. The use

of the term play therapy has become increasingly popular to refer to the

elementary counselor's use of play techniques in counseling children

(Barlow, Strother, & Landreth, 1985; Landreth, 1987). Others prefer the








use of the term developmental play counseling because it conveys the

essence and purpose of developmental counseling with children in the

elementary school (Hoffman, 1991).

The developmental play counselor relies on the effective use of

counseling responses to help the children. It is the communication of

understanding, respect, and nonjudgmental acceptance that encourages the

free expression of emotions and behavior (Hoffman, 1991). The use of

facilitative responses helps the child express and understand feelings,

behaviors, relationships, and life experiences. As the child plays, the

counselor responds by reflecting feelings, thoughts, and actions and by

clarifying and summarizing. These responses are focused on the feelings,

ideas, actions, and circumstances being expressed in the play. They are not

personalized to the child and, therefore, are not threatening (Hoffman,

1991). When questions seem to be necessary to expand on the feelings,

ideas, behaviors, or situations in play, open questions are used to encourage

further expression. In this way, the counselor not only learns more about

the child, but conveys understanding, acceptance, respect, interest, and

caring.

It is important that the counselor convey the feelings of genuineness,

respect, empathy, acceptance, and warmth identified by Rogers (1951) to

foster the therapeutic relationship and positive growth. The counselor must

be emotionally present and communicate a genuine belief in the ability of

the child to be self-directed and personally effective (Hoffman, 1991).








Developmental play counseling encourages children to take

responsibility for themselves and to make choices in the counseling

situation. In doing so, children increase feelings of competence and self-

confidence which are necessary for positive growth (Hoffman, 1991).



Play



Play Defined

Play has been called a universal behavior in children. It is a "serious

purposeful business through which (children) develop mentally, physically,

and socially...through which confusion, anxieties, and conflicts are often

worked through" (Oaklander, 1978, p.160). Schaefer (1993) pointed out

the importance of play in the lives of children. Play is to children what

verbalization is to adults--the most natural medium for self-expression. He

reported that by the time a child has reached the age of six, more than

fifteen thousand hours have been devoted to play. Ginott (1961) referred to

play as the language of children, and toys as the words. Similarly,

Oaklander (1978) stated that play serves as a symbolic language for

children.

Play has been defined in many ways. Bergen (1988) cites definitions

for play offered by educators and philosophers such as: the natural

unfolding of childhood; the motor habits of the past persisting in the

present; and instinctive practice of activities which will later be essential to








life. Berlyne defined play as "a self-motivated activity that satisfies a child's

innate need to explore and master his environment" (Schaefer, 1993, p. 7).

It would seem that Erikson (1964) was right when he said, "in its own

playful way, it (play) tries to elude definition" (p. 4).

Although there are many definitions offered in the literature for play,

lately there has been an emerging consensus of the common characteristics

of play behaviors (Schaefer, 1993). First, play is intrinsic versus extrinsic.

Play activities are intrinsically motivated because the activity is pleasurable.

Play does not need extrinsic rewards, but rather, it seems to satisfy an inner

desire. Second, the process of play is more important than the end result.

The concern of the child at play is with the play activity itself, not the

outcome of the activity. Third, positive feelings accompany play and can be

observed in the smiles and laughter of the child. Fourth, the child often

becomes so involved in play that awareness of time and surroundings is

lost. Fifth, play has a nonliteral quality. The "as if" feelings associated with

play lend realism to make-believe. Sixth, the freedom to impose novel

meanings on objects and events is possible in play. Play is concerned with

what can be done with an object instead of what the object was designed

to do (Schaefer, 1993).



Rationale for Children's Play

The definitions of play offer many explanations for why people,

especially children, engage in play. Bergen (1988) pointed out that efforts








to understand why children play has been going on for hundreds of years.

Gilmore (1971) identified six theories of play that he categorized as either

classical or dynamic theories to explain play. However, as Schaefer (1993)

cautioned, while the different explanations or theories of play have some

validity, there is no unifying theory that integrates all the positive qualities

of play.

The older, classical theories, were formulated in the mid to late

nineteenth century. The Surplus Energy Theory was proposed by the

nineteenth century British philosopher Herbert Spencer (1873) based on the

writings of Friedrich von Schiller (Millar, 1974). This theory postulates that

there is a certain quantity of energy available to an organism, and the

organism tends to expend that energy either in goal-directed activity (work),

or in non-goal directed activity (play). Animals lower on the evolutionary

scale than man use more of their energy in survival activities such as

looking for food and escaping from predators. Children are likely to have a

greater range of skills than animals and will tend to have extra energy

beyond that which is needed for survival. The surplus energy will build up

and exert internal pressure which is released through activity such as play

(Millar, 1974; Schaefer, 1993). Any time the children have more energy

available than is needed for work, play occurs. The content of the play is

not important and one form of play can be easily substituted for another.

The Relaxation, or Recreation Theory, states that play is used to

replenish energy expended in work. Proposed by the German poet Moritz








Lazarus, this theory suggests that we play to restore energy expended in

work. Energy is regenerated by doing an activity different from the work

that used it up. Play, the opposite of work, is an ideal way to restore this

lost energy (Schaefer, 1993).

The Pre-Exercise Theory, proposed by the Dutch philosopher Karl

Groos (1901), suggests that play is instinctive behavior. Based on Darwin's

principle of natural selection, Groos believed that play is essential to

survival. Play enables the child to practice and perfect skills needed to

survive (Millar, 1974). A child will instinctively become involved in play

activities that are essentially a form of the more mature behaviors that will

have to be performed as an adult. Therefore, play is seen as preparation for

future work and the content of a child's play is determined by adult activity.

G. Stanley Hall is credited with developing the Recapitulation Theory

that suggests the individual relives the activities of earlier stages in the

development of the human race through play. Hall's theory of play is based

on the idea that children pass through all the stages of man, from protozoa

to human, in their existence before birth. Some of the stages are thought to

resemble the developmental sequence of structure and behavior from fish to

man. "This seemed to provide evidence that individual development

ontogenyy) repeats that of the race (phylogeny)" (Millar, 1974, p.17). Hall

believed that play resembled the activities of primitive man and allowed

children to discharge some of their primitive and unnecessary instinctual








skills (Bergen, 1988) and prepare for the sophisticated activities of the

modern world.

The dynamic theories offer explanations of why people play by

looking at the play process. Two theories are identified by Gilmore (1971).

The first is derived from psychoanalytic theory which considers play to be a

cathartic activity. Catharsis refers to the arousal and discharge of strong

emotions, both positive and negative, for therapeutic relief (Schaefer,

1993). Catharsis allows for the expression of difficult emotional feelings

and their ultimate mastery. By playing out difficult circumstances and

having the opportunity to master feelings through play, children internalize

what has been learned and are better able to handle the reality. Play helps

children cope with difficult situations such as the first day of school, going

to the hospital, or the birth of a new sibling.

A second dynamic theory is based on the work of Piaget (1962).

Piaget viewed the development of intelligence as a process of assimilation

and accommodation. In assimilation, an individual takes information from

the outside world and fits that information into the organizing framework of

what is already known. In the process of accommodation, the individual is

able to modify these frameworks when needed to deal with new knowledge

and information. Therefore, to Piaget, the process of play promotes a

child's creativity and flexible thinking. It is a way of taking elements from

the outside world and manipulating them so that they fit into the individual's

organizational scheme.










Theories of Play Counseling

The role of play in the lives of children has been recognized as

significant for centuries. In the late 1700s, Rousseau wrote about the

importance of observing the play of children in order to understand them

(Landreth, 1991). In 1903, Froebel emphasized the symbolic nature of play.

His belief was that play has definite conscious and unconscious purposes

and could be examined for its meaning. As quoted in Landreth (1991),

Froebel wrote, "Play is the highest development in childhood, for it alone is

the free expression of what is in the child's soul...Children's play is not

mere sport. It is full of meaning and import" (Froebel, 1903, p.22).

In 1909, Sigmund Freud published the first case of "Little Hans," a

five year old boy who was phobic. This case represented the first

description of a therapeutic approach to working with a child. Freud saw

Little Hans only one time and treated him by advising the child's father of

ways to respond based on the father's notes about the child's play. The

case of "Little Hans" is significant because it is the first case in which a

child's problem was attributed to emotional causes. Further, the play

behavior was key in determining the child's problem and its ultimate

resolution. Landreth (1991) noted that today, emotional factors are so

readily accepted that it may be difficult to appreciate the magnitude of what

was then a new concept of psychological disturbance in children. Reisman

(1966) explained that at the turn of the twentieth century, professionals








generally believed childhood disorders were caused by deficiencies in the

child's education and training (Landreth, 1991).

At the start of the twentieth century, there was no uniform

therapeutic psychological approach being used with children. Play therapy

developed from early efforts to apply the principles of psychoanalytic

therapy to children.



Psychoanalytic play therapy

The psychoanalytic approach to play therapy makes no attempt to

pressure the child in any predetermined direction or alternate course of

action. Play is used as a means of establishing contact with the child, a

method of observation and source of data, and as a vehicle for

interpretative insight. Landreth (1991) termed the work of Hermine Hug-

Hellmuth, Anna Freud, and Melanie Klein as revolutionary in changing

attitudes about children and their problems.

Hermine Hug-Hellmuth (1921) was one of the first to emphasize the

use of play in child analysis by providing children with play materials to

facilitate self expression. She called attention to the difficulty of applying

adult therapeutic approaches to working with children. She stressed that

children are unable to express their anxieties verbally as adults do, making

free association, a fundamental technique in adult psychoanalysis, of little

use.








Melanie Klein began using play in 1919 as a way of analyzing children

under six years of age. She assumed that the children's play was

equivalent to free association in adults and used play to encourage children

to express their fantasies, anxieties and defenses which could then be

interpreted. Klein believed that play therapy provided a direct access to the

preconscious and unconscious mechanisms of children.

Anna Freud also used play in the process of analysis. Unlike Klein,

however, Freud's use of play was intended to establish an emotional

relationship between the child and the therapist--to get the child to like the

therapist. Anna Freud made little direct interpretation of the child's play.

Her belief was that play had little emotional value because it consisted of

only a conscious repetition of recent experiences (Landreth, 1991). Freud

delayed the use of direct interpretation of the child's play until she had

gained extensive knowledge by observing the play of the child and

interviewing the parents. Since free association was not appropriate for

children, Anna Freud encouraged the child to verbalize daydreams or

fantasies, and when they had difficulty discussing these feelings, she had

them sit quietly and "see pictures." In this way, the child was able to learn

to verbalize thoughts and discover their meaning based on the

interpretations offered by the therapist (Landreth, 1991). Gradually, as the

child developed a stronger relationship with the therapist and the ability to

verbalize thoughts, the emphasis of the sessions was shifted from play to

more traditional interactions.










Active plav therapy

Solomon (1938) developed a technique called Active Play Therapy

which was used with impulsive and acting-out children. Through play, a

child could be helped to express emotions such as rage and fear without

experiencing negative consequences. The therapist's interactions with the

child helped redirect the energy previously directed toward acting-out to

more socially acceptable play behaviors.



Release plav therapy

Melanie Klein visited the United States in 1929. She later reported

(Klein, 1955) that play was not used very often as part of the therapeutic

procedure with children (Landreth, 1991). A major step in increasing the

use of play as a therapeutic intervention with children occurred with the

work of David Levy. Levy (1939) developed Release Therapy, a structured

play approach used with children who had been through a specific stressful

situation. Levy believed in the abreactive effect of play. Abreaction is the

reliving of past stressful events and the emotions associated with them

(Schaefer, 1993). In Release Therapy, the therapist provides the materials

which help the child to recreate the stressful experience through play. After

a brief period of free play during which the child becomes familiar with the

materials, the child is encouraged to reenact the traumatic situation. By

reenacting the traumatic event through play, the child is able to deal with








the stresses and traumas and gradually achieve mastery over the feelings

associated with the event. The process of play allows the child to be in

control of the situation and move from a passive role of having been 'done

to' into an active role of being the 'doer' (Landreth, 1993). Since the

situation is being reenacted in play, there is less anxiety because it is just

"pretend." The therapist reflects the verbal and nonverbal feelings

expressed by the child during play. In the process of therapy, situations can

be set up that allow the child to reexperience an event or a relationship in a

different way, with a more positive outcome than that of the original event.

The child can use play to gain mastery over events which may be interfering

with development (Schaefer, 1993).



Structured play therapy

Gove Hambidge (1955) extended the work done by Levy with an

approach known as Structured Play Therapy. Hambidge was more direct in

his approach than Levy. After the establishment of a therapeutic

relationship, Hambidge would directly recreate the anxiety producing

situation, have the child play out the situation, and then allow the child to

play freely to recover from the difficult activity.



Relationship play therapy

A significant development in the history of play therapy was the work

of Jesse Taft (1933) and Frederick Allen (1934) which is referred to as








Relationship Therapy. This approach signified a major break from the

psychoanalytic school and evolved from the work of Otto Rank (1936).

Rank deemphasized the importance of past history and the unconscious.

Instead, he stressed the importance of functioning in the present and the

development of the relationship between the therapist and client.

Relationship play therapy places its primary emphasis on the curative

power of the emotional relationship between the child and the therapist.

There is no interpretation of past experiences. Rather, the primary focus of

attention is on present feelings and reactions. Relationship therapists stress

children's capacity to modify personal behaviors. The play technique allows

children to choose whether to play or not to play, and to direct the activity

in their own way. Children gradually come to realize their existence as

unique, separate individuals who can exist in a relationship with others. The

responsibility for growth is given to the child. The therapist then

concentrates on the difficulties that are of concern to the child rather than

on those concerning the therapist or other adults.



Non-directive olav theraov

The work of the relationship therapists was studied and expanded by

Carl Rogers (1942) who developed non-directive therapy. Once referred to

as client-centered therapy, the approach is known today as person-centered

or child-centered therapy. Virginia Axline, a student of Carl Rogers, applied








the principles of the non-directive approach to children using play as a

therapeutic technique.

The non-directive, or person-centered approach to counseling takes a

positive view of human nature and holds that we have an innate striving

toward self-actualization. We move toward increased awareness and strive

to become fully functioning. Further, we have the potential to be aware of

our problems and how to resolve them. The role of the therapist within this

structure is to provide a safe climate for the exploration of self. The

relationship between the client and the therapist is of primary importance.

The attitudes and qualities of the therapist such as genuiness, warmth,

empathy, and respect and the communication of these attitudes to the client

are vital. The relationship with the therapist is used to transfer the learning

during counseling to other relationships (Corey, 1986).

Play therapy is the process by which the child plays out feelings,

brings the feelings to the surface, gets them out into the open, faces them,

and learns to either control them or abandon them. Play helps children

understand their feelings in an objective way without additional anxiety,

fear, or guilt (Axline, 1947). When a child's feelings are expressed,

identified, and accepted, the child is able to internalize them and then is free

to deal with those feelings.

Child-centered play therapy is characterized by a relationship of

understanding and acceptance between the child and the therapist. It is

through this special relationship that the child is able to change and grow,








as well as to consider new behavioral possibilities which lead to an

expansion of self-expression (Landreth, 1993). According to Axline (1950),

a play experience is therapeutic because it provides a secure
relationship between the child and the adult, so that the child has the
freedom and room to state himself in his own terms, exactly as he is
at that moment in his own way and in his own time. (p. 68)

In the child-centered approach, the child determines the areas that

need to be explored and takes the lead in pursuing them as well as the

course of the relationship. The child-centered play therapist recognizes the

child's ability to move toward adjustment, independence, and self-

actualization and allows the child to set the pace. The child is free to play

or remain silent while the therapist actively reflects the child's thoughts and

feelings. There is no attempt to question or evaluate the child's thoughts or

expressions since this is considered to be interfering with the child's

responsibility in the relationship (Landreth, 1993).

The child-centered approach is grounded in the belief that behavior is

shaped by the individual's movement toward growth and the capacity for

self-direction. Behavior is caused by the drive toward complete self-

realization (Landreth, 1993). The child's behavior is seen as an effort to

satisfy needs within a personal framework of reality. Therefore, in order to

understand the child, the counselor must understand the child's perception

of reality (Landreth, 1993). Since the counselor tries to understand the

child's internal frame of reference, the counselor avoids judging the child's

behavior or trying to change the child.








The child-centered therapist does not use techniques as such, but

instead relies on eight basic principles as defined by Axline (1947) that

serve as a guideline for therapeutic contact with the child. These principles

are:

1. the development of a warm, friendly relationship with the child

2. the acceptance of the child exactly as he is

3. the establishment of a feeling of permissiveness in the relationship

so that the child feels free to express his feelings completely

4. the feelings of the child are recognized and reflected back in a

way as to help the child gain insight into his or her behavior

5. the respect for the child's ability to solve his or her own problems

6. the child takes the lead in actions or conversation and the

therapist follows

7. the recognition that therapy is a gradual process that cannot be

hurried

8. the establishment of only those limits that are necessary to anchor

the therapy to the world of reality and to make the child aware of his

responsibility in the relationship.

In the child-centered approach, it is the child in the present moment

and not the problem that serves as the point of focus. Landreth (1993)

pointed out that focusing on the child's problem may lead the play therapist

to lose sight of the child. The therapist tries to experience the child's world

of the moment. The counselor communicates this willingness to experience








the world as the child sees it through four messages: "I am here, I hear

you, I understand you, I care about you" (Landreth, 1993, p. 21). The

counselor is highly interactive verbally and responsive to the child so that

the child feels as though the therapist is part of whatever the child is

engaged in at the moment, even though the therapist may not be physically

participating. The child-centered counselor is never just an observer but is

always a participant on an emotional and verbal level (Landreth, 1993).

Guerney (1983) suggested that compared to many other therapeutic

play approaches, a great deal of outcome research exists in client-centered

therapy. These studies have consistently demonstrated positive treatment

effects both with professional counselors and non-professionals providing

the intervention. For example, a study by Bills (1950a) involved poor

readers who were considered by their teachers to be maladjusted in the

classroom. After a six week period of child-centered play therapy,

significant gains in reading achievement were noted. These gains were

sustained through an additional follow-up period of six weeks. Bills (1950b)

repeated the study with poor readers who were considered to be well

adjusted by their teachers and other school personnel. This time, there

were no significant improvements found in reading achievement. Bills

concluded that the gains in reading found in the first study were related to

improvement in adjustment (Guerney, 1983). The importance of these

studies point to the efficacy of the child-centered approach.








Dorfman (1958) matched a group of children considered to be

maladjusted to a control group of maladjusted children. After an average of

nineteen weeks of child-centered play therapy delivered on a weekly basis,

the children receiving treatment showed significant improvement in

adjustment over the controls. Important factors in this study were that the

therapeutic sessions took place in school and the children were considered

maladjusted by their teachers.

A 1964 study by Seeman, Barry, and Ellinwood using random

assignment to experimental conditions demonstrated positive results among

children with poor school adjustment and aggressive behavior. After

treatment in child-centered play therapy concluded, a one year follow-up

was conducted. At this time, children in the treatment group had lower

than average scores on aggression, whereas the control group had higher

than average aggression scores.

Reif and Stollak (1972, as cited in Guerney, 1983) conducted a study

that used undergraduate students as therapists. The study intended to

demonstrate that non-professionals (in this case undergraduate students),

when trained and supervised in conducting child-centered therapy, could

produce therapeutic conditions and demonstrate positive changes in

essentially normal children (Guerney, 1983). The control group was offered

a placebo therapy. The untrained undergraduates played in whatever way

they chose to provide the child with a positive experience. The results

indicated that children receiving child-centered play sessions delivered by








the trained undergraduates were more expressive and tended to deal more

appropriately with both intrapersonal and interpersonal situations than

children not receiving child-centered sessions (Guerney, 1983).

More recently, Crow (1989) held ten, thirty-minute, individual, child-

centered play therapy sessions with twelve first grade students who had

been retained due to low achievement in reading. The results of the study

demonstrated significant improvement in the self-concepts of these children

when compared to those in a matched control group.

Sixteen incarcerated fathers were trained by Landreth (1993) to use

child-centered play therapy techniques with their children in filial therapy

sessions. The fathers held thirty-minute play sessions on visitation day

once a week for ten weeks. The self-concepts of these children improved

significantly when compared to those in a control group of incarcerated

fathers and their children (Landreth, 1993).

Although the professional play therapist typically has a background in

a clinical area, Guerney (1983) reported that there is nothing inherent in the

method that requires such a background.

The children seem to have a positive experience during the play
sessions regardless of who the therapists are, and show improvements in
play session behaviors. When supervised by a professional, many
nonprofessionals have been trained to use child-centered methods and have
demonstrated the ability to effect desirable changes in the children,
paralleling those created by professionals. (Guerney, 1983, p. 28)








Therapeutic Uses of Play

An approach to therapy or counseling is therapeutic if it results in a

verifiable improvement. The improvement itself may be a decrease in

symptoms (e.g. inappropriate talking in the classroom) or an increase in

desired behaviors (e.g. observing classroom rules). Schaefer (1993)

identified fourteen therapeutic factors in play that contribute to its

effectiveness. The factors relevant to this study are discussed.

Play, by its very nature is fun. It is a behavior that is pleasurable in

its own right and needs no incentive. The positive affect which

accompanies play contributes to a sense of well-being and relieves stress.

Further, research indicates that enjoyment of a task encourages children to

persist at that task (Schaefer, 1993). In this respect, play may be viewed

as therapeutic due to its motivational nature.

The establishment of rapport is a vital component in most theories of

counseling. Researchers have reported that poor therapeutic outcome has

been associated with lack of rapport (Colson, Cornsweet, & Murphy, 1991).

Rapport is particularly important when one is working with young children

since in most cases they do not voluntarily come to counseling. Typically,

children come to counseling because their parents or teachers want them to

be there. Usually they do not feel troubled, but they are troublesome to

those around them (Schaefer, 1993). Play can be particularly helpful in

establishing rapport with a child (Campbell, 1993b). Play provides an








excellent means of establishing this rapport since it is an interesting,

enjoyable, and natural activity.

A related therapeutic function of play is the enhanced relationship

that develops between the child and the counselor. Play facilitates a

positive relationship because the interactions are fun and concerned with

enjoyment rather than achievement. Play fosters positive feelings which

contribute to a sense of well-being and a spirit of acceptance and

cooperation (Schaefer, 1993). Rogers (1951) recognized that when a child

feels accepted, respected, and esteemed, a positive self-concept is

facilitated. On the other hand, if a child feels rejected or devalued,

behaviors such as defiance, aggression, and withdrawal are likely to occur.

Sachs (1983) cited a number of studies that support the positive correlation

between good relationships and desirable clinical outcomes.

Communication is another therapeutic factor facilitated by play. Play

is the child's most natural form of expression. The elementary school child

may have difficulty using words to fully communicate feelings, needs, and

thoughts. As noted by Schaefer (1993), "Toys are a young child's words,

and play is his natural language" (p. 6). Play allows children to

communicate thoughts and feelings they may be aware of but unable to

express verbally. The play process also allows the child to symbolically

express unconscious wishes, conflicts, and emotions. Through play, the

child is able to communicate feelings and emotions that may be causing

conflict and inhibiting natural development.








A third therapeutic factor is the power, control, and mastery of the

environment that is facilitated through play. Play is a self-motivated activity

that satisfies children's innate need to explore and master their

environments. Apart from play there are few areas in children's lives that

produce a sense of mastery (Schaefer, 1993). A major function of play is to

provide children opportunities to learn to cope with difficult situations

(Landreth, 1993). Play offers an enjoyable structure in which children are

able to learn about the world and gain skills needed to live in society. Since

children engaged in an enjoyable activity tend to persist at it longer, play is

likely to lead to success.

Creative thinking during play leads to improved problem solving skills

by allowing the child to experiment with different options without the fear of

making a mistake. Sylva, Bruner, and Genova (1976, as cited in Schaefer,

1993) point to numerous studies indicating that prior play experience in

areas of concern actually improved the child's problem solving related to

those areas. The process of play appears to help a child find alternatives

and more effective solutions to problems in the areas of social relationships

and emotional health. Play provides the child with an opportunity to

develop and practice new behaviors that may be useful in everyday life

(Campbell, 1993b).

The therapeutic process of catharsis refers to the reduced physical

and emotional tension achieved through acting aggressively on inanimate

objects such as punching bags, pillows, and bobo dolls. The play








experience allows a child the opportunity to experience emotional release

without fear of retaliation or disapproval (Schaefer, 1993). Further, the play

experience allows the release of intense feelings such as anger and anxiety

that had been hard, if not impossible, for the child to express before.

Another therapeutic factor associated with play is its ability to

facilitate abreaction, the reliving of past stressful events and the emotions

associated with them (Schaefer, 1993). Piaget (1962) pointed out that

young children use play to symbolically relive unpleasant past experiences.

Through play, the child gains a sense of mastery over an event that they

tend to have no control over. The outcome may be changed or reversed

allowing children to achieve resolution of a problematic situation. Children

are then better able to cope or adjust as necessary (Landreth, 1993).

Erikson (1940) stated that playing out troublesome situations is a natural

process of childhood. Further, since children are engaged in pretend play,

they can control the events and will likely feel less anxiety.

Play offers children the opportunity to try out new behaviors through

role-playing. Children are able to try out new behaviors that may not have

been considered before, and to experience what it feels like to behave in

this new way. Another advantage of role-playing is that it allows children to

explore their own behaviors from the perspective of another whose role they

assume in play. Further, role play encourages the development of empathy,

the ability to put oneself in the shoes of another, leading to increased

understanding of the other person's thoughts, actions, and feelings.








Schaefer (1993) pointed out that the more children are able to experience

situations from the perspective of another, the less egocentric they become.

Role playing has been found to be positively related to teacher ratings of

social competence, peer popularity, empathy, and prosocial behavior among

children (Rubin, Fein, & Bandenberg, 1983; Strayer & Roberts, 1989).

Play enhances the flexible and varied use of imagery (Schaefer,

1993). Children learn about themselves and enlarge their world by

fantasizing. In the world of imagination, children do not have to be satisfied

with current realities or their own limitations. Fantasy or make-believe play

allows children to create characters, settings, and events that may not be

part of their environment. Fantasy gives children power over their world,

even when that control is lacking is real life. Imagination can help children

overcome fears and anxieties through the development of feelings of

mastery over their environment.

Metaphoric teaching, or myths, is an important therapeutic function

of play. Schaefer (1993) called humans myth-making beings who create

reality by believing in stories they have told about it. Myths help shape an

individual's belief system. Through the use of myth, or story telling,

messages can be communicated to the child that address conflicts, fears,

and other problems the child may be experiencing. The story may offer

more adaptive solutions for problems. Gardner (1993) employed the use of

mutual storytelling to help a child discover different solutions for and

perspectives in troubling situations. Mills and Crowley (1986) supported the








therapeutic value of metaphor. Through identification with characters in a

story, the child may be able to replace feelings of isolation and hopelessness

with a sense that a problem is shared by others and has a solution.

Play may be helpful in the mastery of developmental fears. Behavioral

theory incorporates a therapeutic technique known as counterconditioning.

Through this process, the child learns a new response to a stimulus that is

incompatible with the previous response, leading to a decrease in anxiety.

The principle behind this process is known as reciprocal inhibition (Wolpe,

1958) which states, "If a response inhibitor of anxiety can be made to occur

in the presence of anxiety-evoking stimuli, it will weaken the bond between

these stimuli and the anxiety" (p. 15). A response that inhibits anxiety is

the enjoyment a child feels during play (Schaefer, 1993). Barnett and Storm

(1981) cited physiological evidence that play has been found to reduce

anxiety.

A final therapeutic advantage of play was offered by Campbell

(1993b). She explained that play allows children to distance themselves

from emotional material that is too difficult to deal with by projecting their

feelings onto a doll or other inanimate object. Play enables children to

transfer anxieties, fears, fantasies, and guilt to objects instead of people.

The counselor uses play media to direct the attention to objects, not the

children themselves. This reduces the threat and makes it easier for the

children to talk about difficult emotional material. In this way, they feel safe

from their own feelings and reactions because the play provides an








emotional distance from the troubling experiences. Children are not

overwhelmed by their own actions because it takes place in fantasy

(Landreth, 1993).



Play Therapy

"As all play helps a child to share himself and, in varying degree, to

re-enact, re-live and release, all play has some therapeutic value" (Amster,

1943, p. 68). Play provides a healing and growth process that the child is

able to use naturally and independently, except when that healing and

growth process is significantly interrupted (Cochran, 1996). Play serves as

the basis for a working alliance between the child and the counselor. It is a

natural form of communication for the child, which contributes to

understanding, self-esteem, problem solving, insight, emotional adjustment,

and interpersonal growth and development. It is the therapeutic function of

play which allows change to take place.

Just as the literature suggests many meanings of play, play therapy

has been defined in many ways. For example, Axline (1947) explained that

play therapy is based on play as children's natural medium of self-

expression. Children are given the opportunity to play out their feelings and

problems just as adults talk out their feelings and problems. Further,

Schaefer (1993) defined play therapy as an interpersonal process during

which a trained therapist uses the therapeutic powers of play to help

children resolve their emotional difficulties.








During the 1940s and 1950s, play therapy was the major form of

therapeutic intervention for children. As newer approaches became popular

such as behavior therapy and family therapy, play lost its appeal to

therapists, but found a niche with counselors in the schools. Now, play is

again being viewed as a promising approach to work with children exhibiting

difficulties as well as a vehicle within the structure of developmental

counseling. Allport (1968, as cited in Schaefer, 1993) offered a partial

explanation for the resurgence of interest in play with the observation that

the average life of most theoretical concepts spans about two decades. As

Schaefer (1993) suggested, "It seems time, then, for play therapy to be

viewed as new and exciting again" (p. 4).



Play therapy as an intervention

Landreth (1991) stated that play therapy can be an effective

intervention for all children except those who may be completely autistic or

the out-of-contact schizophrenic. Various behavioral problems have been

directly addressed in the literature. Among the behaviors listed by Landreth

(1991) are: alleviation of hair pulling, amelioration of elective mutism,

improved emotional adjustment of children of divorced parents, improved

emotional adjustment of abused and neglected children, reduction of stress

and anxiety in hospitalized children, correction of poor reading performance,

increased academic performance in learning disabled children, correction of

speech problems, decreased emotional and intellectual problems of the








mentally retarded, amelioration of stuttering, relieving of psychosomatic

difficulties, and the reduction of separation anxiety. Of particular are the

studies that demonstrate a decrease in aggressive, acting-out behaviors

(Willock, 1983); better social and emotional adjustment (Andriola, 1944;

Axline, 1948, 1964; Baruch, 1952; Miller, 1947; Moustakas, 1951; Pothier,

1967; Schiffer, 1957), and improved self-concept (Bleck & Bleck, 1982).

In 1964, Virginia Axline published Dibs In Search of Self, the account

of a child's work in play therapy. The book related the story of a young

child, Dibs, and illustrated the child-centered techniques used by Axline.

Not intended to be a report to professionals, the book did serve as an

introduction to the world of the child in play therapy. Similarly, Dorothy

Baruch (1952) related the story of Kenneth to sensitize parents as well as

others who work with children to the fact that children have strong

emotions that can cause difficulty with adjustment. Through play therapy,

these problems of adjustment may be overcome.

There is no lack of accounts of play therapy in the professional

literature. Axline (1948) reported the results of experimental work done

utilizing group play therapy with a group of four children, ages six, seven,

and eight, who were having difficulty adjusting to other children. The

children were described as either extremely withdrawn or aggressively

antisocial (Axline, 1948). Results of this work indicated that the children

learned to adjust to each other in a free play situation. Further, Axline








reported a considerable diminishing of destructive, aggressive play as time

passed (Axline, 1948).

Willock (1983) presented an approach to working with an aggressive,

acting-out child. The play therapy intervention was conducted over a period

of two years, one year of which was in a residential setting. Willcock

reported that although the treatment was terminated prematurely, the child

was successful in achieving an acceptable level of adjustment.

Moustakas (1951) utilized play therapy with children who were facing

new family experiences which they perceived as threatening such as the

arrival of a new sibling (Moustakas, 1951). The arrival of a new baby in the

family is a common source of confusion, aggression, stress, and anxiety for

children. Moustakas (1951) reported therapeutic gains in terms of

emotional insight and feelings of security and comfort within themselves.

Schiffer (1957) related an early attempt to work with small groups of

young children in the school setting who were exhibiting emotional

disturbances that could not be addressed in the classroom. The cases

reported were of children in the second and third grade. While no statistical

data was offered, the author reported that many of the children

demonstrated improved functioning in the classroom and in the

neighborhood as a result of their participation in the play group (Schiffer,

1957).

Bleck and Bleck (1982) related the results of a play group for

disruptive children in a public elementary school setting. These researchers








were able to increase the self-concepts and decrease disruptive behavior

through a ten session small group approach featuring play.



Play therapy and plav counseling

Most of the literature of play therapy is found in the field of

psychology. With roots going back to Hermine Hug-Hellmuth's use of play

in a counseling relationship in 1921, play therapy is the terminology most

commonly found in the literature. However, as developmental counseling

became accepted in the elementary schools, the term "therapy" took on a

negative connotation. The original use of the term referred to working with

children who were disturbed or maladjusted. Since the developmental

model of counseling addresses the normal, developmental concerns of all

children in the schools, many questioned whether the use of the term

"therapy" was appropriate in the school setting. Dinkmeyer and Muro

(1977), early developmental proponents, cautioned school counselors that

although there is an overlap in the techniques and basic philosophies of play

therapy and counseling using play media, there is a difference in the two

systems in terms of the children served. Others, such as Hoffman (1993),

do not object to the use of the term play therapy as a counselor

intervention. Hoffman pointed out that although the terminology is

different, there really isn't a difference between play therapy and play

counseling. The use of the term play therapy has become an increasingly

popular way of referring to the elementary counselor's use of play








techniques for working with children (Barlow, Strother, & Landreth, 1985;

Landreth, 1987).

Regardless of the terminology used to describe the process of using

play and play media in school counseling programs, the use of play therapy

has received more attention in the literature than has play counseling or play

media. Landreth, Homeyer and Bratton (1993) compiled a bibliography of

the literature in play therapy. More than one thousand, eight hundred titles

of books, journal articles, dissertations, and unpublished documents were

included in the volume dating back to 1933. This reference source

indicated that it was 1969 before an article appeared in a journal published

by the American Counseling Association. In the years from 1970 to 1979,

four articles appeared in the counseling literature that addressed play while

over seventy published works appeared in the professional literature of

psychology and related disciplines. The early 1980s produced three articles

in the major journals of the American Counseling Association. In 1987, the

journal Elementary School Guidance & Counseling devoted a special issue to

counseling using expressive arts, and included articles on the use of play

therapy and various play media in the elementary school. In the early

1990s, play and play media began to receive attention with an entire issue

of Elementary School Guidance & Counseling devoted to play in October,

1993. However, since that issue, only three additional articles have

appeared in the same journal. The School Counselor, another publication of

the American Counseling Association has published only one article on the








use of play since 1993. The Journal of Counseling and Development has

devoted only two articles to this area in the last three years. It would

appear that the use of play as a counseling intervention has not reached the

popularity that play therapy has held in the mental health field, perhaps

accounting for the continued emphasis on play therapy rather than play

media or play counseling.



Play Counseling in the Elementary School

The use of play in the elementary grades is not new. Kindergarten

and primary grade teachers have utilized various play media such as

puppets, art, and creative dramatics as teaching tools in the classroom.

Further, they have recognized that play helps children build confidence in

dealing with academic and interpersonal environments. The elementary

school counselor builds upon the natural use of play with the young child.

As Landreth (1983) indicated, it would seem that it is not a question of

whether the elementary school counselor should use play, but how play

should be used in elementary schools.

Until the 1960s, play therapy was used mainly by private practitioners

who were treating children considered to be maladjusted. However, during

the 1960s and early 1970s, play counseling became a popular form of

intervention in the schools. Many counselor educators such as Landreth

(1969), Myrick and Haldin (1971), and Waterland (1970) began to publish

their experiences using play as a therapeutic vehicle. To these and other








educators, play in the school setting was helpful in addressing a broad

range of developmental needs of all children, not just children who were

considered maladjusted.

Several factors contributed to the increased use of play techniques in

the elementary schools. The development of guidance and counseling

programs in the elementary grades added many counselors to the primary

level. Among those professionals seeking a developmentally appropriate

approach, there was the realization that the use of a primarily verbal

approach would not be effective with children. Words are often foreign to a

child whose natural means of communication is the world of play. Children

below the age of eleven years may experience great difficulty expressing

their emotional world by verbal means. Reliance on speech alone confines

children to a potentially awkward and restrictive level of communication.

Given this developmental factor, Landreth (1993) advised elementary school

counselors to leave their verbally bound approach to communication and go

to the level of communication natural to children, play.

A primary objective of elementary schools is to provide opportunities

for children to develop intellectually, physically, socially, and emotionally.

Play approaches can prepare children to profit from the learning

experiences. Children cannot be made to learn. Even the most effective

teachers cannot teach children who are not yet ready. Play counseling

serves as an adjunct to learning by helping children maximize their

opportunities to learn (Landreth, 1993). Play offers children an opportunity








to resolve emotional and social issues that may be interfering with academic

progress (Campbell, 1993b). It is through the process of play that the

counselor can touch the emotional world of children (Landreth, 1993).

Elementary school counselors use play and play media as therapeutic

tools to meet a broad range of developmental needs of all children, not just

those who are having difficulties. Developmental educators realize that

counseling should sometimes be playful and activities that are fun can be

used to motivate children to give full attention to serious thoughts. Play

may be used on an individual basis, in small groups, and in classrooms.

Further, play may be used by elementary school counselors as an

educational tool to help children explore concepts, develop self-awareness,

appreciate each others' positive differences, and practice new behaviors

(Campbell, 1993b).

One of the first guidance programs, Develooina Understanding of Self

and Others (DUSO), was developed by Dinkmeyer and Dinkmeyer (1970).

This program uses puppets, music, and drama to help children develop a

positive self-image. Campbell (1993b) noted that the last thirty years have

seen increasing use of guidance materials that use play media to motivate

and involve children in the counseling process.

Play counseling in the elementary school has a developmental focus.

It addresses the normal growth and understanding of self in children who

may be experiencing a variety of emotional stresses such as death, divorce,

or new siblings. The use of play allows children to work out these issues








which then enables learning to take place more efficiently in the classroom.

Elementary counselors use play because it takes advantage of children's

interest, creativity, and spontaneity and provides them with a

developmentally appropriate medium for self-expression (Campbell, 1993b).



Play media

Many forms of play and play media have been used with children.

The play media used in this study involved art, clay, creative dramatics,

games, guided imagery, and puppets.

Nickerson (1983) described art as "instant graphic communication

directed toward someone or the self as an expression of emotion" (p. 236).

The use of art as a play media intervention provides a nonthreatening

approach by which the child can express concerns that are sometimes

difficult to verbalize (Gladding, 1992). Art encourages creativity and self-

expression. Further, the completed art production can be used as a vehicle

for the exploration of feelings, ideas, and concerns (Nickerson, 1983).

Clay is a medium that "almost asks the child to do things with it"

(Gardner, 1994, p. 20). Since it takes little skill to work with clay, it is

appealing to a child. Like art, clay provides a nonthreatening way by which

the child can expresses feelings and concerns. Clay provides a safe outlet

for aggressive feelings since the clay often requires the child to pound,

poke, squeeze, or cut to achieve the intended form (Webb, 1991). Further,

clay can be used as a concrete expression of an idea. For example, a child








might be asked to make a gift to give to someone in the group. Using the

clay, the child could make a puppy to give to a friend, providing a more

concrete meaning than words or a drawing.

Elementary aged children often benefit from creative dramatics such

as role playing (Gladding, 1992). The use of creative dramatics allows

children to explore alternative behaviors to a situation and gain insight into

experiences. Acting out a situation can often help children see it in a new

light (Lansdown & Walker, 1991). By maintaining a pretend, or "as if"

approach, children are able to explore different alternative behaviors without

risking embarrassment or shame. According to Gardner (1993), most

children enjoy plays and will welcome the chance to act in them. Play

acting a situation of significance can provide children with a more

meaningful experience than merely talking about it.

The use of games in play counseling generally refers to card games,

board games, and fine and gross motor games. Games tend to be separate

from real life (Reid, 1993). Children generally enjoy games and often

counselors are able to deal with significant experiences in game language

(Gladding, 1993). Similarly, Gardner (1993) stated that games may be

therapeutic in their own right because pleasure is generally therapeutic.

One of the most therapeutic factors in game play involves the

socialization between players (Webb, 1991). Since the game is removed

from real life, children are able to learn new skills needed to interact with

others in an enjoyable and nonthreatening way. As children relax and lose








themselves in the game, they often begin to talk about feelings and ideas

that are important to them (Reid, 1993). Further, since games contain

rules, children learn to conform to rules, cooperate with others, and

demonstrate self-discipline in waiting for their turns (Webb, 1991).

Guided imagery has been used for many purposes. Myrick and

Myrick (1993) cited various authors who used guided imagery to increase

artistic expression, personal awareness, and concentration. Teachers have

also used guided imagery as part of their curriculum to help children retain

information presented. Further, guided imagery has been shown to be

effective in helping students to remain on task and control their classroom

behaviors (Anderson, 1980; Matthews, 1986; Oldfield, 1986; Oldfield &

Petosa, 1986). Gladding (1993) addressed the use of guided imagery to

raise self-esteem. He suggested that elementary school children with low

self-esteem could enhance their self-concept through guided imagery.

The use of guided imagery as a developmental counseling intervention

can be an effective tool in helping children learn more about themselves and

others and to help achieve more in school (Myrick & Myrick, 1993). Guided

imagery can provide a structure whereby children can examine common

concerns as well as specific troubling issues (Myrick & Myrick, 1993).

Through the use of a planned script, the counselor leads the students

through school-related images and experiences. Following the guided

imagery, the experience is discussed with the students. The learning value

of the experience is found in the processing or discussion of the activity








(Myrick & Myrick, 1993). Through discussion of feelings accompanying the

experience, as well as specific images that were evoked during the guided

imagery, children can be helped to look at their functioning in the school

setting and improve school success.

Woltman (1994) explained that puppets occupy a special place in the

play activities of the child. A major benefit of using puppets in counseling is

that puppets can be an effective vehicle for self-expression. Puppets

provide a safe way to express feelings and allow the child to communicate

concerns in a comfortable way (Carter, 1987). Since it is the puppet that is

"talking", the child is able to express feelings in a nonthreatening way

(Landreth, 1991).



Structured counseling

The process of play counseling may take place with individuals or in

small groups, and may be non-structured or structured in approach. In a

non-structured approach, children are free to select their play medium from

a variety of items (such as puppets or clay), set their own rules, and use the

playthings and the time in any way they wish (Carter, 1987). The counselor

attempts to establish a relationship of trust and acceptance by following the

lead of the child as he expresses himself with toys (Myrick & Haldin, 1971).

This child-centered approach however, may be time consuming and ill-fitted

to today's counselor caseloads.








In a structured approach, the counselor is more assertive and

directive. The counselor designs the activity, chooses the play medium, and

makes the rules (Carter, 1987). Through the structured use of activities

such as drawing, clay sculpture, puppetry, creative dramatics, games, and

guided imagery, the goals of an intervention can be addressed in a short-

term approach.



Peer Facilitators



A peer facilitator is a student who uses helping skills and concepts to

assist other students and sometimes adults to think about ideas and

feelings, to explore alternatives to situations, and to make responsible

decisions (Myrick, 1992; Myrick & Bowman, 1981b; Tobias & Seagraves,

1994). Similarly, Tindall (1989) wrote that peer counselors are

nonprofessionals who use counseling skills to help their peers.

A search of the literature revealed that there are many terms used to

identify peer facilitators: peer counselors, peer helpers, peer leaders, peer

mentors, peer pals, big brothers, big sisters, and peer tutors (Myrick,

Highland, & Sabella, 1995). For the purpose of this study, these terms are

considered to be synonymous with the term peer facilitator.

The idea of using students to help other students is not new. Its use

can be traced back to the one-room schoolhouses of the 1930s where the

older, more skilled students helped the younger, less skilled students








(Campbell, 1993a; Myrick 1993). School counselors were among the first

to recognize that peer helpers could extend developmental guidance

services to students at all grade levels (Myrick, 1992; Myrick, Highland, &

Sabella, 1995).

There was some early resistance to the concept of peer counseling.

Much of the early opposition came from parents, teachers, administrators,

and counselors who objected to the term peer counselor. These people

were skeptical that youngsters could actually counsel. Further, the term

"counseling" has been used synonomously with therapy. Therefore, many

parents and educators were resistant to the programs. The term "peer

facilitator" was introduced to describe the role and function of youngsters

serving as helpers. Peer facilitator communicates what students are asked

to do when helping others and provides enough flexibility to incorporate

several helping roles and functions (Myrick, 1993). The concept of the peer

facilitator has become viewed as a valuable part of a developmental

guidance program rather than a replacement for the skilled professional.

The American School Counselor Association first recommended that peer

counseling be part of a school's guidance services in 1978. In 1984, the

ASCA changed the term peer counselor to peer facilitator and upheld their

previous recommendation. As recently as 1990, the position statement was

reaffirmed.

In the 1960s, the idea of using a student as a helper became very

popular, partly as a result of an increasing problem with drug use among








school aged children. Counselors as well as other educators searched for

ways to reach students before they became drug abusers. Since surveys

during that time indicated that students with problems turned to their peers,

then counselors and coaches (Campbell, 1993a; Myrick & Folk, 1991), the

idea of peer helping began to flourish, especially at the high school level.

As the use of peer helping programs expanded, peer facilitators were trained

to serve in many roles such as leading preventive guidance groups with

elementary students, helping cancer projects in hospitals, and working with

incarcerated youth (Sanborn & Myrick, 1983).

Peer helping spread to the elementary grades in the 1970s.

Counselors trained older students to work with younger children in a variety

of projects such as orientation programs for new students, special friends,

small and large group leaders, and teacher and counselor assistants. Since

the early 1970s, hundreds of articles have been written in professional

journals as well as popular magazines describing successful peer facilitator

programs and substantiating their effectiveness with a wide variety of

problems including drop-out prevention, increasing appropriate school

behavior, and improving positive attitudes toward school (Campbell, 1993a;

Tindall, 1989).

In 1991, Myrick and Folk introduced the term "peervention" which

emphasized the idea that there were interventions that peer facilitators

might initiate that could be considered prevention projects. Such areas as

preventing interpersonal and social problems and helping others to get the








most out of school are two areas where peers can make a positive impact.

This idea follows the premise of the developmental model where concerns

and issues are addressed before they become a problem.

Peer facilitator programs have been successfully implemented in the

high school setting for over thirty years (Tindall & Gray, 1984). However, it

has just been in the last twenty years that students in the lower grades

have been systematically trained as peer helpers. Currently, peer helpers

are assisting younger students to think about ideas and feelings, explore

alternatives to situations, and make responsible decisions (Myrick &

Bowman, 1981b). Bowman and Myrick (1987) reported many benefits

when students participate as peer facilitators including improved academic

performance and improved classroom behavior.

Myrick, Highland, and Sabella (1995) pointed out that although only a

few quantitative studies exist in the literature, the findings have been

positive. For example, Briskin and Anderson (1973) obtained positive

results when sixth-grade students served as peer helpers in working with

disruptive third graders. In a 1987 study, Bowman and Myrick found

evidence that fifth grade students were effective in improving the classroom

behaviors and school attitudes of second and third grade students who were

considered to be exhibiting behavioral problems in the classroom. Foster-

Harrison (1995) cited studies providing evidence of increased school

attendance (Fantuzzo, Polite, & Grayson, 1990; Tobias, 1992), and

decreased disruptive or inappropriate behavior (Greenwood, Carta, & Hall,








1988; Hymel, 1986; Tobias, 1992). Each of these works has relevance to

the present study.

There are basically four peer helper roles: student assistant, tutor,

special friend, and small group leader. The student assistant may be the

oldest and most traditional helping role that students have performed.

These students work with teachers, administrators, and counselors in roles

such as answering telephones, greeting visitors, distribution of materials, or

other routine office or classroom tasks. Although there is some interaction

with peers, this role is generally concerned with indirect assistance to peers

(Myrick, Highland, & Sabella, 1995).

The tutor works with peers to improve academic performance. Peer

tutors provide a supportive relationship that begins by acknowledging what

the person is experiencing and how feelings and ideas about self enter into

study habits and skills (Myrick, Highland, & Sabella, 1995). Research has

shown increases in academic performance of both the students being

tutored and the tutor.

When a peer facilitator works as a special friend, the emphasis is on

developing a close helping relationship with another student who may need

support or just need to know that someone cares about him or her. This

relationship can make an important difference for students who may feel

uninvolved, left out, or alienated from school (Myrick, Highland, & Sabella,

1995).








Small group leaders have historically been used to make learning

experiences for large groups more personal and involving. In a

developmental guidance program, large group sessions are common. Often

class sizes are over thirty students. The use of peer facilitators as small

group leaders allows everyone the opportunity to participate. Myrick,

Highland, and Sabella (1995) support the use of a trained peer facilitator as

a small group leader. When a peer facilitator is leading a small group,

members are more likely to stay on task, take turns sharing, and accomplish

group goals.

Peer facilitation has been shown to have desirable effects in various

programs and projects. Mathur and Rutherford (1991b) reviewed the

literature to evaluate the success of peer facilitated interventions to improve

the social skills of children and adolescents exhibiting behavior disorders.

Twenty-one articles were reviewed. The investigators concluded that peer

mediated approaches were successful in improving behavior.

Bowman (1982) investigated the effects of third grade peer

facilitators who were paired with classmates considered to be disruptive.

After a combination of individual and small group meetings, significant

positive changes in classroom behaviors and attitudes about school were

noted for the paired, disruptive students as compared to student behaviors

and attitudes in a control group.

Canning (1985) utilized fifth grade peer facilitators as special friends

to younger students in a play situation. The objectives of this program were








increased self-awareness, improved interpersonal relationships, increased

feelings of self-worth, and enhanced learning.

Huey and Rank (1984) conducted a study of the effects of group

assertiveness training on adolescent boys who were considered aggressive.

Their results suggested that professional counselors and peer facilitators

were equally effective in teaching skills and reducing aggressive classroom

behavior. Further, it was found that participants in the study were equally

pleased with peers or professional counselors as group leaders.

Fouts (1985) investigated the effects of a unit led by eighth grade

boys on the study skills, self-concepts, school attitudes, classroom

behaviors, and academic achievement of sixth-grade students. The results

of this study indicated an improvement in self-concept and school attitudes.

Bowman and Myrick (1987) paired trained fifth grade peer facilitators

with second and third grade students who were disruptive in their

classrooms. These investigators found a significant increase in appropriate

classroom behavior among the paired students. Similarly, Tobias (1992)

studied the effectiveness of eighth grade peer facilitators working with sixth

grade disruptive students. It was found that peers were able to effectively

help decrease disruptive behavior.








Summary



Children who are disruptive in the classroom have a harder time

learning and may interfere with the learning of other children as well. The

teaching process becomes more difficult as the teacher must spend more

time handling the disruptions. Disruptive behavior is a source of stress and

frustration for children, teachers, and other school personnel. Research has

demonstrated that peer facilitated interventions have been successful in

helping counselors reach more children and in achieving research goals.

Further, play has been effective in raising self-esteem and reducing

disruptive behavior with elementary school students.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a

developmental guidance unit featuring play media on disruptive elementary

school students. Specifically, this study focused on the use of play

counseling strategies with groups of fourth and fifth grade students who

were identified as exhibiting disruptive classroom behaviors. The impact of

the unit on the children participating was examined in terms of students'

acting-out behavior, peer-relationships, self-concepts, and classroom

behaviors. The unit was delivered three experimental conditions: 1) a

counselor-led play group; 2) a peer facilitator-led play group; and 3) a

control group which received no planned intervention.














CHAPTER III
METHODS AND PROCEDURES


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a

developmental guidance unit featuring play media on disruptive elementary

school students. More specifically, this study focused on the use of play

counseling strategies with fourth and fifth grade groups of children who

were identified as exhibiting disruptive classroom behaviors. The impact of

the unit on the children participating was examined in terms of students'

acting-out behavior, peer-relationships, self-concepts, and classroom

behaviors. The investigation involved three experimental groups: 1) a

counselor-led play group; 2) a peer facilitator-led play group; and 3) a

control group which received no planned intervention.

The population and sample, research design, hypotheses, the

developmental unit, leadership selection and training, dependent variables,

and instrumentation are discussed in this chapter.








Population and Samole



Population

The population for this study consisted of six hundred sixty-four

fourth and fifth grade students attending the single intermediate school in

the South Country School District in Suffolk County, New York. As of

February 1, 1997, the total elementary school (K-5) population in the district

was one thousand, nine hundred, of which three hundred thirty-six were

enrolled in the fourth grade and three hundred twenty-eight were enrolled in

the fifth grade. These totals represent only students enrolled in regular

classes; special education classes were not included.

South Country Schools is located on the south shore of Long Island,

approximately fifty miles east of Manhattan. It serves the communities of

Bellport, Brookhaven Hamlet, East Patchogue, Medford, and North Bellport.

These communities represent a broad spectrum of socioeconomic

backgrounds and ethnic groups resulting in a student population that

reflects a diversity of cultural influences. The majority, approximately sixty

percent, of the school population is Caucasian. Approximately twenty-eight

percent of the district population is African-American or Hispanic.

Approximately ten percent of the district population is comprised of

students of Asian descent. Another two percent of the population comes

from other minority groups.








Sample

The Frank P. Long School serves as the fourth and fifth grade center

in the South Country Schools. The administration was invited and agreed to

participate in the study. All twenty-three teachers of non-special education

fourth and fifth grade classes were invited to participate. Eighteen teachers,

twelve fourth grade and six fifth grade, agreed to participate and were

asked to identify students whom they believed were exhibiting disruptive

behaviors. A descriptive paragraph defining "disruptive behavior" was given

to each teacher for use in identifying students. Seventy-two disruptive

fourth and fifth grade students were identified and invited to take part in the

study. Each identified student was randomly assigned a number beginning

with 01 and ending 72. Of these students, sixty-five returned the

necessary Institutional Review Board consent forms and using a table of

random numbers, were assigned to one of the experimental groups: the

counselor-led developmental unit (El); the peer-led developmental unit (E2);

or control (E3). Thus, twenty-four students were assigned to the four

counselor-led (El) groups, twenty-four to the three peer-led (E2) groups,

and the remaining seventeen to the control groups (E3). Classroom

teachers completed a Walker Problem Behavior Identification Checklist

(WPBIC) and a Disruptive Behavior Rating Scale (DBRS) for each of the

identified students.

Students identified by a psychologist or other qualified mental health

professional as ADHD or Conduct Disordered, or taking medication for a




Full Text
16
the talk of the child and toys as the words. Through the use of play media,
the counselor enters the child's world of feelings and ideas and fosters a
helping relationship with a young child (Myrick & Haldin, 1971). The use of
play media such as puppets and dolls, clay, games, and music serves to
facilitate both the childs imagination as well as emotional expression. The
play serves as a point from which the counselor can make the leap from
make-believe to real life.
Various play media have been used with children in the school setting
both individually and in groups. Art has been one of the most commonly
used approaches in the school setting (Bertoia & Allan, 1988; Denny, 1969;
Nystul, 1980; Rubin, 1988; Thompson & Allan, 1987). Puppets and dolls
have also played a major role in working with young children in schools
(Carter, 1987; Current, 1985; Muro, 1983; Palumbo, 1989; Pope, Edel, &
Lane, 1974; Woltmann, 1967). Woltman stressed that children relate to,
identify with, and ultimately work through feelings using puppets (Knell,
1993). Other play media which have been effective include drama, games,
guided imagery, music and movement, and storytelling. Landreth, Homeyer,
and Bratton (1993) offer a bibliography of more than seventy articles
describing the use of play media in the elementary school alone dating back
to 1940.
A trend in treatment of children has been the use of short-term
interventions. Once considered superficial and useful as a temporary
intervention until long-term treatment could begin, brief therapy is now


160
2. To continue to develop group trust and cohesiveness
3. To continue to develop awareness of self and others
4. To continue to develop awareness and understanding of feelings in
self and others
5. To review group rules and reinforce names of group members
6. To develop an understanding of disruptive behavior
7. To develop an understanding of the consequences of disruptive
behavior and consider alternative behaviors
Plav Media: Guided Imagery
Materials: group rules poster
Procedure:
1. Tell the group that today we're going to practice using our
imaginations. Do you ever make up stories or see funny pictures in your
mind when you are supposed to be listening to your teacher? Allow
responses. This is called daydreaming. We can use our imagination to
daydream things that we like or want to happen. We're going to use our
imagination to go on a trip. First, we have to practice. Everyone close
your eyes. (This may be difficult for some of the children. Allow time
for them to follow your direction. They should have their eyes closed for
about 5 seconds).


42
The developmental counselor incorporates skill building within a
framework related to the developmental stages, tasks, and learning
conditions encountered by the child. Since the child is usually more open to
learning when not on the defensive, the counselor will often use
hypothetical situations to explore ideas, feelings, and behaviors. In this
way, the child is able to look calmly at a situation rather than simply
reacting in an excited manner (Myrick, 1993).
Myrick (1993) identified eight points which characterize almost all
developmental guidance and counseling programs, a number of which are
particularly important to this study. Specifically, the goal of understanding
self and others is vital in helping children learn more about their own
abilities, interests, and personal characteristics. Children learn to identify
their strengths and explore areas in which they want to improve.
Relationships with peers, teachers, and other adults are stressed as children
learn self-acceptance and develop self-confidence. Expanding this goal
leads to understanding attitudes and behaviors. Children learn that habits,
attitudes, and perceptions influence behavior. Further, understanding how
feelings and behaviors are related to goals and consequences is explored,
allowing children to change their behavior, if desired. Another goal of
particular interest to this study is the goal of interpersonal and
communication skills. These skills emphasize the value of developing
positive interpersonal relationships and the importance of communication
skills in getting along with others and forming friendships. Since a primary


12
learning. To illustrate this, Nave (1990) found that self-concept Is more
closely associated with student success than the IQ. Clearly, the self-
concept plays an important role in the development of the child.
There are a number of defining principles of developmental guidance.
First and foremost is the concept that human development is a life-long
process which involves physiological, psychological, and social elements
which begins at birth and continues until death. Second, this process of
development involves an interaction between what a person inherits
genetically at birth and the different environments in which that person lives
and grows (Myrick, 1993). Inherited potential can be nourished or stifled
depending on such factors as the type, amount, quality, and timing of
experiences (Paisley & Peace, 1995). Behavior, then, is a result of multiple
causes. Actions are seen as the result of the individual's unique interaction
between heredity, environment, and time.
Developmental counseling recognizes that behavior, as well as the
child, is dynamic and continually in the process of becoming (Dinkmeyer &
Muro, 1977). The developmental counselor works from an awareness that
as the child moves through developmental stages, behavior that may be
problematic may also be predictable in terms of a particular stage of
development. The role of the counselor is to help the child become more
aware of the behavior chosen to meet the needs of the situation. A basic
premise of developmental counseling is that self-awareness is essential
before self-management can occur (Dinkmeyer & Muro, 1977). Once the


27
that children who exhibited a greater number of antisocial behaviors, along
with developmental and academic problems before the age of nine,
displayed more aggressive tendencies as adults than children who did not
exhibit such early problem behavior. Research has indicated that if not dealt
with in an effective manner, disruptive children are at risk of escalating
behavioral symptoms and long term consequences which appear to be
precursors of more serious problems later on in adolescence and adulthood
(Dodge, 1989; Jones, Sheridan, & Binns, 1983; Walker, Colvin, & Ramsey,
1995).
Attitudes about school and self are an important factor in learning.
When students do not like school they are generally not good learners. If
children feel accepted, successful, and important at school, they tend to
participate appropriately and achieve more (Myrick & Dixon, 1985; Myrick,
Merhill, & Swanson, 1986). A positive school experience is a major factor
in the formation of a positive self-concept. Children with high self-esteem
generally do better in school than those with lower self-esteem (Holly,
1992). Disruptive children experience more instances of negative discipline
than of praise and encouragement. As a result, their self-concepts and self
esteem tend to be negatively influenced.
What causes children's misbehavior in the school? There are nature
theories, which point to the genetic, biochemical, or neurological disorders
as well as nurture theories, which look at the way in which children interact
with their environment. Behaviorists stress that all behavior, including the


71
During the 1940s and 1950s, play therapy was the major form of
therapeutic intervention for children. As newer approaches became popular
such as behavior therapy and family therapy, play lost its appeal to
therapists, but found a niche with counselors in the schools. Now, play is
again being viewed as a promising approach to work with children exhibiting
difficulties as well as a vehicle within the structure of developmental
counseling. Allport (1968, as cited in Schaefer, 1993) offered a partial
explanation for the resurgence of interest in play with the observation that
the average life of most theoretical concepts spans about two decades. As
Schaefer (1993) suggested, "It seems time, then, for play therapy to be
viewed as new and exciting again" (p. 4).
Plav therapy as an intervention
Landreth (1991) stated that play therapy can be an effective
intervention for all children except those who may be completely autistic or
the out-of-contact schizophrenic. Various behavioral problems have been
directly addressed in the literature. Among the behaviors listed by Landreth
(1991) are: alleviation of hair pulling, amelioration of elective mutism,
improved emotional adjustment of children of divorced parents, improved
emotional adjustment of abused and neglected children, reduction of stress
and anxiety in hospitalized children, correction of poor reading performance,
increased academic performance in learning disabled children, correction of
speech problems, decreased emotional and intellectual problems of the


31
the child is reacting to a strong need. This level is the most serious kind of
mistaken behavior. Most often, strong needs mistaken behavior occurs
when a health condition is causing discomfort to the child, or when difficult
life experiences occur. The child reacts to pain and difficulty which is
beyond his or her capacity to cope with or understand (Gartrell, 1994).
Some writers focused on the developing self as the determining
dynamic in behavior. Self theorists such as Erikson (1950) and Rogers
(1961) suggested that if children felt successful, safe, and accepted in their
environment, they would see themselves positively and not need to
misbehave. Studies conducted in the area of the self-concept, the feelings
one holds to be true about oneself, seemed to indicate a general trend
supporting Erikson and Rogers. Children who felt better about themselves
tended to get along better with peers and do better in school than children
who saw themselves negatively.
Rudolf Dreikurs (1968) adapted principles of the self theorists. He
emphasized that all behavior is goal directed and the primary goal of
behavior is social acceptance by important others. A child's behavior
represents his or her attempt to feel significant and have a sense of
belonging. Misbehavior may indicate that a child did not develop the
cognitive understanding of how to find his or her own place, or, a child may
have experienced a real or perceived loss of status. Misbehavior reflects a
child's discouragement and an attempt to find a place in the group
(Dinkmeyer & McKay, 1982). Dreikurs and Soltz (1964) identified four


65
excellent means of establishing this rapport since it is an interesting,
enjoyable, and natural activity.
A related therapeutic function of play is the enhanced relationship
that develops between the child and the counselor. Play facilitates a
positive relationship because the interactions are fun and concerned with
enjoyment rather than achievement. Play fosters positive feelings which
contribute to a sense of well-being and a spirit of acceptance and
cooperation (Schaefer, 1993). Rogers (1951) recognized that when a child
feels accepted, respected, and esteemed, a positive self-concept is
facilitated. On the other hand, if a child feels rejected or devalued,
behaviors such as defiance, aggression, and withdrawal are likely to occur.
Sachs (1983) cited a number of studies that support the positive correlation
between good relationships and desirable clinical outcomes.
Communication is another therapeutic factor facilitated by play. Play
is the child's most natural form of expression. The elementary school child
may have difficulty using words to fully communicate feelings, needs, and
thoughts. As noted by Schaefer (1993), "Toys are a young childs words,
and play is his natural language" (p. 6). Play allows children to
communicate thoughts and feelings they may be aware of but unable to
express verbally. The play process also allows the child to symbolically
express unconscious wishes, conflicts, and emotions. Through play, the
child is able to communicate feelings and emotions that may be causing
conflict and inhibiting natural development.


156
Materials: group rules poster, feelings cards (happy, sad, accepted, left
out, upset, angry, confused, disappointed, worried, hurt, curious,
jealous, embarrassed, picked on, frustrated, mixed up, stupid, friendly,
scared, nervous, surprised, shy, excited, brave)
Procedure:
1. Use a go-around and have group members name as many members
of the group as they can. Children should be encouraged to help their
peers when someone forgets their name.
2. Review group rules by asking group members to try and name the
rules without looking at the poster. Briefly comment on the importance
of each rule as it is named.
3. Start by telling the group that today we are going to be talking about
pleasant feelings and unpleasant feelings. Use a go-around and ask each
member to recall a time in school when they felt happy. Associate a
happy feeling with the term pleasant. Do the same for unpleasant by
asking each child to recall a time when they had a sad feeling in school.
Link responses when appropriate.
4. Explain to the group that feelings don't have a right and wrong and
that all feelings are OK. Sometimes we share the same feelings with
people, and sometimes our feelings are different. All feelings are OK.
Show the group the feelings cards and tell them that you are going to
put some cards on the floor (or table) and each group member will have


148
1. The results of this study suggest that further research may be
needed in the area of group leadership. More research needs to be
conducted regarding the effectiveness of group leadership on a
structured guidance unit. It is possible that given the proper training,
supervision, and a structured guidance unit, Peer Facilitators can be
useful in achieving specific behavioral goals.
2. There is a need for brief, time effective instrumentation in the area
of self-concept assessment to provide scores for those students who
may have difficulty remaining on task for an extended time.
3. There is a need for the development of structured guidance units to
reduce the disruptive behavior and unacceptable classroom behavior of
groups of elementary school students.
4. More research is needed in the use of play as a vehicle in
developmental counseling units to target specific behaviors exhibited
by elementary school children.


26
Students who are disruptive in the classroom have poor self-control
and frequently act out. Aggressive behavior, in particular, consistently
ranks as one of the most objectionable forms of student behaviors among
teachers (Hersh & Walker, 1983; Nelson, Dykeman, Powell, & Petty, 1996;
Walker, 1986). Disruptive children engage in destructive acts and often
display verbally and physically aggressive actions (Coie & Koeppel, 1990).
They exhibit high rates of noncompliance and defiance in response to
teacher requests (DuPaul & Stoner, 1994; Walker, Colvin, & Ramsey,
1995).
Children who are disruptive tend to be poor learners (Bleck & Bleck,
1982; Dodge, 1989; DuPaul & Stoner, 1994; Hovland, Smaby, & Maddux,
1996; Major, 1990; Myrick & Dixon, 1985; Reyes, 1991). Patterson,
Debaryshe, and Ramsey (1989) cited studies which found that children who
exhibit disruptive behavior in the classroom consistently show poor
academic achievement. Specifically, aggressive behavior has been
positively correlated with inadequate school adjustment and low academic
performance (Coopersmith, 1959; Walker, Colvin, & Ramsey, 1995;
Wittmer & Myrick, 1980). Students with behavioral problems, moreover,
are at risk for not completing high school (Hovland, Smaby, & Maddux,
1996; Perez-Selles & Hergert, 1989).
Many children who exhibit difficulty with behavioral control in the
classroom are also at high risk for developing antisocial behavior (DuPaul &
Stoner, 1994; Hovland, Smaby, & Maddux, 1996). Griffin (1987) reported


146
6. There is no statistically significant difference across the dependent
measures among the experimental groups for male and female
subjects in terms of acting-out behavior, peer relationships. self-
concept. and classroom behavior.
The ANCOVA comparing changes in group means over time indicated
no statistically significant changes at the .05 level of confidence.
Therefore, null hypothesis number six was not rejected.
Conclusions
This study found no statistically significant differences among
experimental and control groups in terms of group leadership, grade, or
gender on the dependent variables of acting-out behavior, self-concept, and
classroom behavior. A statistically significant difference was found for the
dependent variable of peer relationships in terms of grade level.
Limitations
This study had a possible limitation in the analysis of data. The
analysis of data was carried out by running multiple ANCOVAs on a personal
computer using SPSS for Windows. 7.0. This program allowed for multiple
independent variables but only a single dependent variable with a single
covariate. This resulted in five separate analyses being conducted for this


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Summary
Children who are disruptive in the classroom have a harder time
learning and may interfere with the learning of other children as well. The
teaching process becomes more difficult as the teacher must spend more
time handling the disruptions. Disruptive behavior is a source of stress and
frustration for children, teachers, and other school personnel. Research has
demonstrated that peer facilitated interventions have been successful in
helping counselors reach more children and in achieving research goals.
Further, play has been effective in raising self-esteem and reducing
disruptive behavior with elementary school students.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a
developmental guidance unit featuring play media on disruptive elementary
school students. Specifically, this study focused on the use of play
counseling strategies with groups of fourth and fifth grade students who
were identified as exhibiting disruptive classroom behaviors. The impact of
the unit on the children participating was examined in terms of students'
acting-out behavior, peer-relationships, self-concepts, and classroom
behaviors. The unit was delivered three experimental conditions: 1) a
counselor-led play group; 2) a peer facilitator-led play group; and 3) a
control group which received no planned intervention.


167
of "puppeteers". Each group will make up their own puppet show
demonstrating a troublesome behavior and its consequences. Then, the
"puppeteers" will demonstrate the same situation but with an
alternative, appropriate behavior.
3. Allow the group to make their puppets and discuss their own
"show".
4. Allow time for clean up and dismiss the group.
Session 8-Puppet Show
Objectives:
1. To continue to develop group interaction and self-disclosure
2. To continue to develop group trust and cohesiveness
3. To continue to develop awareness of self and others
4. To continue to develop awareness and understanding of feelings in
self and others
5. To review group rules and reinforce names of group members
6. To develop an understanding of disruptive behavior
7. To develop an understanding of the consequences of disruptive
behavior and consider alternative behaviors
Plav Media: Creative Dramatics (puppets)


192
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Spencer, H. (1954). Principles of psychology (Vol. 2). New York:
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SPSS Inc. (1997). SPSS advanced statistics 7.5. Chicago, IL:
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Strayer, J., & Roberts, W. (1989). Empathy and role taking behavior
in children. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. 10. 227-239.
Studer, J. (1996). Understanding and preventing aggressive
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Sylva, K., Bruner, J. S., & Genova, P. (1976). The role of play in the
problem-solving of children 3-5 years old. In J. Bruner, A. Jolly, and K.
Sylva, (Eds.), Plav: Its role in development and evolution (pp. 244-257).
New York: Basic Books.
Taft, J. (1933). The dynamics of therapy in a controlled relationship.
New York: Macmillan.
Tattum, D. P. (Ed.). (1986). Management of disruptive pupil
behaviour in schools. Chichester, Great Britain: John Wiley & Sons.
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5
Statement of the Problem
The impact of disruptive children in the elementary classroom has
been well documented in the professional literature. Out of seat behavior,
aggressive behavior toward peers and adults, destruction of property,
speaking out of turn, and refusal to follow the directions of the teacher are
among the disruptive behaviors which may be observed in elementary
school classrooms. Aggressive behavior, in particular, has been positively
correlated with inadequate school adjustment and low academic
performance (Coopersmith, 1959; Walker, Colvin, & Ramsey, 1995;
Wittmer & Myrick, 1980). Disruptive behavior interferes with teaching and
learning (Gaustad, 1992; Hovland, Smaby, & Maddux, 1996; Nelson,
Dykeman, Powell, & Petty, 1996). When a teacher must deal with frequent
disruptions, It is difficult for learning to take place. Further, the stress
placed on the teacher in these situations may have a negative influence on
the rapport with children and thereby affect the learning process (Brembeck,
1962; Ginott, 1972; Hovland, Smaby, & Maddux, 1996).
Non-disruptive students are also influenced by the inappropriate
behavior of the disruptive child (Baker, 1985; Brake & Gerler, Jr., 1994;
DuPaul & Stoner, 1994; Hovland, Smaby, & Maddux, 1996). Bleck and
Bleck (1982) reported that "students who watch outbursts of aggression
and teacher-student conflicts may find themselves distracted, frightened,
intimidated, or unwillingly involved. Thus their learning is impaired" (p. 138).


81
themselves in the game, they often begin to talk about feelings and ideas
that are important to them (Reid, 1993). Further, since games contain
rules, children learn to conform to rules, cooperate with others, and
demonstrate self-discipline in waiting for their turns (Webb, 1991).
Guided imagery has been used for many purposes. Myrick and
Myrick (1993) cited various authors who used guided imagery to increase
artistic expression, personal awareness, and concentration. Teachers have
also used guided imagery as part of their curriculum to help children retain
information presented. Further, guided imagery has been shown to be
effective in helping students to remain on task and control their classroom
behaviors (Anderson, 1980; Matthews, 1986; Oldfield, 1986; Oldfield &
Petosa, 1986). Gladding (1993) addressed the use of guided imagery to
raise self-esteem. He suggested that elementary school children with low
self-esteem could enhance their self-concept through guided imagery.
The use of guided imagery as a developmental counseling intervention
can be an effective tool In helping children learn more about themselves and
others and to help achieve more in school (Myrick & Myrick, 1993). Guided
imagery can provide a structure whereby children can examine common
concerns as well as specific troubling issues (Myrick & Myrick, 1993).
Through the use of a planned script, the counselor leads the students
through school-related images and experiences. Following the guided
imagery, the experience is discussed with the students. The learning value
of the experience is found in the processing or discussion of the activity


145
3. There is no statistically significant difference amona the three
experimental groups (El. E2. and E3) in terms of self-concept as
measured bv the Student Self-Concept Scale.
The ANCOVA comparing changes in group means over time indicated
no statistically significant changes at the .05 level of confidence (see
Tables 4.5 and 4.6). Therefore, null hypothesis number three was not
rejected.
4. There is no statistically significant difference among the three
experimental groups (El. E2. and E3) in terms of classroom
behavior as measured bv the Disruptive Behavior Rating Scale.
The ANCOVA comparing changes in group means over time indicated
no statistically significant changes at the .05 level of confidence (see
Tables 4.7, 4.8, and 4.9). Therefore, null hypothesis number four was
not rejected.
5. There is no statistically significant difference across the dependent
measures amena the experimental groups for subjects in Grade 4
and Grade 5 in terms of acting-out behavior, peer relationships.
self-concept, and classroom behavior.
The ANCOVA comparing changes in group means over time indicated
a statistically significant change at the .05 level of confidence for the
dependent variable peer relationships (see Table 4.4). Therefore, null
hypothesis number five was rejected.


This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the College
of Education and to the Graduate School and was accepted as partial
fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
May 1998
Dean, College of Education
Dean, Graduate School


137
5, and Hypothesis 6) were examined within the dependent variable
classroom behavior:
Ho4: There will be no statistically significant difference among the
three experimental groups in terms of classroom behavior, as
measured by the Disruptive Behavior Rating Scale.
Ho5: There will be no statistically significant difference across the
dependent measures between grade levels in terms of classroom
behavior.
Ho6: There will be no statistically significant difference across the
dependent measures among the experimental groups for male and
female subjects in terms of classroom behavior.
The minimum score for both the student scale and the teacher scale is
12 and the maximum score is 48. A lower score is indicative of more
appropriate classroom behavior. On pre-test, the scores on the student scale
were distributed from a minimum of 12 to a maximum of 32 with a mean
score of 19.87 (SD = 5.40). On pre-test, the scores on the teacher scale
were distributed from a minimum of 12 to a maximum of 47 with a mean
score of 25.40 (SD = 8.37). On post-test, the scores on the student scale
were distributed from a minimum of 12 to a maximum of 36 with a mean
score of 19.43 (SD = 6.30). On post-test, the scores of the teacher scale
were distributed from a minimum of 12 to a maximum of 47 with a mean of
23.87 (SD = 9.01).


152
don't know very much about each other. A good way to help us learn
about each other Is by sharing some information. I would like you to
make something that youd like to get as a present from someone if this
was your birthday."
Allow the group to complete the task. Then ask, "Would anyone like to
tell us what present they'd like to receive?" Allow child to explain. Use
open-ended questions to help the child share information. If the child
hasn't already done so, ask who gave him or her the present. Finally,
ask, "How would you feel if you got this present from ." Respond
with a feeling-focused response for each child. Use a go-around to let
each child share who wants to. A child may "pass" if desired. As
children are sharing, link responses where appropriate (content and
feeling). If time allows, ask the group to make something they would
like to give to someone as a present. Follow the same procedure as
above.
4. To conclude the group, use a go-around and ask each member to say
one word that describes how they feel about being in the group. The
group leader(s) can model this behavior. Be sure to acknowledge each
response (whether positive or negative). Remind group members of the
day and time of the next group meeting. Dismiss the group.


138
As illustrated in Table 4.7, the pre-test mean for the Counselor-led
group on the Student scale was 20.70 and 20.48 on post-test. The pre-test
mean for the Counselor-led group on the Teacher scale was 25.91 and
23.96 on post-test. The pre-test mean for the Peer Facilitator-led group on
the Student scale was 20.22 and 19.26 on post-test. The pre-test mean for
the Peer Facilitator-led group on the Teacher scale was 26.09 and 23.52 on
post-test. The pre-test mean for the Control group on the Student scale was
18.29 and 18.18 on the post-test. The pre-test mean for the Control group
on the Teacher scale was 23.77 and 24.24 on post-test. Grade 4 students
scored a mean of 19.45 on the pre-test of the Student scale and 19.03 on
post-test. On the Teacher scale, Grade 4 students scored a mean of 24.33
on pre-test and 23.80 on post-test. Grade 5 students scored a mean of
20.61 on the pre-test of the Student scale and 20.09 on post-test. On the
Teacher scale. Grade 5 students scored a mean of 27.26 on the pre-test and
24.00 on the post-test. In terms of gender, the pre-test mean for males was
20.92 on the Student scale. The post-test mean for males was 18.94 on
the Student Scale. On the Teacher scale, the pre-test mean for males was
26.92 and the post-test mean was 24.58. For females, the mean on pre
test was 18.48 on the Student scale and 20.24 on post-test. On the
Teacher scale, the pre-test mean for females was 23.37 and the post-test
mean was 22.93.
A Pearson Correlation was used to determine the degree to which the
results of the Student and Teacher Scales of the Disruptive Behavior Rating


153
Session 2-Group Banner
Objectives:
1. To continue to develop group interaction and self-disclosure
2. To continue to develop group trust
3. To continue to develop group cohesiveness
4. To continue to develop awareness of self and others
5. To continue to develop awareness and understanding of feelings in
self and others
6. To review group rules
7. To reinforce names of group members
Plav Media: Art
Materials: a banner (felt on a dowel rod), a heavy-grade piece of paper
for each child cut in a puzzle piece shape, crayons, colored pencils,
markers, crayons, glue, group rules poster
Procedure:
1. Once children have arrived and settled in their seats, ask if anyone
remembers the names of other group members. Allow each child who
wishes to try and name others. If the group can do this fairly easily, ask


20
Developmental Guidance: Developmental guidance Is an approach to
guidance and counseling that identifies the basic skills, understandings, and
experiences that children need to be successful and implements Individual,
small group, and classroom activities to facilitate personal, social, and
academic growth.
Developmental Guidance Unit: A developmental guidance unit consists of a
series of counseling interventions that are organized into a sequential set of
sessions having specific objectives, materials, recommended activities, and
discussion leads. The focus is typically on general concerns or an Indirect
approach to a problem situation.
Disruptive Behavior: Disruptive behavior is any inappropriate behavior which
disrupts the learning environment in the classroom (e.g. calling out, teasing
other children, verbal abuse toward others, throwing objects, disturbing
others during their work or seat time) and interrupts normal classroom
procedures.
Disturbed Peer Relationships: For the purposes of this study, those
behaviors which indicate a child's Inability to get along well with others
such as lack of friendships, avoidance of activity with classmates, and
expression of loneliness or unhappiness, constitute disturbed peer
relationships. Children with disturbed peer relationships may be seen as
having a low self-concept.
Peer Facilitator: A peer facilitator is a student who uses helping skills and
concepts to assist other students and sometimes adults to think about ideas


48
life. Berlyne defined play as "a self motivated activity that satisfies a child's
innate need to explore and master his environment" (Schaefer, 1993, p. 7).
It would seem that Erikson (1964) was right when he said, "in its own
playful way, it (play) tries to elude definition" (p. 4).
Although there are many definitions offered in the literature for play,
lately there has been an emerging consensus of the common characteristics
of play behaviors (Schaefer, 1993). First, play is intrinsic versus extrinsic.
Play activities are intrinsically motivated because the activity is pleasurable.
Play does not need extrinsic rewards, but rather, it seems to satisfy an inner
desire. Second, the process of play is more important than the end result.
The concern of the child at play is with the play activity itself, not the
outcome of the activity. Third, positive feelings accompany play and can be
observed in the smiles and laughter of the child. Fourth, the child often
becomes so involved in play that awareness of time and surroundings is
lost. Fifth, play has a nonliteral quality. The "as if" feelings associated with
play lend realism to make-believe. Sixth, the freedom to impose novel
meanings on objects and events Is possible In play. Play is concerned with
what can be done with an object instead of what the object was designed
to do (Schaefer, 1993).
Rationale for Children's Plav
The definitions of play offer many explanations for why people,
especially children, engage in play. Bergen (1988) pointed out that efforts


6
Students exhibiting disruptive behavior in the schools not only pose
problems for the teacher and other children in the school setting, but if not
dealt with in an effective manner, the disruptive child is at risk of rejection
by peers (Asher, Parkhurst, Hymel, & Williams, 1990; Bleck & Bleck, 1982;
Coie, Dodge, & Kupersmidt, 1990; Coie & Koeppel, 1990; DuPaul & Stoner,
1994; Hovland, Smaby, & Maddux, 1996; Jewett, 1992) and escalating
behavioral symptoms (Dodge, 1989; DuPaul & Stoner, 1994; Griffin, 1987;
Jones, Sheridan, & Binns, 1983; Major, 1990; Walker, Colvin, & Ramsey,
1995). Of further concern is the impact that the disruptive behavior has on
the emotional development of the child. Some forms of disruptive behavior
indicate early disturbances in social competence and interpersonal skills
which may indicate serious emotional and behavioral problems (Zahn-
Waxler, Cole, Richardson, Friedman, Michel, & Belouad, 1994).
At a time when self-concepts are being formed, the school experience
is a significant factor. A positive school experience is an important factor in
the development of a positive self-concept. Holly (1992) noted that children
with a high sense of self-esteem tend to do better in school. Disruptive
children encounter more negative forms of discipline than praise and
encouragement making a positive experience unlikely. Steps are needed to
reduce the negative behaviors and allow children to learn In an encouraging
environment.
Students with behavioral problems are considered by many in the field
of education to be at a high risk for not completing high school (Hovland,


170
2. Tell the group that this is their next to last group meeting. Allow
comments and acknowledge feelings that may come up.
3. Explain to the group that they will be the "stars" today as they put
on a skit. Instead of puppets, they will be the characters in the skits.
Brainstorm situations that occur In a classroom that come from
inappropriate or disruptive behavior. Discuss appropriate alternatives.
4. Divide the group into 2 or 3 teams and give each team a few minutes
to make up a skit demonstrating poor behavior, then using the same
situation, a positive behavioral solution.
5. Follow the same processing procedure as with the puppet show.
6. Use a go-around. Ask each group member to identify a situation
when they have demonstrated poor behavior and try to think of an
alternative behavior they might try next time.
6. Acknowledge contributions. Remind the group that the next meeting
will be the final one. Dismiss the group.
Session 10-Good Luck!
Objectives:
1.To reinforce cooperation, sharing, and feedback among members of
the group
2.To provide group members with a termination session


CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
The behavior of disruptive students is a serious problem in public
schools. Disruptive pupils make the teaching process more difficult for
teachers and negatively affect the learning environment for all students.
Lessons are interrupted while the teacher deals with inappropriate behavior.
A feeling of tension may occur in the classroom making learning difficult.
Students who are disruptive in school exhibit poor self-control and
frequently act-out. It is not unusual for disruptive children to engage in
destructive acts toward others or things in their environment. Aggressive
actions, both verbal and physical, are often part of disruptive children's
behavior. Further, they are frequently noncompliant and defy teacher
requests.
Children who are disruptive are often ineffective learners who tend to
have poor relationships with both peers and teachers. Not surprisingly,
disruptive children may comment that no one likes them or they may be
hypercritical of themselves and others. Further, they may be left out of
group activities and may be rejected by their peers.
1


5 SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, LIMITATIONS, IMPLICATIONS AND
RECOMMENDATIONS 142
Conclusions 146
Limitations 146
Implications and Recommendations 147
APPENDICES
A GROUP LEADER'S MANUAL: THE DEVELOPMENTAL UNIT 149
B CORRELATION TABLE 172
REFERENCES 173
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 196
v


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Jo anne Flax was born in Flushing, New York on July 31, 1950. After
graduating from Patchogue High School in June 1968, she attended Eastern
Michigan University where she received a Bachelor's degree in Education
majoring in Special Education for the Emotionally Disturbed in 1972. In
1977, Dr. Flax obtained a Master of Science degree in Special Education
from Hofstra University. Following her undergraduate degree, Dr. Flax
taught special education both on the primary and high school levels. In
1988, she received a Master of Science degree in Counseling from Long
Island University, C. W. Post. While working as a high school counselor, she
created the school's first peer facilitator program. After working for six
years as a high school counselor, Dr. Flax was granted a leave of absence to
pursue a doctoral degree in Counselor Education at the University of Florida.
After finishing formal course work, she returned to her position as a high
school counselor and completed her doctoral degree in May 1998. Dr. Flax
enjoys teaching at the college level, listening to classical music and is an
accomplished flutist and pianist. In addition, she coaches tennis and is
training to run a marathon.
196


87
1988; Hymel, 1986; Tobias, 1992). Each of these works has relevance to
the present study.
There are basically four peer helper roles: student assistant, tutor,
special friend, and small group leader. The student assistant may be the
oldest and most traditional helping role that students have performed.
These students work with teachers, administrators, and counselors in roles
such as answering telephones, greeting visitors, distribution of materials, or
other routine office or classroom tasks. Although there is some interaction
with peers, this role is generally concerned with indirect assistance to peers
(Myrick, Highland, & Sabella, 1995).
The tutor works with peers to improve academic performance. Peer
tutors provide a supportive relationship that begins by acknowledging what
the person is experiencing and how feelings and ideas about self enter into
study habits and skills (Myrick, Highland, & Sabella, 1995). Research has
shown increases in academic performance of both the students being
tutored and the tutor.
When a peer facilitator works as a special friend, the emphasis is on
developing a close helping relationship with another student who may need
support or just need to know that someone cares about him or her. This
relationship can make an important difference for students who may feel
uninvolved, left out, or alienated from school (Myrick, Highland, & Sabella,
1995).


84
(Campbell, 1993a; Myrick 1993). School counselors were among the first
to recognize that peer helpers could extend developmental guidance
services to students at all grade levels (Myrick, 1992; Myrick, Highland, &
Sabella, 1995).
There was some early resistance to the concept of peer counseling.
Much of the early opposition came from parents, teachers, administrators,
and counselors who objected to the term peer counselor. These people
were skeptical that youngsters could actually counsel. Further, the term
"counseling" has been used synonomously with therapy. Therefore, many
parents and educators were resistant to the programs. The term "peer
facilitator" was introduced to describe the role and function of youngsters
serving as helpers. Peer facilitator communicates what students are asked
to do when helping others and provides enough flexibility to incorporate
several helping roles and functions (Myrick, 1993). The concept of the peer
facilitator has become viewed as a valuable part of a developmental
guidance program rather than a replacement for the skilled professional.
The American School Counselor Association first recommended that peer
counseling be part of a school's guidance services in 1978. In 1984, the
ASCA changed the term peer counselor to peer facilitator and upheld their
previous recommendation. As recently as 1990, the position statement was
reaffirmed.
In the 1960s, the idea of using a student as a helper became very
popular, partly as a result of an Increasing problem with drug use among


130
intervention did not prove to be statistically significant in terms of reducing
acting-out behavior as assessed by Scale 1 of the Walker Problem Behavior
Identification Checklist.
Disturbed Peer Relationships
Peer relationships was assessed by Scale 4 of the Walker Problem
Behavior Identification Checklist. Teachers of identified students were asked
to circle a number to the right of a statement if the behavior had been
observed in the child's response pattern during the last two-month period.
There were ten behaviors designated as being indicative of poor peer
relationships. Examples of this type of behavior include "comments that
nobody likes him," and "expresses concern about being lonely, unhappy."
The minimum score on Scale 4 is 0 indicating that no instances of
behaviors identified as disturbed peer relationships occurred to the best
knowledge of the classroom teacher. The maximum possible score, 25,
would seem to be indicative of a child with very poor peer relationships. On
pre-test, the scores were distributed from a minimum of 0.00 to a maximum
of 18.00, with a mean of 2.44 (SD =4.11). On posttest, the scores were
distributed from a minimum of 0.00 to a maximum of 18.00, with a mean of
1.62 (SD = 3.62).
Three separate hypotheses (Hypothesis 2, Hypothesis 5, and
Hypothesis 6), were examined within the dependent variable disturbed peer
relationships:


117
looks at self-concept in terms self-confidence in performing behaviors
related to social interaction.
The SSCS is a self-report measure. Self-report measures are the most
widely used technique for assessing self-concept (Keith & Bracken, 1996).
Gresham, Elliott, & Evans-Fernandez (1993) stated that the value of self-
reports lies in the representation of a student's own perceptions of events,
behaviors, or personal attiributes. Even though these perceptions may be
inaccurate, they are an important aspect of assessment because they can
make a difference in future behavior. The information provided by the SSCS
is derived from asking a student to make judgements about future behavior
or future emotional states. In this sense, the scale is indirect because it
asks the student to make a judgment about behavioral capabilities or
personal attributes. This is in contrast to traditional self-report measures
that ask the student to either report on behaviors performed in the past or
report present feelings about oneself.
Since there may be a significant effect of social desirability (the desire
of the subject to present oneself in a favorable light) in a self-report
measure, particularly on measures of self-concept, the SSCS includes a Lie
Scale. Witt, Cavell, Heffer, Carey, and Martens (1988) cautioned that while
self-reports may be biased in the sense that they do not correspond to
objective reality, these reports may be correct in that they represent the
student's own perceptions of events and behaviors.


45
the techniques used to enhance self-concept are similar to Axline's non
directive, client-centered play therapy techniques (DeMaria & Cowden,
1992). Unconditional acceptance, a basic tenet of client-centered play
therapy, conveys to a child that he or she is wanted, liked, and valued.
Coopersmith (1967) listed parental warmth, respectful treatment, and
clearly defined limits as antecedents of self-esteem. These are also used as
guidelines in client-centered play therapy. Axline's client-centered play
therapy has provided a sound foundation for impacting self-concept
(DeMaria & Cowden, 1992).
For many years, the term play media was used to refer to the use of
play techniques in counseling. The use of the term play therapy was
avoided, because of its original use with disturbed or maladjusted children.
Dinkmeyer and Muro (1977) advised elementary counselors to stress that
although there is some overlap in the techniques and basic philosophy in the
use of play media in counseling and play therapy, the two are not the same.
More recently, Hoffman (1993) suggested that despite the differences in
terminology and the populations served, few other substantial differences
exist between the use of play media in counseling and play therapy. The
only important difference concerns the use of interpretive techniques that
are rarely used by school counselors in developmental counseling. The use
of the term play therapy has become increasingly popular to refer to the
elementary counselor's use of play techniques in counseling children
(Barlow, Strother, & Landreth, 1985; Landreth, 1987). Others prefer the


180
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101
of disruptive behavior and consider alternative behavior. Children
participated in a puppet show which demonstrated disruptive behavior and
appropriate alternative behaviors. Puppets are an effective vehicle for self-
expression. Further, they provide a comfortable way to express feelings
and try alternative behaviors in a nonthreatening way. Session nine
continued emphasizing the goals of sessions seven and eight as the group
was asked to develop skits demonstrating positive behavior responses to
classroom situations.
Games are useful in teaching concepts and facilitating therapeutic
goals. Games involve socialization skills and cooperation between players
as children learn to take turns and conform to rules. In session four, the
group worked together silently to put together mixed-up puzzles. Pieces of
a cardboard puzzle were randomly distributed to each group member.
Without knowledge of what the completed puzzle would look like, the group
worked silently to constuct the finished product. This activity emphasized
group interaction, group cohesiveness, awareness of others, an
understanding of the importance of rules, and the impact of disruptive
behavior. Session six featured a board game called The Classroom Behavior
Game. The purpose of this game is to facilitate the teaching of appropriate
classroom behavior and reinforce skills such as listening, waiting one's turn,
and following rules. Group members were "rewarded" for behaviors such
as waiting for their turn, listening to the teachers's instructions, and helping
a friend. Group members examined alternatives to behaviors such as hitting


28
misbehavior of children, is learned. Developmental theorists recognize that
children go through predictable stages which contribute to some forms of
misbehavior.
Some attention has been given to Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity
Disorder (ADHD). Children with ADHD exhibit inattention, impulsivity, and
overactivity that can lead to many problems in the school setting (DuPaul &
Stoner, 1994). Studies have indicated that approximately three to five
percent of children in the United States can be diagnosed with ADHD
(Barkley, 1990), meaning that approximately one child in a classroom of
twenty will have this disorder. Barkley (1990) stated that children with
ADHD may comprise up to forty percent of referrals to counseling services
out of the school setting. Boys with this disorder outnumber girls by
approximately three to one in community based agencies. Breen and
Barkley (1988) explained this gender difference as a greater prevalence in
disruptive behaviors, such as noncompliance, among boys with ADHD.
DuPaul and Stoner (1994) stated that there seems to be no apparent
single cause of ADHD. Rather, ADHD symptomatology may result from a
variety of causes. The greatest interest in empirical studies has been placed
on neurological factors, hereditary influences, and toxic reactions as being
causal factors in the disorder (Anastopoulos & Barkley, 1988).
Environmental factors such as family stress and poor parenting practices
appear to play a role in the severity of the disorder but have not been found
to be a causal factor (Barkley, 1990).


165
Materials: The Classroom Behavior Game (from Childswork, Childsplay
catalogue), group rules poster
Procedure:
1. Group members should know each other by now. Try to use each
child's name during discussion to reinforce this knowledge. Use the
rules poster as needed to remind group members when necessary about
the rules.
2. Play the game as suggested on the instruction sheet and process as
you play according to the situation. Draw attention to consequences of
behavior and alternatives to behavior.
3. Before ending the group, ask each group member to name a
classroom rule that he or she will be especially careful about following
from now on. Acknowledge contributions and dismiss the group.
Sessions 7-Make A Puppet
Objectives:
1. To continue to develop group interaction and self-disclosure
2. To continue to develop group trust and cohesiveness
3. To continue to develop awareness of self and others
4. To continue to develop awareness and understanding of feelings in
self and others


46
use of the term developmental play counseling because it conveys the
essence and purpose of developmental counseling with children in the
elementary school (Hoffman, 1991).
The developmental play counselor relies on the effective use of
counseling responses to help the children. It Is the communication of
understanding, respect, and nonjudgmental acceptance that encourages the
free expression of emotions and behavior (Hoffman, 1991). The use of
facilitative responses helps the child express and understand feelings,
behaviors, relationships, and life experiences. As the child plays, the
counselor responds by reflecting feelings, thoughts, and actions and by
clarifying and summarizing. These responses are focused on the feelings,
ideas, actions, and circumstances being expressed in the play. They are not
personalized to the child and, therefore, are not threatening (Hoffman,
1991). When questions seem to be necessary to expand on the feelings,
ideas, behaviors, or situations in play, open questions are used to encourage
further expression. In this way, the counselor not only learns more about
the child, but conveys understanding, acceptance, respect, interest, and
caring.
It is important that the counselor convey the feelings of genuineness,
respect, empathy, acceptance, and warmth identified by Rogers (1951) to
foster the therapeutic relationship and positive growth. The counselor must
be emotionally present and communicate a genuine belief in the ability of
the child to be self-directed and personally effective (Hoffman, 1991).


111
Originally developed for use in 1970, the first edition of the WPBIC
was normed for males and females in grades four through six. The 1983
(Walker, 1983) revision extended the normative group to preschool (ages
two through five), kindergarten, and the primary grades (grades one through
three).
For the purposes of this study, the raw scores obtained on
Scale 1, Acting-Out Behavior, and Scale 4, Disturbed Peer Relations, were
of interest. As listed on the male form, the fourteen items considered to be
indicative of acting-out behavior on the WPBIC (Walker, 1983) are:
complains about others' unfairness and/or discrimination toward him;
becomes hysterical, upset, or angry when things do not go his way; distorts
the truth by making statesments contrary to fact; makes distrustful or
suspicious remarks about actions of others toward him; argues and must
have the last word in verbal exchanges; habitually rejects the school
experience through actions or comments; has temper tantrums; when
teased or irritated by other children, takes out his frustration(s) on another
inappropriate person or thing; has rapid mood shifts-depressed one
moment, manic the next; does not obey until threatened with punishment;
openly strikes back with angry behavior to teasing of other children; must
have approval for tasks attempted or completed; displays physical
aggression toward objects or persons; and reacts with defiance to
instructions or commands. Statements on the female form are appropriately
changed for gender.


132
Table 4.3
Disturbed Peer Relationships (Walker Scale 41 Pre-test and Post-test
by Experimental Condition, Grade, and Gender
Pre-Test
Post-Test
N
Mean
SD
Mean
SD
Counselor-Led (E1)
23
3.39
5.09
2.30
5.19
Peer Facilitator-Led (E2)
23
1.96
3.02
1.00
1.76
Control (E3)
17
1.82
3.93
1.53
2.85
Grade 4
40
2.10
4.61
1.98
4.31
Grade 5
23
3.04
3.07
1.00
1.81
Male
36
1.72
3.28
.67
1.91
Female
27
3.41
4.92
2.89
4.83
Table 4.4
Summary Table for Analysis of Covariance for Peer Relationships
by Experimental Condition, Grade, and Gender
(at .05 level of confidence)
Source
Sum of
Squares
df
Mean Square
F
P
Model
808.977
13
62.229
18.629
.000
Covariate
406.441
1
406.441
121.672
.000
Treatment
Exp. Condition
3.140
2
1.570
.470
.628
Grade
18.335
1
18.335
5.489
.023*
Gender
4.467
1
4.467
1.337
.253
Expercon*Gender
.876
2
.438
.131
.877
Expercon'Grade
2.576
2
1.288
.386
.682
Gender*Grade
.334
1
.334
.100
.753
Expercon*Gender*Grade
3.809
2
1.905
.570
.569
Error
167.023
50
3.340
Total
976.000
62
"Indicates a statistically significant difference at the .05 level.
In regard to experimental condition, there was not sufficient evidence
to reject the null hypothesis (F = .470, p = .628). Further, there was
insufficient evidence to reject the null hypothesis in terms of gender
difference on Scale 4 of the WPBIC (F= 1.337, p = .253). In terms of grade
level, the analysis indicates a statistically significant difference between
students in grade 4 and 5 in for the dependent variable peer relationships


195
Zahn-Waxler, C., Cole, P. M., Richardson, D. T., Friedman, R. J.,
Michel, M, K., & Belouad, F. (1994). Social problem solving in disruptive
preschool children; Reactions to hypothetical situations of conflict and
distress. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly. 40. 98-119.


Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
Of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
A DEVELOPMENTAL UNIT FEATURING PLAY MEDIA
FOR DISRUPTIVE FOURTH AND FIFTH GRADE STUDENTS
By
Jo-anne Flax
May 1998
Chairman: Robert Myrick, Ph.D.
Major Department: Counselor Education
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a
developmental guidance unit featuring play media on disruptive elementary
school students. More specifically, the study focused on the use of play
counseling strategies with fourth and fifth grade groups of children who
were identified as having disruptive classroom behaviors. The impact of the
unit on the children participating was examined in terms of students' acting-
out behavior, peer-relationships, self-concepts, and classroom behaviors.
The investigation involved three experimental groups: 1) a counselor-led play
group; 2) a peer facilitator-led play group; and 3) a control group which
received no planned interventions.
The study was conducted using a pretest-posttest control-group
design. Sixty-three students completed the Student Self-Concept Scale and
VI


147
study. This technique has the inherent danger of committing a statistical
error by virtue of multiple tests eventually leading to a significant result.
This may have been the case for Hypothesis 5 with the dependent variable
of peer relationships. Therefore, this result must be considered suspect in
light of the analysis.
Implications and Recommendations
The results of this study showed no statistically significant differences
among the experimental and control groups in regard to acting-out behavior,
peer relationships, self-concept, or classroom behavior in regard to group
leadership or grade level. Peer relationships was found to have a statistically
significant difference between grade levels. Students in Grade 5 scored
significantly lower than students In Grade 4 at post-test for peer
relationships. As previously mentioned, this result may be suspect.
The question of the effects of group leadership was not proven to be
statistically significant in this study. The groups led by Peer Facilitators did
not have significantly different results from those groups led by adult
counselors. It would therefore seem important to investigate the nature of
leadership in a structured guidance unit to see if this influences the outcome.
Based on the results of this study, the following recommendations are
made for future study:


193
Tobias, A., & Seagraves, M. (1994). Peer facilitators provide
assistance to limited English proficient students. Peer Facilitator Quarterly.
11(3), 24-27.
Trostle, S. (1984). Play therapy and the disruptive child. In T.D.
Yaekwy & A. Pellegrini (Eds.), Child's play and plav therapy, (pp. 157-169).
Lancaster, PA: Technomic Publishing.
Waksman, S. (1979). An evaluation of social learning procedures
designed to aid students with conduct problems. Psychology in the
Schools. 16, 416-420.
Walker, H. M. (1983). Walker problem behavior identification
checklist (Rev.ed., manual). Los Angeles: Western Pyshological Services.
Walker, H. M. (1986). The assessments for integration into
mainstream settings (AIMS) assessment system: Rationale, instruments,
procedures, and outcomes. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology. 15(1), 55-
63.
Walker, H. M., & Bull, S. (1970). Validation of a behavior rating
scale for measuring behavior within the classroom setting. Unpublished
manuscript. University of Oregon.
Walker, H. M., Colvin, G., & Ramsey, E. (1995). Antisocial behavior
in school: Strategies and best practices. Pacific Grove, CA.: Brooks/Cole
Publishing Company.
Walker, H. M & Hops, H. (1993). The RECESS program for
aggressive children. Seattle, WA: Educational Achievement Systems.
Walz, G. R., & Bleuer, J. C. (1992). Student self-esteem: A vital
element of school success. Volume 1. Ann Arbor, Ml: Counseling and
Personnel Services, Inc.
Webb, N. B. (1991). Plav therapy with children in crisis: A
casebook for practictioners. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
Webb, W. (1992). Empowering at-risk children. Elementary School
Guidance and Counseling. 27. 96-103.
Webster-Stratton, C. (1993). Strategies for helping early school-
aged children with oppositional defiant and conduct disorders: The
importance of home-school partnerships. School Psychology Review. 22.
437-457.


121
that the SSCS, the predictor, correlated significantly with criterion
measures.
One study investigated the relationships between the SSCS Self-
Confidence and Outcome Confidence ratings and scores on the Child
Behavior Checklist (CBCL; Achenback & Edelbrock, 1987). A strong
correlation (r = .62) was found between the SSCS Academic Self-
Confidence Subscale and the CBCL School Performance Scale. When the
SSCS was correlated with the Coppersmith Self-Esteem Inventories (CSEI),
the strongest correlations were found when the SSCS Self-Confidence
Composite ratings were correlated with the SCEI Total Self score (r = .54).
Moderate correlations were found between SSCS Subscale Self-Confidence
ratings and the CSEI Total Self score (.49, .43, .41, and .54). The scores
of seventy elementary students on the SSCS Self-Confidence and Outcome
Confidence ratings were compared to scores obtained from the Piers-Harris
Children's Self-Concept Scale (PH; Peirs, 1984). Moderate correlations
were found between SSCS Self-Confidence ratings and the Total Score on
the PH. Correlations between SSCS Outcome Confidence ratings and the
Total Score on the PH were low ( ranging from .13 to .25). Gresham,
Elliott, and Evans-Fernandez (1993) suggested when using the Piers-Harris
as a criterion, the SSCS Self-Confidence ratings are better predictors of self-
concept than SSCS Outcome Confidence ratings.
Concurrent validity was investigated using the Tennessee Self-
Concept Scale (TSCS; Roid & Fitts, 1988). The TSCS is a reliable and


33
inadequacy is extreme discouragement. These children believe neither
positive nor negative behavior will lead to any chance of success. They
become helpless and use this helplessness to avoid any task where
expected failure may be even more embarrassing (Dreikurs & Stoltz, 1964).
By giving up any hope of succeeding, children attempt to keep others from
expecting anything from them.
Popkin (1987) conceptualized four goals of behavior that were also
derived from the work of Dreikurs (1964): contact, power, protection, and
withdrawal. An individual's desire to belong leads to the first goal, making
contact. Initially, an infant needs to be held. Later, other forms of contact
are learned including attention and recognition. The second goal, the need
for power, is reflected in the desire to have a measure of control over one's
environment. The goal of protection involves both physical and
psychological defenses. Withdrawal, the fourth goal, serves to
counterbalance contact.
Popkin (1987) theorized that "there are no good or bad children, but
only encouraged or discouraged children, whose behavior is more or less
useful or useless" (p. 46). A child who feels encouraged is likely to pursue
the basic goals with behaviors that are considered positive. A child who
feels discouraged tends to pursue the same goals, but with behaviors likely
to be considered negative. A child who feels a lack of contact (attention or
recognition) may respond by seeking undue attention. A negative attempt
to gain power may be observed in a rebellious child. When a child becomes


158
Plav Media: Games
Materials: group rules poster, tagboard puzzle pieces, 8 to an envelope
(4 or 5 envelopes per groups)
Procedure:
1. Use a go-around and have each child give his or her name and a
feeling that describes how they feel at the moment. After all children
have had a chance, ask if anyone would like to name a rule of the
group. Continue until all rules have been reviewed.
2. Tell the group that they are going to put together some puzzles. Ask
if anyone has put puzzles together before. Tell the group that this
puzzle is different because it has no picture, only a shape. It will be
their job to find out what the shape is and put the puzzle together.
3. Have one child select the first puzzle envelope and pass out at least 1
piece to each group member. There may be extra pieces in an
envelope. If so, you may participate, or let a child have 2 pieces.
Ask the group to put the puzzle together.
4. This task should not be too difficult because the group can
communicate. Explain that the group will do another puzzle, but this
time the rule is that they may not talk until the puzzle is put together.
Allow a group member to select another puzzle.


18
In the 1960s, the idea of peer helper programs became very popular,
partly as a result of the increasing problem of drug abuse. Counselors, as
well as others in education searched for ways to reach students before they
developed problems with drug addiction. Surveys indicated that students
with problems turned to their peers, then counselors and coaches
(Campbell, 1993; Myrick & Folk, 1991). This finding served as a push for
peer helper programs which flourished at this time, especially at the high
school level. As the variety of peer helping groups expanded, high school
peer facilitators were trained to lead preventive guidance groups with
elementary students.
Four basic peer facilitator roles have been identified (Myrick &
Bowman, 1981b). The use of peers as student assistants commonly finds
students helping counselors, teachers, or administrators with various
structured tasks including answering telephones, taking and delivering
messages, and operating media equipment. A second role of peer
facilitators is that of a tutor. Cross-age tutoring, utilized by educators for
many years, becomes more than academic review when the trained, peer
facilitator-tutor can address motivation, interest, learning barriers, and self
esteem. A special friend can provide encouragement, support, and perhaps
serve as a mentor to new students or students who have no friends.
Finally, a fourth role of peer facilitators is that of small group leaders. Their
role is to provide more personalized experiences for students and to increase
the productivity of the group (Myrick & Folk, 1991).


151
the child's first name). The next child should say, "Hi (give
previous child's name). My name is and I like to
." The next child must repeat the names of both
children, and then add his or her own name. Continue around the circle
until all have had a chance. Students may ask for help from a member if
the name is not readily recalled. After all members have had a chance,
ask, "Is there anyone who thinks they can name everyone in our
group?" Allow any child to try that wishes to. Acknowledge the efforts
of the group.
2. Go over the group rules. Ask if anyone would like to read the first
rule and explain why we might want to have it as a rule. Continue
through all the group rules. Tell the group that following these rules are
important if our group is going to work well.
-Only one person talks at a time.
-Listen while others are talking.
-Keep your hands to yourself.
-Respect the feelings and opinions of others.
-Try your best at all times.
3. Let each child choose a container of clay. After all the children have
clay, put a name sticker on each one. Explain to the children that they
will be allowed to keep the clay after the last group session. Explain to
the group, "We know the names of the people in our group, and we
know some rules we need to follow so that our group runs well. But we


175
Barlow, K., Strother, J., & Landreth, G. (1985). Child-centered play
therapy: Nancy from baldness to curls. The School Counselor. 32. 347-
356.
Barnett, L. A., & Storm, B. (1981). Play, pleasure, and pain: The
reduction of anxiety through play. Leisure Sciences. 4, 161-175.
Baruch, D.W. (1952). One little bov. New York: Dell Publishing.
Benshoff, J. M., Poidevant, J. M., & Cashwell, C. S. (1994). School
discipline programs: Issues and implications for school counselors.
Elementary School Guidance and Counseling. 28. 163-169.
Bergen, D. (Ed.) (1988). Plav as a medium for learning and
development: A handbook of theory and practice. Portsmouth, NH:
Heineman.
Bertoia, J., & Allan, J. (1988). Counseling seriously ill children: Use
of spontaneous drawings. Elementary School Guidance and Counseling. 22.
206-221.
Bills, R. E. (1950a). Non-directed play therapy with retarded readers.
Journal of Consulting Psychology. 14. 140-149.
Bills, R. E. (1950b). Play therapy with well-adjusted readers.
Journal of Counsultina Psychology. 14. 246-249.
Bleck, R. (1977). Developmental group counseling using structured
plav with elementary school disruptive children. Unpublished doctoral
dissertation, University of Florida.
Bleck, R., & Bleck B. (1976). (Disruptive behavior rating scale).
Unpublished research instrument.
Bleck, R., & Bleck, B. (1982). The disruptive child's play group.
Elementary School Guidance and Counseling. 17. 137-141.
Blum, D. J., & Toenniessen, C. S. (1992). We are the world: A
guidance unit for grades 4 through 6. Elementary School Guidance &
Counseling. 26. 321-325.
Bodiford-McNeil, C., Hembree-Kigin, T. L., & Eyberg, S. M. (1996).
Short-term plav therapy for disruptive children. King of Prussia, PA: The
Center for Applied Psychology, Inc.


25
Powell, & Petty, 1996). Students who witness the inappropriate behavior of
disruptive pupils and the ensuing teacher-student conflict may feel
distracted, frightened, or intimidated (Bleck & Bleck, 1982).
Inattentive and disruptive students present significant challenges to
school personnel (DuPaul & Stoner, 1994). When a teacher must deal with
frequent disruptions, It Is difficult for learning to take place. The stress
placed on the teacher In these situations may have a negative influence on
the rapport with other children and affect the learning process (Brembeck,
1962; Ginott, 1972; Hovland, Smaby, & Maddux, 1996; Nelson, Dykeman,
Powell, & Petty, 1996).
Disruptive children frequently have poor peer relationships (Bleck &
Bleck, 1982; Coie & Koeppel, 1990; DuPaul & Stoner, 1994; Hovland,
Smaby, & Maddux, 1996). They may be left out of group activities and
may experience rejection by their peers (Asher, Parkhurst, Hymel, &
Williams, 1990; Coie, Dodge, & Kupersmidt, 1990; Jewett, 1992). Children
rejected by their peers are likely to report high levels of loneliness and
personal unhappiness (Dodge, 1989). Coie and Dodge (1983) suggested
that at least half of rejected children are unable to resolve difficulites on
their own and remain socially rejected for several years. DuPaul and Stoner
(1994) reported that peer rejection status is typically stable over time.
Further, Dodge (1989) stated that "there is abundant evidence to indicate
that positive peer relationships are necessary requisites for...educational
success" (p. 222).


10
missing ingredient that helps students learn more effective social and
learning skills at school.
The necessity for effective interventions which can be implemented to
reduce the disruptive behavior of elementary school children has been well
documented (Hovland, Smaby, & Maddux, 1996; Walker, Colvin, &
Ramsey, 1995). However, there is a lack of empirically based research
dealing with time-limited developmental play interventions. Disruptive
students need time-efficient help to gain control of their behaviors in order
to improve learning efficiency. Further, the teachers of these students need
help in order to maintain positive classroom atmosphere which encourages
learning for all students.
Play therapy and play counseling techniques have been recognized as
effective interventions in the treatment of many childhood problems.
Landreth (1991) identified fourteen problem behaviors in which a play
intervention is effective in eliminating or at least diminishing significant
problems in children. However, there has been little empirically based
research regarding the use of a developmental guidance unit using play
media for the correction of disruptive behavior exhibited by elementary
school children.


55
Active plav therapy
Solomon (1938) developed a technique called Active Play Therapy
which was used with impulsive and acting-out children. Through play, a
child could be helped to express emotions such as rage and fear without
experiencing negative consequences. The therapist's interactions with the
child helped redirect the energy previously directed toward acting-out to
more socially acceptable play behaviors.
Release plav therapy
Melanie Klein visited the United States in 1929. She later reported
(Klein, 1955) that play was not used very often as part of the therapeutic
procedure with children (Landreth, 1991). A major step in increasing the
use of play as a therapeutic intervention with children occurred with the
work of David Levy. Levy (1939) developed Release Therapy, a structured
play approach used with children who had been through a specific stressful
situation. Levy believed in the abreactive effect of play. Abreaction is the
reliving of past stressful events and the emotions associated with them
(Schaefer, 1993). In Release Therapy, the therapist provides the materials
which help the child to recreate the stressful experience through play. After
a brief period of free play during which the child becomes familiar with the
materials, the child is encouraged to reenact the traumatic situation. By
reenacting the traumatic event through play, the child is able to deal with


57
Relationship Therapy. This approach signified a major break from the
psychoanalytic school and evolved from the work of Otto Rank (1936).
Rank deemphasized the importance of past history and the unconscious.
Instead, he stressed the importance of functioning in the present and the
development of the relationship between the therapist and client.
Relationship play therapy places its primary emphasis on the curative
power of the emotional relationship between the child and the therapist.
There is no interpretation of past experiences. Rather, the primary focus of
attention is on present feelings and reactions. Relationship therapists stress
children's capacity to modify personal behaviors. The play technique allows
children to choose whether to play or not to play, and to direct the activity
in their own way. Children gradually come to realize their existence as
unique, separate individuals who can exist in a relationship with others. The
responsibility for growth is given to the child. The therapist then
concentrates on the difficulties that are of concern to the child rather than
on those concerning the therapist or other adults.
Non-directive plav therapy
The work of the relationship therapists was studied and expanded by
Carl Rogers (1942) who developed non-directive therapy. Once referred to
as client-centered therapy, the approach is known today as person-centered
or child-centered therapy. Virginia Axline, a student of Carl Rogers, applied


CHAPTER V
SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, LIMITATIONS, IMPLICATIONS
AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a
developmental guidance unit featuring play media on disruptive elementary
school students. More specifically, the study focused on the use of play
counseling strategies with fourth and fifth grade groups of children who
were identified as having disruptive classroom behaviors. The impact of the
unit on the children participating was examined in terms of students' acting-
out behavior, peer-relationships, self-concepts, and classroom behaviors. The
investigation involved three experimental groups: 1) a counselor-led play
group; 2) a peer facilitator-led play group; and 3) a control group which
received no planned intervention.
Sixty-five fourth and fifth grade students in the Intermediate School
completed the necessary forms and were randomly assigned to one of three
experimental conditions: Counselor-led (E1), Peer Facilitator-led (E2), or
Control (E3). This number represents approximately ten percent of the
school's population. Following the pre-test period but prior to the second
group meeting, two students dropped from the study. Subsequently, sixty-
three students completed the entire experimental procedure and were
included in the analysis.
142


120
valid, it must correlate with other measures of the same construct and not
correlate with measures of antithetical, independent constructs (Gresham,
Elliott, & Evans-Fernandez, 1993). The inferences drawn from a measure
are considered valid only to the extent that several different instruments
yield similar results. Three major areas of test validation were examined by
Gresham, Elliott, and Evans-Fernandez: content validity, criterion-related
validity, and construct validity. Based on the evidence obtained by various
studies, the SSCS was found to be valid for assessing students' self-
concepts and outcome expectations (Gresham, Elliott, & Evans-Fernandez,
1993).
Content validity is the degree to which the sample of test Items
represent the content the test is designed to measure. Sax (1989) referred
to a test having content validity if the behavior called for in the item
corresponds to the behavior identified by the test. Evaluation of the content
validity of the SSCS was conducted by experienced researchers and
practitioners who nominated a pool of items. The actual test items were
then selected from this pool submitted by the experts. Content validity was
therefore supported by research and standardization analyses (Gresham,
Elliott, & Evans-Fernandez, 1993).
Criterion-related validity refers to the correlation between test scores
and an external criterion (Sax, 1989). Several criterion-related validity
studies were conducted during or after the standardization of the SSCS
which have relevance to this study. The results of these studies suggest


129
Table 4.1
Acting-Out Behavior (Walker Scale 1) Pre-test and Post-test
By Experimental Condition, Grade, and Gender
Pre-Test
Post-Test
N
Mean
SD
Mean
SD
Counselor-Led (E1)
23
5.44
6.52
5.09
7.43
Peer Facilitator-Led (E2)
23
5.57
6.16
5.78
5.85
Control (E3)
17
7.24
8.05
7.24
8.61
Grade 4
40
5.58
7.38
5.98
7.93
Grade 5
23
6.65
5.65
5.83
5.83
Male
36
5.83
6.49
4.97
6.54
Female
27
6.15
7.26
7.19
7.91
Table 4.2
Summary Table for Analysis of Covariance for Acting-Out Behavior
by Experimental Condition, Grade, and Gender
(at .05 level of confidence)
Source
Sum of
Squares
df
Mean Square
F
P
Model
4343.889
13
334.145
15.686
.000
Covariate
1516.764
1
1516.764
71.202
.000
Treatment
Exp. Condition
15.765
2
7.883
.370
.693
Grade
.251
1
.251
.012
.914
Gender
57.966
1
57.966
2.721
.105
Expercon*Gender
.123
2
6.1E-02
.003
.997
Expercon*Grade
64.515
2
32.258
1.514
.230
Gender*Grade
39.092
1
39.092
1.835
.182
Expercon*Gender*Grade
31.869
2
16.934
.748
.479
Error
1065.111
50
21.302
Total
3200.603
62
In regard to experimental condition, there was not sufficient evidence
to reject the null hypothesis (F = ,370, p = .693). The null hypothesis could
not be rejected for grade level (F = .012, p = ,914). Further, there was
insufficient evidence to reject the null hypothesis in terms of gender
difference on Scale 1 of the WPBIC (F = 2.721, p = .105). The ANCOVA
results for experimental condition, grade, and gender suggest that the


92
Population and Sample
Pppulation
The population for this study consisted of six hundred sixty-four
fourth and fifth grade students attending the single intermediate school in
the South Country School District in Suffolk County, New York. As of
February 1, 1997, the total elementary school (K-5) population in the district
was one thousand, nine hundred, of which three hundred thirty-six were
enrolled in the fourth grade and three hundred twenty-eight were enrolled in
the fifth grade. These totals represent only students enrolled in regular
classes; special education classes were not included.
South Country Schools is located on the south shore of Long Island,
approximately fifty miles east of Manhattan. It serves the communities of
Bellport, Brookhaven Hamlet, East Patchogue, Medford, and North Bellport.
These communities represent a broad spectrum of socioeconomic
backgrounds and ethnic groups resulting in a student population that
reflects a diversity of cultural influences. The majority, approximately sixty
percent, of the school population is Caucasian. Approximately twenty-eight
percent of the district population is African-American or Hispanic.
Approximately ten percent of the district population is comprised of
students of Asian descent. Another two percent of the population comes
from other minority groups.


95
Research Pesian
This study was conducted using a pretest-posttest control-group
design. This design is commonly used in educational research and attempts
to control for internal validity threats of history, maturation, testing,
instrumentation, mortality, selection, regression and the effects of
interaction (Borg & Gall, 1989). Table 3.2 summarizes the design and
procedures used.
Table 3.2
Summary of Research Design
Experimental
Week 1
Week 2
Week
Week
Week
Week
Week
Week 8
Condition
3
4
5
6
7
Counselor-Led
ID
WPBIC1
X1
X3
X5
X7
X9
WPBIC2
(E1)
RA
DBRS1
X2
X4
X6
X8
X10
DBRS2
SSCS1
SSCS2
Peer-Led
ID
WPBIC1
X1
X3
X5
X7
X9
WPBIC2
(E2)
RA
DBRS1
X2
X4
X6
X8
X10
DBRS2
SSCS1
SSCS2
Control
ID
WPBIC1
Ml
M2
M3
M4
M5
WPBIC2
(E3)
RA
DBRS1
DBRS2
SSCS1
SSCS2
Key to abbreviations used in Table 3.2
ID Identification of students as "disruptive" by teachers
RA Random assignment to groups
WPBIC Evaluation using Walker Problem Behavior Identification Checklist
WPBIC1 = Pre-test WPBIC2 = Post-test
DBRS Evaluation using the Disruptive Behavior Rating Scale
DBRS1 = Pre-test DBRS2 = Post-test
SSCS Evaluation using Student Self-Concept Scale
SSCS1 = Pre-test SSCS2 = Post-test
X Specific Unit Sessions 1-10
M Control Group Meetings (non-intervention)


82
(Myrick & Myrick, 1993). Through discussion of feelings accompanying the
experience, as well as specific images that were evoked during the guided
imagery, children can be helped to look at their functioning in the school
setting and improve school success.
Woltman (1994) explained that puppets occupy a special place in the
play activities of the child. A major benefit of using puppets in counseling is
that puppets can be an effective vehicle for self-expression. Puppets
provide a safe way to express feelings and allow the child to communicate
concerns in a comfortable way (Carter, 1987). Since it is the puppet that is
"talking", the child is able to express feelings in a nonthreatening way
(Landreth, 1991).
Structured counseling
The process of play counseling may take place with individuals or in
small groups, and may be non-structured or structured in approach. In a
non-structured approach, children are free to select their play medium from
a variety of items (such as puppets or clay), set their own rules, and use the
playthings and the time in any way they wish (Carter, 1987). The counselor
attempts to establish a relationship of trust and acceptance by following the
lead of the child as he expresses himself with toys (Myrick & Haldin, 1971).
This child-centered approach however, may be time consuming and ill-fitted
to today's counselor caseloads.


105
decisions. The control groups (E3) were led by an adult counselor assisted
by a peer facilitator.
The counselors who participated in this study are all employed by the
South Country Schools working either on the middle school or high school
level. Four women and two men agreed to participate in this study. All of
the counselors have had classroom experience either at the primary or
middle school level. All counselors have a minimum of a masters degree in
school counseling granted by a CACREP program. The minimum level of
experience among those counselors participating is four years.
Eight members of the Class of 1997 at Bellport High School were
selected and trained as peer facilitators using the structure set out by
Myrick and Sorenson (1988) emphasizing facilitative listening, problem
solving, feedback, and helping skills. The students invited to participate in
the study were drawn from students known to the investigator, and who
had previously worked on school related projects with the investigator.
These students were known to be in good academic standing, interested in
working with children, and highly responsible. The peer facilitators assigned
to E2 groups worked in pairs to ensure continuity of leadership if one of the
students were to be absent on the day of the scheduled group meeting.
Training in the use of the guidance unit was provided to the
professional counselors and peer facilitators. The counselors and peer
leaders received a manual containing the play unit at a workshop prior to
the start of the study. The manual for group leaders is contained in


96
Hypotheses
Experimental conditions were evaluated in terms of acting-out
behavior, peer relationships, self-concept, and classroom behavior. Further,
gender differences and group leadership were examined in terms of these
variables. An alpha level of .05 (a = .05) was used to determine whether
results were statistically significant.
The hypotheses tested were:
Ho1: There will be no statistically significant difference among the
three experimental groups (E1, E2, and E3) in terms of acting-out
behavior, as measured by Scale 1 of the Walker Problem Behavior
Identification Checklist (WPBIC).
Ho2: There will be no statistically significant difference among the
three experimental groups in terms of peer relationships, as measured
by Scale 4 of the Walker Problem Behavior Identification Checklist
(WPBIC).
Ho3: There will be no statistically significant difference among the
three experimental groups in terms of self-concept, as measured by
the Student Self-Concept Scale (SSCS).
Ho4: There will be no statistically significant difference among the
three experimental groups in terms of classroom behavior, as
measured by the Disruptive Behavior Rating Scale (DBRS).


103
Table 3.3continued
Session
Goals
Play Media and Primary
Activity
Session 3
To develop group interaction and self-disclosure
designed to increase group trust, group
cohesiveness, awareness of self and others,
and awareness and understanding of feelings.
To reinforce the names of group members and
rules for group participation.
Creative Dramatics
Group members
pantomimed feeling
words
Session 4
To develop group interaction and self-disclosure
designed to increase group trust, group
cohesiveness, awareness of self and others,
and awareness and understanding of feelings.
To reinforce the names of group members and
rules for group participation. To develop an
understanding of the consequences of
disruptive behavior and consider alternative
behaviors.
Games
Group members were
given pieces of a
puzzle that had to be
put together without
members speaking to
each other
Session 5
To develop group interaction and self-disclosure
designed to increase group trust, group
cohesiveness, awareness of self and others,
and awareness and understanding of feelings.
To reinforce the names of group members and
rules for group participation. To develop an
understanding of the consequences of
disruptive behavior and consider alternative
behaviors.
Guided Imagery
A magic carpet ride
was taken to look at
classroom behaviors
and their impact on
students and their
peers
Session 6
To develop group interaction and self-disclosure
designed to increase group trust, group
cohesiveness, awareness of self and others,
and awareness and understanding of feelings.
To reinforce the names of group members and
rules for group participation. To develop an
understanding of the consequences of
disruptive behavior and consider alternative
behaviors.
Games
A commercially
prepared board game
was played that
emphasized appropriate
classroom behavior
Session 7
To develop group interaction and self-disclosure
designed to increase group trust, group
cohesiveness, awareness of self and others,
and awareness and understanding of feelings.
To reinforce the names of group members and
rules for group participation. To develop an
understanding of the consequences of
disruptive behavior and consider alternative
behaviors.
Art (Puppets)
Puppets were
constructed by each
child out of paper
lunch bags and various
paper, felt, and
markers to be used in
the next session
Session 8
To reinforce cooperation, sharing, and feedback
among members of the group. To reinforce
rules for group participation. To reinforce the
consequences of disruptive behavior and
consider alternative behaviors.
Creative Dramatics
(Puppets)
Puppet shows were
presented to
demonstrate alternative
behaviors


157
a chance to fill in a sentence by picking a card that names a feeling that
describes them. Use brief sentence stems such as "I feel..., I am..., I am
not...", etc. Use a go-around and allow each child to respond to a
sentence stem. Then repeat the activity with having the child supply the
"becuase". (I feel because .)
5. Play a game of Feelings Charades by asking each member of the
group to take a turn and act out one feeling. The other group members
try to guess what the feeling being acted out is.
6. Conclude the group by asking each child to orally respond to this
statement. "In this group I feel because .
Session 4-Mixed Uo Puzzles
Objectives:
1. To continue to develop group interaction and self-disclosure
2. To continue to develop group trust and cohesiveness
3. To continue to develop awareness of self and others
4. To continue to develop awareness and understanding of feelings in
self and others
5. To review group rules and reinforce names of group members
6. To review feeling words
7. To develop an understanding of disruptive behavior
8. To develop an understanding of the consequences of disruptive
behavior and consider alternative behaviors


114
student. The content validity of the checklist is considered to be strong and
is relevant for use by teachers and other school personnel (Walker, 1983).
Criterion validity refers to the extent to which the scores of a test
correlate with an existing measure of the characteristic of interest (Dooley,
1990). Measures of criterion validity were obtained utilizing contrasted-
groups procedures within the original norm group of five hundred thirty-four
intermediate-level students. In this procedure, two independent groups are
established on the basis of the construct being studied such as behavior
disturbance and observed classroom behavior. Then the checklist is
administered to both groups. Differences between scores of the two groups
are then tested for statistical significance. Overall, the studies conducted
on the WPBIC provide support for its criterion validity. There appears to be
a strong, empirical relationship between checklist scores and the way in
which students behave In the school setting (Walker, 1983).
Construct validity is the extent to which a particular test can be
shown to measure the underlying construct (Dooley, 1990). If a test proves
to be sensitive to changes that are documented empirically, it strengthens
the evidence that the test has construct validity. Numerous studies have
been conducted which demonstrate construct validity of the WPBIC. The
instrument appears sensitive to behavior changes produced by systematic
intervention and documented by behavioral observation (Walker, 1983).
Item validity is the last area of validity to be addressed. Item validity
refers to the correlation between subjects' responses to a particular item


186
Miller, H. E. (1947). Play therapy for the problem child. Public
Health Nurse Bulletin. 39. 294-296.
Mills, J. C., & Crowley, R. J. (1986). Therapeutic Metaphors for
Children and the Child Within. New York: Brunner/Mazel.
Mordock, J. B. (1991). Counseling children: Basic principles for
helping the troubled and defiant child. New York: The Continuum
Publishing Company.
Morrill, W. H., Oetting, E. R., & Hurst, J. C. (1974). Dimensions of
counselor functioning. The Personnel and Guidance Journal, 52, 354-359.
Moustakas, C. E. (1951). Situational play therpay with normal
children. Journal of Consulting Psychology. 15. 225-230.
Muro, J. (1983). Soliloquy of a rubber doll. The School Counselor,
31, 108-110.
Myrick, R. D. (1992). Peer helpers: The helping hands of school
counselors. The Peer Facilitator Quarterly. 10(1). 6-8.
Myrick, R. D. (1993). Developmental guidance and counseling: A
practical approach (2nd ed.). Minneapolis, MN: Educational Media
Corporation.
Myrick, R. D. & Bowman, R.P. (1981a). Becoming a friendly helper:
A handbook for student facilitators. Minneapolis, MN: Educational Media
Corporation.
Myrick, R. D. & Bowman, R.P. (1981b). Children helping children:
Teaching students to become friendly helpers. Minneapolis, MN.:
Educational Media Corporation.
Myrick R. D, & Dixon, R. W. (1985). Changing student attitudes and
behavior through group counseling. The School Counselor. 32. 325-330.
Myrick, R. D., & Folk, B. E. (1991). Peervention: Training peer
facilitators for prevention education. Minneapolis, MN.: Educational Media
Corporation.
Myrick, R. D., & Haldin, W. (1971). A study of play process in
counseling. Elementary School Guidance and Counseling. 5, 256-265.


112
The ten items considered to be indicative of disturbed peer relations
on the male form of the WPBIC are: comments that no one understands
him; will destroy or take apart something he has made rather than show it
or ask to have it displayed; utters nonsense syllables and/or babbles to
himself; comments that nobody likes him; repeats one idea, thought, or
activity over and over; refers to himself as dumb, stupid, or incapable;
expresses concern about being lonely, unhappy; is hypercritical of himself;
shuns or avoids heterosexual activities; and stutters, stammers, or blocks on
saying words. Statements on the female form are appropriately changed for
gender.
Reliability of the Walker Problem Behavior Identification Checklist
Two forms of measurement were used in assessing reliability of the
WPBIC, split-half correlation and test-retest reliability. To obtain a split-half
correlation coefficient, the checklist was divided into equivalent split-halves
by selecting odd and even numbered items for inclusion in two half-tests. In
order to make the two halves as equivalent as possible, items of similar
weights were distributed evenly among the two half-tests. The scores of
the two subtests were then correlated yielding a split-half reliability
coefficient of .98, indicating that 97% of the variance of checklist scores in
the sample was true score variance and 3% was error variance. A reliability
coefficient of .90 was cited as the mimimum coefficient acceptable for this


176
Bolstad, O. (1974). The relationship between teachers' assessments
of students and the students' actual behavior in the classroom.
Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Universtiy of Oregon.
Borders, L. D., & Drury, S. (1992). Comprehensive school
counseling programs: A review for policy makers and practitioners. Journal
of Counseling and Development. 70. 487-498.
Borg, W. R., & Gall, M. D. (1989). Educational research: An
introduction (5th ed.). White Plains, New York: Longman.
Boutwell, D., & Myrick, R. D. (1992). The go for it club. Elementary
School Guidance and Counseling. 27. 65-72.
Bowman, R. P. (1982). A student facilitator program: Fifth graders
helping primary grade problem behavior students. Unpublished doctoral
dissertation, University of Florida, Gainesville.
Bowman, R. P., & Myrick, R. D. (1987). Effects on elementary
school peer facilitator program on children with behavior problems. The
School Counselor. 34. 369-378.
Bracken, B. A. (1996). Handbook of self-concept: Developmental,
social, and clinical considerations. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Brake, K. J., & Gerler, E. R., Jr. (1994). Discovery: A program for
fourth and fifth graders identified as discipline problems. Elementary School
Guidance & Counseling. 28. 170-181.
Breen, M. J., & Altepeter, T. S. (1990). Disruptive behavior
disorders in children: Treatment-focused assessment. New York: The
Guilford Press.
Breen, M. M., & Barkley, R. A. (1988). Child psychopathology and
parenting stress in girls and boys having attention deficit disorder with
hyperactivity. Journal of Pediatric Psychology. 13. 265-280.
Brembeck, C.S. (1962). The discovery of teaching. Englewood
Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Briskin, A. S., & Anderson, E. M. (1973). Students as contingency
managers. Elementary School Guidance & Counseling. 2, 262-268.
Bruner, J., Jolly, A., & Sylva, K. (1976). Plav: Its role in
development and evolution. New York: Basic Books.


166
5. To review group rules and reinforce names of group members
6. To develop an understanding of disruptive behavior
7. To develop an understanding of the consequences of disruptive
behavior and consider alternative behaviors
Plav Media: Art (puppets)
Materials: group rules poster, brown lunch bags (unwaxed), a variety of
coloring pens, pencils, markers, glue, buttons, pipe cleaners, assorted
colored sheets of construction paper, felt pieces, feathers
Procedure:
1. Group members should know each other by now. Try to use each
child's name during discussion to reinforce this knowledge. Use the
rules poster as needed to remind group members when necessary about
the rules.
2. Tell the group that they are going to make puppets today. Explain
that they will use the puppets to put on a puppet show next time. The
puppet show will be about the way some children act in the classroom.
Ask the group to brainstorm ways in which kids are likely to get in
trouble in their classroom. Encourage them to share their ideas. Talk
about the behavior and consequences. Brainstorm about alternative,
appropriate behaviors. Depending on your group, create 2 or 3 groups


8
counseling is limited in the schools. Developmental guidance units using
play media within a limited time frame have not received much attention.
Effective interventions that can be quickly implemented in the elementary
school setting need to be identified and empirically tested.
Need for the Study
Disruptive behavior is a visible and pressing problem In American
schools, posing a significant risk to school safety and order (Short &
Shapiro, 1993b). Children exhibiting disruptive behaviors can inflict both
physical harm and verbal abuse on those around them, and have a negative
effect on the education of their classmates. These children divert teachers
from their teaching tasks and cause them to spend considerable time in
behavioral management (Cotton, 1990; Gemmer, Harris, & Wyckoff, 1989).
Disruptive behaviors include such actions as aggression toward others
(i.e., hitting, shoving, and kicking), loss of temper, arguing and defiance of
authority, talking out in class, and using inappropriate language. If these
behaviors are not controlled, a significant loss of teaching time may occur.
Thompson, White, and Morgan (1982) referred to the disproportionate
amount of time taken by the teacher to deal with the disruptive behavior of
students in the classroom. This Impacts not only the disruptive children, but
classmates as well. Cotton (1990) noted that approximately half of all


161
Now open your eyes. Ask the group how it felt keeping their eyes
closed.
Let's try it again. Close your eyes and try to see your teacher in your
mind.
(This time let them keep their eyes closed a little longer).
2. Good. Now, let's try something. Everyone close your eyes and get
comfortable. You can put your heads down on your desk (table) if you
wish. I'm going to say something to you, and let's see if you can get a
picture in your mind.
A large animal (pause) with four legs (pause) with a saddle on its back.
Ask the group what they saw. Ask if anyone saw another animal at
first. Allow members to respond. Ask the group members how they felt
doing this exercise. Allow responses.
3. Now try this one. Close your eyes. Try to imagine a man standing in
the corner of our room. It can be any corner. Make him a fat little man.
Now make him a skinny, tall man. Change him back to a short, fat man.
Put a red hat on him. Now give him a jacket. Make the jacket green.
Put red pants on him. Oops, his pants fell down. Better give him a belt.
Make it a big shiny black belt with a nice buckle. Put a big white beard
on his face. Make him laugh. Now, open your eyes.
Ask the group who they saw. Process as previous example.


97
Ho5: There will be no statistically significant difference across the
dependent measures among the experimental groups for the two
grade levels (Grade 4 and Grade 5) in terms of acting-out behavior,
peer relationships, self-concept, and classroom behavior.
Ho6: There will be no statistically significant difference across the
dependent measures among the experimental groups for male and
female subjects in terms of acting-out behavior, peer relationships,
self-concept, and classroom behavior.
Analyses of Data
The hypotheses in this study were tested utilizing analyses of
covariance (ANCOVA). The purpose of the ANCOVA technique is to
compare the means of two or more groups to decide whether the observed
differences are due to chance or a systematic effect of an intervention
(Shavelson, 1988) while removing systematic individual differences among
subjects from the design. Kennedy and Bush (1985) stated that ANCOVA is
a useful procedure to reduce error variance. Analysis of covariance yields
an F value. If the value of F is statistically significant, the means are likely
to have been drawn from different populations. However, analysis of
covariance does not specify which of the three or more sample means differ
significantly from one another, only that they were likely drawn from
different populations. The analyses of covariance were conducted using


9
available classroom time is taken up with activities other than instruction
and that discipline problems take up most of this time.
Several interventions have been effective in modifying the disruptive
behavior of elementary children. For example, Amatea (1989) used a family
systems approach and suggested that working with the child through a
series of family-school consultations could be helpful. Shields and Green
(1996) advocated the conceptualization of the classroom as a system
without the involvement of families. Training students in social skills has
been used many times (Dodge, 1989). Techniques such as coaching,
modeling, behavioral rehearsal, feedback, and reinforcement have yielded
positive results (Walker, Colvin, & Ramsey, 1995). The utilization of play as
a counseling technique focusing on disruptive behavior has been described
as a possibility (Bleck & Bleck, 1982), but not extensively researched.
Several reports have appeared in the counseling literature which
utilize a developmental counseling approach to working with elementary
school children. For example, Bleck & Bleck (1982) found positive effects in
altering the attitudes and increasing the self-esteem of disruptive third grade
children. Campbell (1990) described a successful group for low-performing
students stressing motivation. A developmental unit was utilized by Myrick,
Merhill, and Swanson (1986) to improve attitudes and behaviors of fourth
grade children. Developmental guidance and counseling units appear to be
effective in working with disruptive students, but more research is needed.
In addition, the integration of play counseling techniques might provide a


115
and their scores on the criterion measure (Borg & Gall, 1989). Evidence
indicates that the items correlate highly with the criterion measures.
Further, test items were not found to excessively duplicate one another
(Walker, 1983).
Student Self-Concept Scale (SSCS)
The Student Self-Concept Scale (SSCS) is a norm referenced, self-
report measure of self-concept in children and adolescents. It consists of
seventy-two items which can be administered in a group or individual
setting. There are two levels of the SSCS: Level I is used for students in
grades three through six; Level II is appropriate for students in grades seven
through twelve. While developed for use by students in grades three
through twelve, the test may be read to students whose reading level is
below third grade (Gresham, Elliott, & Evans-Fernandez, 1993).
The SSCS was standardized in 1988 using a national sample of three
thousand, five hundred eighty-six elementary and secondary school children
from nineteen states. A systematic, stratified random sampling procedure
was used to obtain a nationally representative sample of children in grades
three through ten for gender, race/ethnicity, region, and community size
(Gresham, Elliott, & Evans-Fernandez, 1993).
Gresham, Elliott, and Evans-Fernandez (1993) state the SSCS is
effective for the following purposes: as a general screening device for an
entire school population to determine which children may need counseling or


168
Materials: group rules poster, a plastic tablecloth or blanket to cover a
table (for a stage), puppets made in last session
Procedure:
1. Group members should know each other by now. Try to use each
child's name during discussion to reinforce this knowledge. Use the
rules poster as needed to remind group members when necessary about
the rules.
2. Allow groups a few minutes to discuss their skits and practice if they
feel they need to. Then, allow each group to produce their puppet show
showing poor behavior. Applaud!!!!!
3. After each group finishes, ask the "audience" to name the disruptive
behavior(s) demonstrated in the puppet show. Discuss the
consequences of the poor behavior. Then, allow the group to produce
their puppet show demonstrating good behavior. Applaud!!!!!!
4. Ask the audience what the puppet(s) did that was more appropriate
this time. What else could the puppet have done that would have shown
good behavior? Allow discussion as time permits.
5. After all the groups have completed their shows, thank the
"puppeteers" for their participation. Allow the group to keep their
puppets if they wish. Dismiss the group.


163
Soon it will be time to go. Get your stuff and go to the spot where you
left your magic carpet. Get on your magic carpet. Your teacher is
calling something to you. Answer your teacher if you need to. When
you're ready, have your magic carpet take off and fly outside to the
field. (Wait a few seconds longer here). We're going to land soon, so if
you want to do anything special with your magic carpet, take a few
seconds and do it now. (Allow a few seconds more). Land your magic
carpet next to me. When your magic carpet has landed, open your eyes.
5. Process the experience with the group by covering the following
topics:
-Ask how they felt about the experience. Was this a pleasant or
unpleasant experience? What did you like or dislike about the magic
carpet ride?
-Where did you go to have fun and what did you do?
-When group members have had time to discuss their experience ask
about their classroom. When you first got to your classroom, your
teacher said something nice to you. What was said? How did it
make you feel?
What was your teacher angry about? What happened? How did you
feel while this was happening? Allow group members to share their
experiences. Do you ever get in trouble with your teacher? What do
you do that gets you into trouble with your teacher? How does it feel
to get in trouble? Do you know when you do something wrong? Can


79
which then enables learning to take place more efficiently in the classroom.
Elementary counselors use play because it takes advantage of children's
interest, creativity, and spontaneity and provides them with a
developmentally appropriate medium for self-expression (Campbell, 1993b).
Plav media
Many forms of play and play media have been used with children.
The play media used in this study involved art, clay, creative dramatics,
games, guided imagery, and puppets.
Nickerson (1983) described art as "instant graphic communication
directed toward someone or the self as an expression of emotion" (p. 236).
The use of art as a play media intervention provides a nonthreatening
approach by which the child can express concerns that are sometimes
difficult to verbalize (Gladding, 1992). Art encourages creativity and self-
expression. Further, the completed art production can be used as a vehicle
for the exploration of feelings, ideas, and concerns (Nickerson, 1983).
Clay is a medium that "almost asks the child to do things with it"
(Gardner, 1994, p. 20). Since it takes little skill to work with clay, it is
appealing to a child. Like art, clay provides a nonthreatening way by which
the child can expresses feelings and concerns. Clay provides a safe outlet
for aggressive feelings since the clay often requires the child to pound,
poke, squeeze, or cut to achieve the intended form (Webb, 1991). Further,
clay can be used as a concrete expression of an idea. For example, a child


181
Gil, E. (1994). Plav in family therapy. New York: The Guilford
Press.
Gilmore, J. B. (1971). Play: A special behavior. In R. E. Herron &
B. Sutton-Smith (Eds.), Child's plav (pp. 345-355). New York: Wiley.
Ginott, H. G. (1961). Group psychotherapy with children. New
York: McGraw-Hill.
Ginott, H. G. (1972). Teacher and child. New York: Macmillan
Company.
Gladding, S. T. (1993). The therapeutic use of play in counseling:
An overview. Journal of Humanistic Education and Development. 31, 106-
115.
Gladding, S. T. (1992). Counseling as an art: The creative arts in
counseling. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.
Goldstein, A. P., & Glick, B. (1987). Aggression replacement
training: A comprehensive intervention for aggressive youth. Champaign,
IL: Research Press.
Gottfredson, D. (1989) Reducing disorderly behavior in middle
schools. Report No. 37. Baltimore, MD: Center for Research on
Elementary and Middle Schools.
Green, S. B., Salkind, N. J., & Akey, T. M. (1997). Using SPSS for
Windows: Analyzing and understanding data. Upper Saddle River, NJ:
Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Greenwood, C., Carta, J., & Hall, R. (1988). The use of peer
tutoring strategies in classroom management and educational instruction.
School Psychology Review. 2, 258-275.
Greenwood, C. R., Walker. H. M Todd, N., & Hops, H. (1978).
SAMPLE social assessment manual for preschool level (Technical report No.
30). Eugene, Oregon: CORBEH Center on Human Development, University
of Oregon.
Gresham, F. M., & Elliott, S. N. (1990). Social skills rating system.
Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.


56
the stresses and traumas and gradually achieve mastery over the feelings
associated with the event. The process of play allows the child to be in
control of the situation and move from a passive role of having been 'done
to' into an active role of being the 'doer' (Landreth, 1993). Since the
situation is being reenacted in play, there is less anxiety because it is just
"pretend." The therapist reflects the verbal and nonverbal feelings
expressed by the child during play. In the process of therapy, situations can
be set up that allow the child to reexperience an event or a relationship in a
different way, with a more positive outcome than that of the original event.
The child can use play to gain mastery over events which may be interfering
with development (Schaefer, 1993).
Structured play therapy
Gove Hambldge (1955) extended the work done by Levy with an
approach known as Structured Play Therapy. Hambidge was more direct in
his approach than Levy. After the establishment of a therapeutic
relationship, Hambidge would directly recreate the anxiety producing
situation, have the child play out the situation, and then allow the child to
play freely to recover from the difficult activity.
Relationship plav therapy
A significant development in the history of play therapy was the work
of Jesse Taft (1933) and Frederick Allen (1934) which is referred to as


47
Developmental play counseling encourages children to take
responsibility for themselves and to make choices in the counseling
situation. In doing so, children increase feelings of competence and self-
confidence which are necessary for positive growth (Hoffman, 1991).
Plav
Plav Defined
Play has been called a universal behavior in children. It is a "serious
purposeful business through which (children) develop mentally, physically,
and socially...through which confusion, anxieties, and conflicts are often
worked through" (Oaklander, 1978, p.160). Schaefer (1993) pointed out
the importance of play in the lives of children. Play is to children what
verbalization is to adults-the most natural medium for self-expression. He
reported that by the time a child has reached the age of six, more than
fifteen thousand hours have been devoted to play. Ginott (1961) referred to
play as the language of children, and toys as the words. Similarly,
Oaklander (1978) stated that play serves as a symbolic language for
children.
Play has been defined in many ways. Bergen (1988) cites definitions
for play offered by educators and philosophers such as: the natural
unfolding of childhood; the motor habits of the past persisting in the
present; and instinctive practice of activities which will later be essential to


139
Scale were correlated. The correlation between the Bleck Student pre-test
and the Bleck Teacher pre-test was significant, r(61) = .37, p = .003 at the
.01 level. A correlation coefficient of .37 indicates a moderate degree of
correlation between the two scales. Further, the correlation between the
Bleck Teacher pre-test and the Bleck Teacher post-test was also significant,
r(61) = .26, p = .038 at the .05 level. A correlation coefficient of .26
indicates a moderate degree of correlation between the two scales.
Table 4.7
Student & Teacher Classroom Behavior Scales Pre-test and Post-test
By Experimental Condition, Grade, and Gender
Pre-Test
Post-Test
Student
Teacher
Student
Teacher
N
Mean
SD
Mean
SD
Mean
SD
Mean
SD
Counselor-Led (E1)
23
20.70
5.20
25.91
8.46
20.48
5.53
23.96
8.64
Peer Facilitator-Led (E2)
23
20.22
5.27
26.09
7.14
19.26
6.70
23.52
7.05
Control
17
18.29
5.81
23.77
9.96
18.18
6.89
24.24
11.97
Grade 4
40
19.45
5.49
24.33
8.77
19.03
6.99
23.80
9.41
Grade 5
23
20.61
5.29
27.26
7.45
20.09
5.02
24.00
8.46
Male
36
20.92
5.65
26.92
8.71
18.94
6.45
24.58
9.69
Female
27
18.48
4.80
23.37
7.58
20.04
6.20
22.93
8.10
An analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was conducted for the Student
scale using the Student pre-test as the covariate. The dependent variable,
classroom behavior was examined in terms of experimental condition, grade,
and gender. The results of this analysis are reported in Table 4.8.
An analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was conducted for the Teacher
scale using the Teacher pre-test as the covarlate. The dependent variable,
classroom behavior was examined in terms of experimental condition, grade,
and gender. The results of this analysis are reported in Table 4.9.


164
you stop yourself from doing it? Discuss the things that made the
teacher angry and alternative behaviors so that the teacher would not
have been angry. Continue as time allows.
-What did your teacher say when you were leaving? How did it make
you feel? How did you feel when you finally landed?
6. Before leaving, ask the group, "If you could get back on your magic
carpet, where would you like to go?" Thank the group for their
participation before dismissing them.
Session 6-Plav A Game
Objectives:
1. To continue to develop group interaction and self-disclosure
2. To continue to develop group trust and cohesiveness
3. To continue to develop awareness of self and others
4. To continue to develop awareness and understanding of feelings in
self and others
5. To review group rules and reinforce names of group members
6. To develop an understanding of disruptive behavior
7. To develop an understanding of the consequences of disruptive
behavior and consider alternative behaviors
Plav Media: Games


3
Counseling may focus on topics such as teacher and peer relationships, self-
concept and self-control (Mordock, 1991; Ohlsen, 1983).
Many methods have been used to help disruptive children adapt to
their school settings. Behavioral and cognitive interventions have provided
beneficial results when used on an individual and group basis. Parent
training has also been effective. In the school setting, counselors are
looking for short-term interventions that are effective in helping the child
learn more effectively with a minimal loss of classroom instructional time.
Therefore, there is a need for innovative short-term ways to work with
disruptive students.
One promising strategy is the use of play media, which helps a
counselor enter the child's world and develop an effective working
relationship. Given that Axline (1947, 1967) and more recently, Landreth
(1991) have referred to play as the natural language of children, it is
surprising that this treatment modality has not received more attention with
young children. It could be a welcome addition to the "tool box" of the
elementary school counselor.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a
developmental guidance unit featuring play media upon disruptive
elementary school students. More specifically, this study focused on the


40
for their own choices and actions and to understand their own feelings. The
ability to know one's strengths and weaknesses, to have a sense of
personal worth and self-confidence, and to feel capable of meeting the tasks
of life realistically and successfully are among the cornerstones of
developmental counseling.
The role of the self-concept is important in the developmental model.
The self-concept is continually being shaped through experience and
education. DeMaria and Cowden (1992) referred to the self-concept as a
learned perceptual system involving a feedback loop that influences
behavior and is in turn changed by behavior. As an individual moves
through the developmental stages of life, the self-concept both influences
and is influenced by learning and interpersonal relationships (Myrick, 1993).
Self-concept helps shape the attitudes and personal styles of the individual
which in turn become an important part of the learning process. Significant
attitudes about self, others, school, and society are formed while the child is
growing. The interactions the child has will affect how learning takes place,
and also, how the person will function as a mature adult. Gerler and Myrick
(1991) suggested that children cannot realize their full potential unless they
have healthy self-concepts, high self-esteem, and effective interpersonal
skills. Further, Landreth (1993) cited poor self-esteem as a basic cause of
many academic and social problems in elementary school-age children.
The developmental approach attempts to identify certain skills and
experiences that are necessary for children to be successful in school. It


22
reported in Chapter IV. Chapter V will contain a summary of the results of
the study and an analysis of these results including limitations and
suggestions for future Investigation.


APPENDIX B
CORRELATION TABLE
DPRS
student
DPRS
teacher
DPRS
student
DPRS
teacher
Pearson
Correlation
DPRS
student
Pre-test
1.00
.370**
Pearson
Correlation
DPRS
student
Post-test
1.000
.262**
DPRS
teacher
Pre-test
.370**
1.000
DPRS
teacher
Post-test
.262**
1.000
2-Tailed
Significance
DPRS
student
Pre-Test
.003
2-Tailed
Significance
DPRS
student
Post-test
.038
DPRS
teacher
Pre-test
.003
DPRS
teacher
Post-test
.038
N
DPRS
student
Pre-Test
63
63
N
DPRS
student
Post-test
63
63
DPRS
teacher
Pre-test
63
63
DPRS
teacher
Post-test
63
63
*Correlation is significant at the .05 level (2-tailed)
172


110
Elliott, & Evans-Fernandez, 1993). A final measure, students classroom
behaviors, were examined using the Disruptive Behavior Rating Scale (Bleck
& Bleck, 1976).
Walker Problem Behavior Indentification Checklist (WPBIC)
The Walker Problem Behavior Identification Checklist (WPBIC) is
useful in identifying children for whom acting-out behavior and disturbed
peer relationships are interfering in school progress. It is considered to be
an appropriate instrument for screening and targeting problem behaviors
(Mace, 1989). The Walker can be completed by adults familiar with an
individual child for at least a two month period.
The WPBIC (Walker, 1983) is designed for use with children in
preschool through grade six. It consists of ratings of fifty items for which
teachers are asked to decide whether an individual child has exhibited a
specific behavior during the last two months and respond "yes or "no".
Each item carries a weighted score which is indicative of the relative
influence of that behavior on school adjustment. The weighted scores yield
a T-score for each of the five areas assessed: acting-out behavior,
withdrawal, distractibility, disturbed peer relations, and immaturity. A T-
score of sixty or more on any individual scale suggests that further testing
or referral may be warranted for that behavior. Separate forms are used for
boys and girls.


99
puppets. The unit was designed to decrease the disruptive behavior of
fourth and fifth grade students. The general goals of the unit are:
1) to help the child decrease the frequency of disruptive behavior
2) to help the child clarify and accept feelings
3) to foster cooperation and interdependence among group members
by encouraging consideration of the needs and feelings of others
4) to help the child improve peer and teacher relationships
5) to improve the self-concept of the child.
Each session of the unit consisted of objectives intended to facilitate one or
more of the goals.
The use of art as a play media intervention provides a nonthreatening
approach by which children can express concerns that are sometimes
difficult to verbalize (Gladding, 1992). Art activities can be used to
encourage creativity, and self-expression. Further, the completed art
production can be used as a vehicle for the exploration of feelings, ideas,
and concerns (Nickerson, 1983). In this study, art was used in the second
session to develop group interaction, encourage self-disclosure, increase
group trust, and develop an understanding of feelings in self and others.
Crayons and markers were used as each group made its own banner
consisting of elements contributed by each child. For this activity, group
members were asked to draw a picture that showed something about
themselves, or something important that happened in their lives that they


179
Dinkmeyer, D. C., & Dinkmeyer, D., Jr. (1982). Developing
understanding of self and others (PUSO). Kits 1 and 2. (revised eds). Circle
Pines, MN: American Guidance Service. (Original works published in 1970
and 1973)
Dobson, J. C. (1977). Dare to discipline. Wheaton, II: Tyndale
House.
Dodge, K. A. (1989). Problems in social relationships. In E. J. Mash
& R. A. Barkley (Eds.), Treatment of Childhood Disorders (pp. 222-244).
New York: The Guildford Press.
Dooley, D. (1990). Social Research Methods. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:
Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Dorfman, E. (1958). Personality outcomes of client-centered child
therapy. Psychological Monographs. 72(3).
Dreikurs, R. (1968). Psychology in the Classroom (2nd Ed.). New
York: Harper and Row, Publishers.
Dreikurs, R., & Soltz, V. (1964) Children: The challenge. New
York: E. P. Dutton.
DuPaul, G. J., & Stoner, G. (1994). ADHD in the schools:
Assessment and intervention strategies. New York: The Guilford Press.
Elam, S., Rose, L, & Gallup, A. (1994). The 26th annual Phi Delta
Kappa/Gallup poll of the public's attitude toward the public schools. Phi
Delta Kappan. 76(1), 41-56.
Erickson, E. (1950). Childhood and society. New York: W. W.
Norton and Company, Inc.
Erickson, E. (1964). The meaning of play. In M. Haworth (Ed.),
Child Psychotherapy (on. 3-11). New York: Basic Books.
Erickson, E. H. (1940). Studies in the interpretation of play. Genetic
Psychology Monographs. 22. 559-671.
Fantuzzo, J., Polite, K., & Grayson, N. (1990). An evaluation of
reciprocal peer tutoring across elementary school settings. Journal of
School Psychology. 28. 309-323.


88
Small group leaders have historically been used to make learning
experiences for large groups more personal and involving. In a
developmental guidance program, large group sessions are common. Often
class sizes are over thirty students. The use of peer facilitators as small
group leaders allows everyone the opportunity to participate. Myrick,
Highland, and Sabella (1995) support the use of a trained peer facilitator as
a small group leader. When a peer facilitator is leading a small group,
members are more likely to stay on task, take turns sharing, and accomplish
group goals.
Peer facilitation has been shown to have desirable effects in various
programs and projects. Mathur and Rutherford (1991b) reviewed the
literature to evaluate the success of peer facilitated interventions to improve
the social skills of children and adolescents exhibiting behavior disorders.
Twenty-one articles were reviewed. The investigators concluded that peer
mediated approaches were successful in improving behavior.
Bowman (1982) investigated the effects of third grade peer
facilitators who were paired with classmates considered to be disruptive.
After a combination of individual and small group meetings, significant
positive changes in classroom behaviors and attitudes about school were
noted for the paired, disruptive students as compared to student behaviors
and attitudes in a control group.
Canning (1985) utilized fifth grade peer facilitators as special friends
to younger students in a play situation. The objectives of this program were


CHAPTER II
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
This study focused on the use of play counseling strategies with
elementary school children who were identified as having disruptive
classroom behaviors. It involved experimental groups and examined the
effects of a developmental guidance unit featuring play media that was
counselor-led and peer facilitator-led. Structured play formed a significant
part of the activities in the unit.
A review of the professional literature is presented in this chapter. A
description of disruptive children, the impact and consequences of
disruptive behavior upon learning and development, possible causes of the
behavior, and previous attempts to deal with these children will receive
attention. The history and theories of play counseling, the therapeutic uses
of play in counseling, and a review of the previous use of play with
elementary children, and in particular, disruptive children will be examined.
Further, the use of a developmental model of guidance including peer
facilitator programs will be explored.
23


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Doctoral degrees do not just happen! I could not have completed this
dissertation and subsequent degree without the assistance and support of
many special people. First, I would like to thank my friends who stood by
me and never lost confidence in my abilities. Second, my colleagues, who
were too polite to say no! Third, the peer facilitators, administrators, and
teachers who so willingly took part in the study have my sincere
appreciation. My family also deserves special recognition for their long
distance support of my work. Further, I would like to thank my committee
members at the University of Florida who were giving of their time in helping
me complete the process. In particular, I would like to thank my committee
chair, Bob Myrick, who has been a wonderful mentor and role model. His
patience, support, and expertise helped make this a true learning experience.
Finally, I would like to formally acknowledge some things I have
learned while pursuing this degree that are very important to me: you can't
live your life from under a rock, you really do get just one chance at life, and
windows are made to be opened. To those special people who have helped
me learn these things, you have my appreciation and love.


J
LD
1780
199$
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
3 1262 08555 0118


187
Myrick, R. D., Highland, W. H., & Sabella, R. A. (1995). Peer
helpers and perceived effectiveness. Elementary School Guidance &
Counseling. 29. 278-288.
Myrick, R. D., Merhill, H., & Swanson, L. (1986). Changing student
attitudes through classroom guidance. The School Counselor. 33. 244-252.
Myrick, R. D., & Myrick, L. S. (1993). Guided imagery: From
mystical to practical. Elementary School Guidance & Counseling, 28, 62-
70.
Myrick, R.D., & Sorenson, D. L. (1988). Peer helping: A practical
guide. Minneapolis, MN: Educational Media Corporation.
Myrick, R., D., & Wittmer, J. (1980). Facilitative teaching: Theory
and practice. Minneapolis, MN: Educational Media Corporation.
Nave, B. (1990). Self-esteem: The key to student success. A series
of solutions and strategies. Number 3. Clemson, SC: National Dropout
Prevention Center. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 341 919)
Nelson, J. R., Dykeman, C., Powell, S., & Petty, D. (1996). The
effects of a group counseling intervention on students with behavioral
adjustment problems. Elementary School Guidance & Counseling. 31. 21-
33.
Ninness, H. A. C., Glenn, S. S., & Ellis, J. (1993). Assessment and
treatment of emotional or behavioral disorders. Westport, CT: Praeger
Publishers.
Neukeug, E. S., Barr, C. G., Hoffman, L. R., & Kaplan, L. S. (1993).
Developmental counseling and guidance: A model for use In your school.
The School Counselor. 40. 356-362.
Nickerson, E. T. (1983) Art as a play therapeutic medium. In C. E.
Schaefer & K. J. O'Connor (Eds.), Handbook of Plav Therapy (pp. 234-250).
New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Norusis, M. J., & SPSS Inc. (1993). SPSS for windows: Base
system user's guide, release 6.0. Chicago, IL, SPSS Inc.
Nystul, M. (1980). Nystulian play therapy: Applications of Adlerian
psychology. Elementary School Guidance and Counseling. 15. 22-29.


36
contracts were used with problematic school-related behavior. Purkey and
Juhnke (1994) suggested that parents, organized into a "parent patrol" may
be effective in reducing disruptive behavior in school. Family systems
theory has been used with children exhibiting disruptive behavior in the
schools (Amatea, 1989; Aponte & Fabrick, 1976; Fine & Carlson, 1992).
Family-school consultations apparently achieve changes in behavior.
Shields and Green (1996) proposed family consultation with the
classroom teacher using a systems approach to deal with classroom
behavior problems. This approach recognizes that classroom behavior is the
result of the classroom system influenced by the teacher-student interaction
and the influences of other students in the same classroom.
The professional literature contains many reports of successful
behavior modification programs using contracts and positive reinforcement
with children (Smith, 1994). For example, Shook, LaBrie, and Vallies (1990)
reported decreases in disruptive classroom behaviors following the
implementation of a token reward system in a first grade classroom.
The use of a developmental guidance approach has been advocated in
classrooms. The role of discipline should be to teach children how to get
along with others, express strong feelings in acceptable ways, and solve
problems. Young children are in the early stages of gaining social
competence, and lack cognitive and emotional resources to choose more
mature responses. Using unconditional positive regard and encouragement
can help children learn appropriate classroom behavior. This approach to


60
The child-centered therapist does not use techniques as such, but
instead relies on eight basic principles as defined by Axline (1947) that
serve as a guideline for therapeutic contact with the child. These principles
are:
1. the development of a warm, friendly relationship with the child
2. the acceptance of the child exactly as he is
3. the establishment of a feeling of permissiveness in the relationship
so that the child feels free to express his feelings completely
4. the feelings of the child are recognized and reflected back in a
way as to help the child gain insight into his or her behavior
5. the respect for the childs ability to solve his or her own problems
6. the child takes the lead in actions or conversation and the
therapist follows
7. the recognition that therapy is a gradual process that cannot be
hurried
8. the establishment of only those limits that are necessary to anchor
the therapy to the world of reality and to make the child aware of his
responsibility in the relationship.
In the child-centered approach, it is the child in the present moment
and not the problem that serves as the point of focus. Landreth (1993)
pointed out that focusing on the child's problem may lead the play therapist
to lose sight of the child. The therapist tries to experience the child's world
of the moment. The counselor communicates this willingness to experience


127
and control groups were examined on the following variables: acting-out
behavior, peer relationships, self-concept, and classroom behavior. Further,
gender differences and group leadership were examined in terms of these
variables.
Acting-Out Behavior
Acting-out behavior was assessed by Scale 1 of the Walker Problem
Behavior Identification Checklist. Teachers of identified students were asked
to circle a number to the right of a statement if the behavior had been
observed in the child's response pattern during the last two-month period.
There were fourteen behaviors designated as acting-out such as, "becomes
hysterical, upset, or angry when things do not go his way" and "does not
obey until threatened with punishment."
The minimum score on Scale 1 is 0 and the maximum possible score is
26 for both male and female subjects. A lower score is indicative of more
appropriate behavior. On pre-test, the scores were distributed from a
minimum of 0.00 to a maximum of 26.00, with a mean score of 5.97 (SD =
6.78). On post-test, the scores were distributed from a minimum of 0.00 to
a maximum of 26.00, with a mean of 5.92 (SD = 7.19).
Three separate hypotheses (Hypothesis 1, Hypothesis 5, and
Hypothesis 6) were examined within the dependent variable acting-out
behavior:


66
A third therapeutic factor is the power, control, and mastery of the
environment that is facilitated through play. Play is a self-motivated activity
that satisfies children's innate need to explore and master their
environments. Apart from play there are few areas in children's lives that
produce a sense of mastery (Schaefer, 1993). A major function of play Is to
provide children opportunities to learn to cope with difficult situations
(Landreth, 1993). Play offers an enjoyable structure in which children are
able to learn about the world and gain skills needed to live in society. Since
children engaged In an enjoyable activity tend to persist at it longer, play Is
likely to lead to success.
Creative thinking during play leads to improved problem solving skills
by allowing the child to experiment with different options without the fear of
making a mistake. Sylva, Bruner, and Genova (1976, as cited in Schaefer,
1993) point to numerous studies indicating that prior play experience in
areas of concern actually improved the child's problem solving related to
those areas. The process of play appears to help a child find alternatives
and more effective solutions to problems in the areas of social relationships
and emotional health. Play provides the child with an opportunity to
develop and practice new behaviors that may be useful in everyday life
(Campbell, 1993b).
The therapeutic process of catharsis refers to the reduced physical
and emotional tension achieved through acting aggressively on inanimate
objects such as punching bags, pillows, and bobo dolls. The play


15
Virginia Axline was a student of Carl Rogers at the University of
Chicago. She incorporated Rogers' therapeutic philosophy into the area of
play therapy. Axline (1947) included some limitations and direction to her
work with children, but only for purposes of physical and emotional safety.
Children were prevented from harming themselves, the therapist, or
destroying property. These limitations established boundaries which
provided a feeling of security and stability necessary for a therapeutic
rlationship (Gumaer, 1984). Axline's approach, which stressed play as the
natural vehicle of expression for the child, is arguably the purest form of
play therapy counselors have at their disposal. Her non-directive approach
and commitment to following the lead of the child has been accepted as an
effective, if time consuming intervention.
Play has been an effective means of establishing a therapeutic
relationship; it reduces anxiety, encourages expression of feelings, serves as
a diagnostic tool, and provides opportunities for socialization (Landreth,
1991). Play allows children to practice new roles, express emotion, try to
make sense of experiences, and deal with reality and fantasy (Knell, 1993).
It is clearly an activity in which children willingly engage and feel
comfortable. It is a natural means of communication which, if utilized in
therapeutic situations, can help children develop the necessary self-
confidence to learn and try out new behaviors (Gumaer, 1984).
One of the most natural and direct ways for a child to express
feelings is through play (Gladding, 1993). Ginott (1961) referred to play as


174
Aponte, E., & Fabrick, F. (1976). Family systems counseling: A
positive alternative to traditional counseling. Elementary School Guidance
and Counseling. 15. 223-236.
ASCA. (1990). Role statement: The school counselor. Alexandria,
VA: ACA Press.
Asher, S. R. (1983). Social competence and peer status: Recent
advances and future directions. Child Development. 54. 1427-1434.
Asher, S. R. (1985). An evolving paradigm in social skill training
research with children. In B. H. Schneider, K.H. Rubin, & J. E. Ledingham
(Eds.), Peer relations: Issues in assessment and intervention (dp. 157-171).
New York: Springer-Verlag.
Asher, S. R. & Coie, J. D. (1990). Peer rejection in childhood. New
York: Cambridge University Press.
Asher, S. R., Parkhurst, J. T., Hymel, S., & Williams, G. A. (1990).
Peer rejection and loneliness in childhood. In S. R. Asher and J. D. Coie
(Eds.), Peer rejection in childhood (pp.253-273). New York: Cambridge
University Press.
Axline, V. M. (1947). Plav therapy. New York: Ballantine Books,
Inc.
Axline, V. M. (1948). Play therapy: Race and conflict in young
children. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. 43. 300-310.
Axline, V. M. (1950). Entering the child's world via play
experiences. Progressive Education. 27. 68-75.
Axline, V. M. (1967). Dibs in search of self. New York: Ballantine
Books.
Baker, K. (1985). Research evidence of a school discipline problem.
Phi Delta Kappan. 66. 482-487.
Baker, S. (1996). Take care not to define developmental guidance
too narrowly. The School Counselor. 43. 243-244.
Barkley, R. A. (1990). Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: A
handbook for diagnosis and treatment. New York: Guilford Press.


38
The Discovery Program, a cognitive-developmental intervention for
fourth and fifth grade boys with a history of inappropriate classroom
behaviors, used peer tutoring and role playing to improve behavior. It offers
a promising new approach to dealing effectively with students who exhibit
discipline and behavior problems (Brake & Gerler, Jr., 1994). Another
cognitive approach was advocated by Goldstein and Glick (1987), who
suggested the use of a Hassle Log. It was modified by Studer (1996) as an
Annoyance Journal to deal with anger that can lead to aggression.
A twelve-session plan, suggested by Sloves and Peterlin (1994), was
designed as an out-of-school intervention. This highly structured approach
is intended to help children develop age-appropriate psychological (internal)
and behavioral-social (interpersonal) competencies (Sloves & Peterlin, 1994).
Amatea and Sherrard (1991) described a brief therapy approach to
working with children exhibiting problematic behaviors in the school setting.
Inappropriate behavior is viewed as resulting from the mishandling of
predictable life events, and "how people interact is the most central factor
in shaping and maintaining problem behavior" (p. 341). In this approach to
changing behavior, the staff changes its behavior toward the student, and
the student responds by a change in behavior.
Bleck and Bleck (1982) reported the use of a developmentally based
counseling unit using play with disruptive third grade children. Self-concept,
improved attitudes toward school, and diminished disruptive behavior were
reported. Further, there may be a correlation between a positive self-


106
Appendix A. The activities and related concepts were outlined for each
guidance session and directions for presenting the unit were discussed.
Before beginning the study, the group leaders experienced some of the
activities and were given the opportunity to work with the play media
involved. Following the initiation of the study, the group leaders met on a
weekly basis with the principal investigator to discuss and review the
progress of the study. Further, the investigator was available for
consultation to the group leaders as necessary. The planned meetings and
consultation sessions were found to be helpful in keeping the study on
schedule and also to assure consistency in leadership across groups.
A third experimental condition, a control group, was employed in the
study. The students serving as "controls" received no planned intervention
as part of the study.
Dependent Variables
This study focused on the effect of play counseling strategies with
fourth and fifth grade children who were identified as having disruptive
classroom behaviors. The impact of the unit was examined in terms of four
dependent variables: 1) acting-out behavior, as measured by Scale 1 of the
Walker Problem Behavior Identification Checklist (WPBIC); 2) peer
relationships, as measured by Scale 4 of the WPBIC; 3) self-concept, as
measured by the Student Self-Concept Scale (SSCS); and 4) student


CHAPTER III
METHODS AND PROCEDURES
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a
developmental guidance unit featuring play media on disruptive elementary
school students. More specifically, this study focused on the use of play
counseling strategies with fourth and fifth grade groups of children who
were identified as exhibiting disruptive classroom behaviors. The impact of
the unit on the children participating was examined in terms of students'
acting-out behavior, peer-relationships, self-concepts, and classroom
behaviors. The investigation involved three experimental groups: 1) a
counselor-led play group; 2) a peer facilitator-led play group; and 3) a
control group which received no planned intervention.
The population and sample, research design, hypotheses, the
developmental unit, leadership selection and training, dependent variables,
and instrumentation are discussed in this chapter.
91


113
type of analysis, indicating that the WPBIC is reliable in this area (Walker,
1983).
Test-retest reliability has been validated in a number of studies
(Bolstad, 1974; Greenwood, Walker, Todd, & Hops, 1978; Walker & Bull,
1970). Although individual scale score reliability coefficients were not cited,
the overall results yielded coefficients of approximately .80, indicating that
reliability is satisfactory when judged against the standards used to assess
behavior checklists and instruments of this type (Walker, 1983).
Validity of the Walker Problem Behavior Identification Checklist
Since the development of the WPBIC, four types of validity have been
addressed which are of interest to this study: content, criterion, construct,
and item validity. Data used in these analyses were derived from the
normative samples for preschool through intermediate students, independent
studies conducted by Walker and associates, and other data obtained by
professionals conducting research and evaluation studies.
Content validity is the degree to which the test items represent the
content that the test is designed to measure (Borg & Gall, 1989). The
WPBIC ensured content validity by including items on the checklist that
measured maladaptive student behavior in the classroom, were incompatible
with acceptable school achievement and adjustment, were of concern to
classroom teachers, and were behavior specific and did not require the rater
to make inferential judgements about internal emotional states of the


30
children tend to make mistakes. Adults may assume that children know
how to behave and that misbehavior is the result of a willful decision to
behave inappropriately. However, the decision to misbehave is made
because children have not developed the cognitive and emotional resources
necessary for more appropriate behavior. This approach requires that the
adult regard behavior traditionally thought of as misbehavior as mistaken
behavior. Therefore, mistaken behavior may be seen as the result of
attempts by inexperienced young children to interact with a complicated and
increasingly impersonal world (Gartrell, 1994).
Gartrell (1994) observed that there are three levels of mistaken
behavior: experimentation, socially influenced behavior, and behavior
motivated by strong needs. At level one, mistakes occur when the child is
curious and acts to see what will happen. Or, mistaken behavior may occur
when the child's actions in a situation do not get the expected results. A
child may pout when things don't go as planned. Or, a child may wait until
an adult's back is turned before demonstrating unhappiness with a situation.
The second level of mistaken behavior is that behavior which is socially
influenced. This happens when someone important to the child reinforces
an action, either intentionally or unintentionally. Level two mistaken
behavior may be observed in the actions of a child who hears an older
sibling using an expletive. Another example of this level of mistaken
behavior may be observed in the child who is influenced by classmates to
call another child a name. The third level of mistaken behavior occurs when


85
school aged children. Counselors as well as other educators searched for
ways to reach students before they became drug abusers. Since surveys
during that time indicated that students with problems turned to their peers,
then counselors and coaches (Campbell, 1993a; Myrick & Folk, 1991), the
idea of peer helping began to flourish, especially at the high school level.
As the use of peer helping programs expanded, peer facilitators were trained
to serve in many roles such as leading preventive guidance groups with
elementary students, helping cancer projects in hospitals, and working with
incarcerated youth (Sanborn & Myrick, 1983).
Peer helping spread to the elementary grades in the 1970s.
Counselors trained older students to work with younger children in a variety
of projects such as orientation programs for new students, special friends,
small and large group leaders, and teacher and counselor assistants. Since
the early 1970s, hundreds of articles have been written in professional
journals as well as popular magazines describing successful peer facilitator
programs and substantiating their effectiveness with a wide variety of
problems including drop-out prevention, increasing appropriate school
behavior, and improving positive attitudes toward school (Campbell, 1993a;
Tindall, 1989).
In 1991, Myrick and Folk introduced the term "peervention" which
emphasized the idea that there were interventions that peer facilitators
might initiate that could be considered prevention projects. Such areas as
preventing interpersonal and social problems and helping others to get the


135
As illustrated in Table 4.5, the mean for the Counselor-led groups was
151.52 on pre-test and 154.87 on post-test. On pre-test, the Peer
Facilitator-led groups scored 152.13, the post-test mean was 155.26. The
Control group mean was 160.00 on pre-test and 163.29 on post-test.
Students In Grade 4 scored 152.03 on pre-test, and 155.50 on post-test.
Grade 5 students scored 157.52 on pre-test and 160.39 on post-test. In
terms of gender, the mean for males was 153.44 on pre-test, and 157.42 on
post-test. For female subjects, a mean of 154.82 was achieved on pre-test,
while the mean on post-test was 157.11.
Table 4.5
Self-Concept Pre-test and Post-test
By Experimental Condition, Grade, and Gender
Pre-Test
Post-Test
N
Mean
SD
Mean
SD
Counselor-Led (E1)
23
151.52
27.85
154.87
27.74
Peer Facilitator-Led (E2)
23
152.13
40.10
155.26
34.24
Control (E3)
17
160.00
37.42
163.29
48.22
Grade 4
40
152.03
39.19
155.50
40.18
Grade 5
23
157.52
26.40
160.39
28.17
Male
36
153.44
36.34
157.42
36.91
Female
27
154.82
33.64
157.11
35.66
An analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was conducted using the pre
test as the covarlate. The dependent variable, self-concept, was examined
in terms of experimental condition, grade, and gender. The results of this
analysis are reported In Table 4.6.
In regard to experimental condition, there was not sufficient evidence
to reject the null hypothesis (F=.612, p = .546). There was Insufficient
evidence reject the null hypothesis in terms of grade level difference on the


159
5. This may be difficult for them to do. If anyone talks, remind them
that the rule is no talking. Allow time for the group to work the
puzzle out.
6. After the puzzle has been put together, ask the group how they
thought they did. Draw attention to the fact that it was harder when
they couldn't talk. If anyone did talk, ask the group how they felt
when someone broke the rule. Discuss what it feels like when
someone breaks the rules in a game. What does it feel like when
someone breaks a group rule?
7. Ask the group to name things people do that "break the rules" in
class. How do you feel when someone breaks the rules? How does
the teacher feel when someone breaks the rules? Have you ever
broken a rule? What rule? How do you think your classmates felt?
How do you think your teacher felt? How did you feel? What do you
think you could have done differently? Continue similar discussion as
time allows. It is not necessary for each child to contribute a "broken
rule", but all should be encouraged to contribute to the discussion.
8. Conclude the group by thanking everyone for their participation.
Session 5-Maaic Carnet Ride
Objectives:
1. To continue to develop group interaction and self-disclosure


154
if anyone remembers something that someone told us about themselves
last time. Acknowledge attempts.
2. Review the group rules. Ask for a volunteer to read a group rule and
tell the group why it is an important one to follow. Acknowledge
responses and add necessary information when needed.
3. Tell the group, "Last time we used clay to share some information
about ourselves. This time, we're going to draw a picture that will help
others learn about us." Instruct the children to hold their papers so that
the black dot is at the top. Tell them to draw a picture that shows
something about themselves, or something important that happened in
their lives. Allow time for group members to complete the task (about 5-
7 minutes). If children are still working after 5 minutes, tell them they
have 2 minutes to finish. When all have completed the task, use a go-
around to allow children to share what they have drawn. Acknowledge
each contribution. Link responses when appropriate.
4. After everyone has had the opportunity to share (or "pass" if they
wish), tell the group that they are going to use the pictures they just
made to form a banner for the group that will be displayed in their
school. Stress that even though there are 7 (# of members) individuals
in our group, we all fit together to form one group. Ask group members
what they think a group is. (people who work together doing
something). Their task now is to work together to put the pieces
together (their pictures) so that it forms a banner. The group leader


32
goals of misbehavior: attention getting, power seeking, revenge seeking,
and displaying inadequacy.
The first goal of misbehavior is the desire for attention. Attention
getting is influenced by the child's mistaken assumption that he or she only
has significance when at the center of attention. Dinkmeyer and McKay
(1982) stated that attention getting is almost universal in young children. It
is so common that many children will misbehave to receive negative
attention rather than behave appropriately and be ignored. The second goal
is that of power seeking. This mistaken goal of behavior usually occurs
after an adult has attempted to stop the child's demand for attention.
Children want to be in charge and will misbehave to win the struggle for
power over an adult. The child derives a great sense of satisfaction by
refusing to do what the adult is requesting. Giving in to the adult would
threaten the child's sense of personal value (Dreikurs & Soltz, 1964). If a
struggle continues and a child believes that defeat of the adult is not
possible, then the desire for power may intensify to one of revenge.
Children who look for revenge are convinced that they are insignificant and
unimportant. They believe that they are significant only when they are able
to hurt others as they believe they have been hurt. In their discouragement,
they find a place by being cruel and disliked (Dinkmeyer & McKay, 1982). If
the desire for retaliation and revenge continues, the fourth goal of
misbehavior may be seen as children become utterly defeated and seek to
be excused for their behaviors by displaying inadequacy. Underlying


50
Lazarus, this theory suggests that we play to restore energy expended in
work. Energy is regenerated by doing an activity different from the work
that used it up. Play, the opposite of work, is an ideal way to restore this
lost energy (Schaefer, 1993).
The Pre-Exercise Theory, proposed by the Dutch philosopher Karl
Groos (1901), suggests that play is instinctive behavior. Based on Darwin's
principle of natural selection, Groos believed that play is essential to
survival. Play enables the child to practice and perfect skills needed to
survive (Millar, 1974). A child will instinctively become involved in play
activities that are essentially a form of the more mature behaviors that will
have to be performed as an adult. Therefore, play is seen as preparation for
future work and the content of a childs play is determined by adult activity.
G. Stanley Hall is credited with developing the Recapitulation Theory
that suggests the individual relives the activities of earlier stages in the
development of the human race through play. Hall's theory of play is based
on the idea that children pass through all the stages of man, from protozoa
to human, in their existence before birth. Some of the stages are thought to
resemble the developmental sequence of structure and behavior from fish to
man. "This seemed to provide evidence that individual development
(ontogeny) repeats that of the race (phylogeny)" (Millar, 1974, p. 17). Hall
believed that play resembled the activities of primitive man and allowed
children to discharge some of their primitive and unnecessary instinctual


61
the world as the child sees It through four messages: "I am here, I hear
you, I understand you, I care about you" (Landreth, 1993, p. 21). The
counselor is highly interactive verbally and responsive to the child so that
the child feels as though the therapist Is part of whatever the child is
engaged in at the moment, even though the therapist may not be physically
participating. The child-centered counselor is never just an observer but is
always a participant on an emotional and verbal level (Landreth, 1993).
Guerney (1983) suggested that compared to many other therapeutic
play approaches, a great deal of outcome research exists in client-centered
therapy. These studies have consistently demonstrated positive treatment
effects both with professional counselors and non-professionals providing
the intervention. For example, a study by Bills (1950a) involved poor
readers who were considered by their teachers to be maladjusted In the
classroom. After a six week period of child-centered play therapy,
significant gains in reading achievement were noted. These gains were
sustained through an additional follow-up period of six weeks. Bills (1950b)
repeated the study with poor readers who were considered to be well
adjusted by their teachers and other school personnel. This time, there
were no significant improvements found in reading achievement. Bills
concluded that the gains In reading found in the first study were related to
improvement in adjustment (Guerney, 1983). The importance of these
studies point to the efficacy of the child-centered approach.


183
Holly, W. J. (1992). Studentsself-esteem and academic
achievement. In G. R. Walz & J. C. Bleuer (Eds.), Student self-esteem: A
vital element of school success. Volume 1. (pp. 49-53). Ann Arbor: Ml:
Counseling and Personnel Services, Inc.
Hoover, J. & Hazier, R. J. (1991). Bullies and victims. Elementary
School Guidance and Counseling. 25. 212-219.
Hovland, J., Smaby, M. HI., & Maddux, C. D. (1996). At-risk
children: Problems and interventions. Elementary School Guidance &
Counseling. 31, 43-51.
Huey, W. C., & Rank, R. C. (1984). Effects of counselor and peer-
led groups' assertive training on Black adolescent aggression. Journal of
Counseling Psychology. 31. 95-98.
Hug-Hellmuth, H. (1921). On the technique of child-analysis.
International Journal of Psvcho-Analvsis. 2, 287-305.
Hymel, S. (1986). Interpretations of peer behavior: Affective bias in
childhood and adolescence. Child Development. 58. 431-445.
Jewett, J. (1992). Aggression and cooperation: Helping young
children develop constructive strategies. Urbana, III.: ERIC Clearinghouse
on Elementary and Early Childhood Education (EDO-PS-92-10).
Johnson, M. (1988). Use of play group therapy in promoting social
skills. Issues in Mental Health Nursing. 9. 105-112.
Jones, R. N., Sheridan, S. M., & Blnns, W. R. (1983). Schoolwide
social skills training: Providing preventive services to students at-risk.
School Psychology Quarterly. 8(1), 57-80.
Kazdin, A. E. (1987). Conduct disorders in childhood and
adolescence. Beverly Hills, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.
Kazdin, A.E., Bass, D., Siegel, T., & Thomas, C. (1989). Cognitive-
behavioral therapy and relationship therapy in the treatment of children
referred for antisocial behavior. Journal of Consulting and Clinical
Psychology. 57. 522-535.
Keith, L. K. & Bracken, B. A. (1996). Self-concept Instrumentation:
A historical and evaluative review. In B. A. Bracken, (Ed.), Handbook of
Self-Concept. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


89
increased self-awareness, Improved interpersonal relationships, increased
feelings of self-worth, and enhanced learning.
Huey and Rank (1984) conducted a study of the effects of group
assertiveness training on adolescent boys who were considered aggressive.
Their results suggested that professional counselors and peer facilitators
were equally effective in teaching skills and reducing aggressive classroom
behavior. Further, it was found that participants in the study were equally
pleased with peers or professional counselors as group leaders.
Fouts (1985) Investigated the effects of a unit led by eighth grade
boys on the study skills, self-concepts, school attitudes, classroom
behaviors, and academic achievement of sixth-grade students. The results
of this study indicated an improvement in self-concept and school attitudes.
Bowman and Myrlck (1987) paired trained fifth grade peer facilitators
with second and third grade students who were disruptive in their
classrooms. These investigators found a significant increase in appropriate
classroom behavior among the paired students. Similarly, Tobias (1992)
studied the effectiveness of eighth grade peer facilitators working with sixth
grade disruptive students. It was found that peers were able to effectively
help decrease disruptive behavior.


35
The relationship between media violence and aggression has not been
definitively established. Some researchers believe there is a causal
relationship between aggression in the media and aggression in children
(Meyers, 1993), while others argue that there are other factors, such as
intelligence that influence this relationship (Llppa, 1990).
Changing children's misbehavior and fostering productive behavior in
the classroom are important concerns of elementary counselors. Gerler's
(1985) review of elementary school counseling research from 1974 to 1984
provided evidence that counselors can make a difference in children's
classroom behavior, attitude toward school, and self-esteem, each of which
are factors in discipline. Research has suggested that the attitudes toward
the learning process, school, and peers developed in the primary grades
have a long-lasting impact on children's school success (Dobson, 1977;
Gartrell, 1987).
Many techniques have been used to help the disruptive child improve
classroom behavior. Bodiford-McNeil, Hembree-Kigin, and Eyberg (1996)
suggested that parent training, training in problem-solving skills, strategic
family therapy, and social skills training are effective interventions. Other
successful interventions include cognitive, behavioral, and developmental
approaches.
Smith (1994) suggested elementary counseling intervention programs
could promote long-term improvement in a childs school-related behaviors.
He concluded that positive results were obtained when parent-child behavior


4
use of play counseling strategies with fourth and fifth grade groups of
children who were identified as exhibiting disruptive classroom behaviors.
The impact of the unit on the children participating was examined in terms
of students' acting-out behavior, peer relationships, self-concepts, and
classroom behaviors. Further, the impact of the unit in relation to peer and
adult led activities was examined.
Research Questions
The following research questions were examined:
1. Does participation in a developmental guidance unit featuring play media
have a significant effect upon the acting-out behaviors of disruptive
elementary school students?
2. Does participation in the unit have an effect upon the peer relationships
of the disruptive students?
3. Does participation in the unit have an effect upon the self-concepts of
the disruptive students?
4. Does participation in the unit have an effect upon the classroom
behaviors of the disruptive students?
5. Does participation in the unit affect girls and boys differently?
6. Is there a difference between the effects of the unit when the unit is led
by an adult or peer?


78
to resolve emotional and social issues that may be interfering with academic
progress (Campbell, 1993b). It is through the process of play that the
counselor can touch the emotional world of children (Landreth, 1993).
Elementary school counselors use play and play media as therapeutic
tools to meet a broad range of developmental needs of all children, not just
those who are having difficulties. Developmental educators realize that
counseling should sometimes be playful and activities that are fun can be
used to motivate children to give full attention to serious thoughts. Play
may be used on an Individual basis, in small groups, and in classrooms.
Further, play may be used by elementary school counselors as an
educational tool to help children explore concepts, develop self-awareness,
appreciate each others' positive differences, and practice new behaviors
(Campbell, 1993b).
One of the first guidance programs, Developing Understanding of Self
and Others (DUSO), was developed by Dlnkmeyer and Dinkmeyer (1970).
This program uses puppets, music, and drama to help children develop a
positive self-image. Campbell (1993b) noted that the last thirty years have
seen increasing use of guidance materials that use play media to motivate
and involve children in the counseling process.
Play counseling in the elementary school has a developmental focus.
It addresses the normal growth and understanding of self in children who
may be experiencing a variety of emotional stresses such as death, divorce,
or new siblings. The use of play allows children to work out these issues


74
were able to increase the self-concepts and decrease disruptive behavior
through a ten session small group approach featuring play.
Plav therapy and olav counseling
Most of the literature of play therapy is found in the field of
psychology. With roots going back to Hermine Hug-Hellmuth's use of play
in a counseling relationship in 1921, play therapy is the terminology most
commonly found in the literature. However, as developmental counseling
became accepted in the elementary schools, the term "therapy" took on a
negative connotation. The original use of the term referred to working with
children who were disturbed or maladjusted. Since the developmental
model of counseling addresses the normal, developmental concerns of all
children in the schools, many questioned whether the use of the term
"therapy" was appropriate in the school setting. Dinkmeyer and Muro
(1977), early developmental proponents, cautioned school counselors that
although there is an overlap in the techniques and basic philosophies of play
therapy and counseling using play media, there is a difference in the two
systems in terms of the children served. Others, such as Hoffman (1993),
do not object to the use of the term play therapy as a counselor
intervention. Hoffman pointed out that although the terminology is
different, there really isnt a difference between play therapy and play
counseling. The use of the term play therapy has become an increasingly
popular way of referring to the elementary counselor's use of play


69
therapeutic value of metaphor. Through identification with characters in a
story, the child may be able to replace feelings of isolation and hopelessness
with a sense that a problem is shared by others and has a solution.
Play may be helpful in the mastery of developmental fears. Behavioral
theory incorporates a therapeutic technique known as counterconditioning.
Through this process, the child learns a new response to a stimulus that Is
Incompatible with the previous response, leading to a decrease in anxiety.
The principle behind this process is known as reciprocal inhibition (Wolpe,
1958) which states, "If a response inhibitor of anxiety can be made to occur
in the presence of anxiety-evoking stimuli, it will weaken the bond between
these stimuli and the anxiety" (p. 15). A response that inhibits anxiety is
the enjoyment a child feels during play (Schaefer, 1993). Barnett and Storm
(1981) cited physiological evidence that play has been found to reduce
anxiety.
A final therapeutic advantage of play was offered by Campbell
(1993b). She explained that play allows children to distance themselves
from emotional material that is too difficult to deal with by projecting their
feelings onto a doll or other inanimate object. Play enables children to
transfer anxieties, fears, fantasies, and guilt to objects instead of people.
The counselor uses play media to direct the attention to objects, not the
children themselves. This reduces the threat and makes it easier for the
children to talk about difficult emotional material. In this way, they feel safe
from their own feelings and reactions because the play provides an


136
Student Self-Concept Scale (F = .183, p = .671). Further, the null hypothesis
could not be rejected for gender (F = .532, p = .469). The ANCOVA results
for experimental condition, grade, and gender suggest that the intervention
did not prove to be statistically significant in terms of reducing acting-out
behavior as assessed by the Student Self-Concept Scale.
Table 4.6
Summary Table for Analysis of Covariance for Self-Concept
by Experimental Condition, Grade, and Gender
(at .05 level of confidence)
Source
Sum of
Squares
df
Mean Square
F
P
Model
1594804
13
122677
137.831
.000
Covariate
12472.1
1
12472.1
14.013
.000
Treatment
Exp. Condition
1089.644
2
544.822
.612
.546
Grade
162.801
1
162.801
.183
.671
Gender
473.170
1
473.170
.532
.469
Expercon*Gender
1050.831
2
525.415
.590
.558
Expercon*Grade
190.637
2
95.318
.107
.899
Gender*Grade
1349.449
1
1349.449
1.516
.224
Expercon*Gender*Grade
3404.178
2
1702.089
1.912
.158
Error
44502.8
50
890.057
Total
1639307
62
Classroom Behavior
Classroom behavior was assessed by the Disruptive Behavior Rating
Scale (Bleck, 1997). Both the student and the classroom teacher responded
to a twelve item survey regarding the student's classroom behavior. The
items related to following directions, completing school work, and other
classroom behaviors. Three separate hypotheses (Hypothesis 4, Hypothesis


133
(F = 5.489, p .023). Students in Grade 5 scored significantly lower (x = 1.00,
SD = 1.81) than students in Grade 4 results for experimental condition and gender suggest that the intervention
was not effective in improving peer relationships as assessed by Scale 4 of
the Walker Problem Behavior Identification Checklist. The results for grade
level indicate that the intervention was effective in improving peer
relationships for students in Grade 5 as assessed by Scale 4 of the Walker
Problem Behavior Identification Checklist.
Self-Concept
Self-concept is a term applied to how one sees oneself and includes
beliefs, attitudes, and opinions held to be true about oneself. Self-esteem,
the value one holds for oneself, is closely related to the self-concept. For the
purposes of this study, the self-concept was measured in terms of self-
confidence, or the perceived ability to perform a task, the importance given
the performance of a task, and outcome confidence, or how sure one is that
something positive will result from the performance of the task.
The self-concept was assessed by the Student Self-Concept Scale.
The SSCS looks at the three sub-test areas of self-confidence, importance,
and outcome confidence in three related areas-self-image, academic self-
confidence, and social self-confidence. The scale consists of seventy-two
items such as "I am easy to like," "I can do my homework on time," "I can
take turns in games or other activities," "I can speak in class when my


94
behavioral disorder were excluded from the study. These children are likely
to be receiving clinical services from a medical professional, psychologist,
social worker, or special educator. Since the investigation was concerned
with a change in behavior as brought about only by the independent
variable, the developmental unit, students identified as ADHD, Conduct
Disordered, or taking medication for a behavioral disorder were considered
to lie outside the population being studied.
Each group receiving the guidance intervention initially consisted of
between five and eight students. After the pretest procedures and prior to
the initiation of the experimental procedures, a fifth grade male assigned to
one of the peer facilitator groups voluntarily dropped out of the group. Prior
to the second session, a fifth grade female assigned to one of the
counselor-led groups moved out of the school district and was dropped from
the study. Since neither student had significant enough participation before
leaving the study, it was decided to disregard the pre-test scores of both
students from the final analysis. The distribution of the actual study sample
is outlined in Table 3.1.
Table 3.1
Distribution of Sample by Grade. Gender and Experimental Condition
Exp. Condition
Grade 4
Grade 5
Students per Exp. Condition
Male
Female
Male
Female
Counselor-Led
(E1)
5
8
8
2
23
Peer-Led (E2)
8
5
5
5
23
Control (E3)
9
5
1
2
17
Number of
Students
22
18
14
9
63


122
stable measure of self-concept (Keith & Bracken, 1996). Scores were found
to be moderate when the Self-Confidence Composite scores of the SSCS
were correlated with the TSCS scales of Physical Self (.56), Moral Self
(.54), Personal Self (.49), Identity (.60), Behavior (.54), and Total Positive
(.59).
Construct validity is the extent to which a particular test can be
shown to measure an underlying hypothetical construct. Although there is
no direct way to measure construct validity, other forms of validity
assessment can be used to establish an instrument's construct validity (Borg
& Gall, 1989). In the case of the SSCS, the authors demonstrated the
relationships among similar and dissimilar constructs attempting to
determine the covariance among certain behaviors. For example, validity
based on developmental changes, or score patterns across age groups was
investigated. The SSCS suggested no specific trends across grade groups.
This is consistant with the work conducted by Wylie (1979, as cited in
Gresham, Elliott, & Fernandez, 1993) that concluded that there was little
evidence for age differences in overall self-concept.
Consistent differences in SSCS Self-Confidence Subscale ratings were
found to exist between males and females. At the elementary level, females
had higher Self-Confidence ratings in the Academic (X = 27.4, SD = 5.3) and
Social (X = 29.5, SD = 5.6) content domains than did males (X = 26.3,
SD = 6.0; X = 28.5, SD = 6.0). Males had higher Self-Confidence ratings in
the Self-Image (X = 16.2, SD = 3.9) domain than females (X = 15.7,


CHAPTER IV
RESEARCH FINDINGS
The purpose of this study was to Investigate the effects of a
developmental guidance unit featuring play media on disruptive elementary
school students. More specifically, the study focused on the use of play
counseling strategies with fourth and fifth grade groups of children who
were identified as having inappropriate classroom behaviors. The
investigation involved three experimental groups: 1) a counselor-led play
group; 2) a peer facilitator-led play group; and 3) a control group which
received no planned intervention.
Teachers in the Frank P. Long Intermediate School, Bellport, New York
identified seventy-two students in their classes whom they believed were
exhibiting disruptive behaviors. Of these students, sixty-five returned the
necessary Institutional Review Board consent forms and were randomly
assigned to one of three experimental groups. Two students voluntarily
dropped from the study prior to having completed significant participation.
Thus, complete pre-test and post-test data was obtained from forty students
in grade four and twenty-three students in grade five.
Separate analyses of covariance were conducted for each variable
related to the hypotheses using SPSS for Windows. 7.0. The experimental
126


104
Table 3.3 continued
Session
Goals
Play Media and Primary
Activity
Session 9
To reinforce cooperation, sharing, and feedback
among members of the group. To reinforce
rules for group participation. To reinforce the
consequences of disruptive behavior and
consider alternative behaviors. To prepare for
termination.
Creative Dramatics
Skits were presented
to illustrate disruptive
behavior and
alternative behaviors
Session 10
To reinforce cooperation, sharing, and feedback
among members of the group. To provide
group members with termination.
Clay
Symbolic
representations of
what was learned in
the group were made
This study employed a developmental guidance unit featuring play
media. It was delivered over a period of five weeks to fourth and fifth grade
students who were identified by their classroom teacher as displaying
disruptive classroom behaviors. Play media was used in the unit to facilitate
communication, accomodate developmental levels, and enhance learning.
Unit Leadership and Leader Training
The developmental unit in this study was conducted using two
levels of leadership. One experimental condition (E1) was led by adult
counselors. The adult counselors who participated in this study have a
minimum of a masters degree in school counseling. A second experimental
condition (E2) was led by high school peer facilitators. A peer facilitator is a
student who uses helping skills and concepts to assist others to think about
ideas, feelings, explore options in problem solving, and to make responsible


150
Session 1-Presents
Objectives:
1. To develop group interaction and self-disclosure
2. To develop group trust
3. To develop group cohesiveness
4. To develop awareness of self and others
5. To develop awareness and understanding of feelings in self and
others
6. To get acquainted with group members
7. To discuss group rules
Plav Media: Clay
Materials: group rules poster, play-doh for each group member, name
stickers for clay containers
Procedure:
1. Seat group around table, or place desks in a small circle. Explain that
the group will be doing a lot of Interesting things during the meetings.
Today we will begin by learning the names of the group members by
playing the Name Game. The group leader explains the game. The first
person will say, "Hi. My name is and I like to
"(the activity stated should begin with the same sound as


109
Student Classroom Behavior
The Disruptive Behavior Rating Scale (DBRS, Bleck, 1977) is a brief
questionnaire using a Likert response scale. Both the student and the
classroom teacher respond to a twelve item survey regarding the student's
classroom behavior.
Disruptive students in the classroom create difficult teaching
condition for teachers and frustration and tension for students as well as
other school personnel. Disruptive behavior in the classroom accounts for a
disproportionate amount of time taken from teaching (Gaustad, 1992).
Cotton (1990) estimated that approximately half of all available classroom
time is taken up with non-teaching tasks; most of this time devoted to
dealing with disruptive behavior. Gerler (1994) suggested that classroom
behavior is an important factor in whether or not children will experience
academic success. Further, the behavior of disruptive children may play a
negative role in the learning of other children in the classroom (Baker, 1985;
Brake & Gerler, Jr., 1994; DuPaul & Stoner, 1994).
Instrumentation
Three instruments were employed in this study. The Walker Problem
Behavior Identification Checklist (WPBIC, Walker, 1983) was used for
assessing acting out behaviors and disturbed peer relationships. The second
measure in this study was the Student Self-Concept Scale (SSCS, Gresham,


72
mentally retarded, amelioration of stuttering, relieving of psychosomatic
difficulties, and the reduction of separation anxiety. Of particular are the
studies that demonstrate a decrease in aggressive, acting-out behaviors
(Willock, 1983); better social and emotional adjustment (Andriola, 1944;
Axllne, 1948, 1964; Baruch, 1952; Miller, 1947; Moustakas, 1951; Pothler,
1967; Schlffer, 1957), and improved self-concept (Bleck & Bleck, 1982).
In 1964, Virginia Axline published Dibs In Search of Self, the account
of a child's work in play therapy. The book related the story of a young
child, Dibs, and illustrated the child-centered techniques used by Axline.
Not intended to be a report to professionals, the book did serve as an
introduction to the world of the child in play therapy. Similarly, Dorothy
Baruch (1952) related the story of Kenneth to sensitize parents as well as
others who work with children to the fact that children have strong
emotions that can cause difficulty with adjustment. Through play therapy,
these problems of adjustment may be overcome.
There is no lack of accounts of play therapy in the professional
literature. Axline (1948) reported the results of experimental work done
utilizing group play therapy with a group of four children, ages six, seven,
and eight, who were having difficulty adjusting to other children. The
children were described as either extremely withdrawn or aggressively
antisocial (Axline, 1948). Results of this work indicated that the children
learned to adjust to each other in a free play situation. Further, Axline


39
concept and positive classroom behavior. The results of this study indicated
that counselors using structured play can have positive effects on the
attitudes of disruptive children.
Develoomental Guidance and Counseling
The Developmental Model of Guidance and Counseling
Human development is a process that occurs in stages over time as
individuals interact with their environment. The developmental guidance
approach maintains that the developmental process can be enhanced by
planned, appropriate educational interventions (Baker, 1996).
Developmental guidance is proactive and preventive in focus. Its
purpose is to help students acquire the knowledge, basic skills, self-
awareness, interests, and attitudes necessary for successful mastery of
normal developmental tasks (Borders & Drury, 1992; Wittmer 1993). The
mastery of developmental tasks at each life stage is essential for the
individual's effective functioning and happiness. Further, continued
developmental growth increases the likelihood of future success (Neukrug,
Barr, Hoffman, & Kaplan, 1993).
The work of the developmental counselor is based on the rationale
that providing early developmental guidance services to children can
enhance their present and future development and effectiveness.
Developmental counselors work toward helping children to be responsible


70
emotional distance from the troubling experiences. Children are not
overwhelmed by their own actions because it takes place in fantasy
(Landreth, 1993).
Plav Therapy
"As all play helps a child to share himself and, in varying degree, to
re-enact, re-live and release, all play has some therapeutic value" (Amster,
1943, p. 68). Play provides a healing and growth process that the child is
able to use naturally and independently, except when that healing and
growth process is significantly interrupted (Cochran, 1996). Play serves as
the basis for a working alliance between the child and the counselor. It is a
natural form of communication for the child, which contributes to
understanding, self-esteem, problem solving, insight, emotional adjustment,
and interpersonal growth and development. It is the therapeutic function of
play which allows change to take place.
Just as the literature suggests many meanings of play, play therapy
has been defined in many ways. For example, Axline (1947) explained that
play therapy is based on play as children's natural medium of self-
expression. Children are given the opportunity to play out their feelings and
problems just as adults talk out their feelings and problems. Further,
Schaefer (1993) defined play therapy as an interpersonal process during
which a trained therapist uses the therapeutic powers of play to help
children resolve their emotional difficulties.


86
most out of school are two areas where peers can make a positive impact.
This idea follows the premise of the developmental model where concerns
and issues are addressed before they become a problem.
Peer facilitator programs have been successfully implemented in the
high school setting for over thirty years (Tindall & Gray, 1984). However, it
has just been in the last twenty years that students in the lower grades
have been systematically trained as peer helpers. Currently, peer helpers
are assisting younger students to think about ideas and feelings, explore
alternatives to situations, and make responsible decisions (Myrick &
Bowman, 1981b). Bowman and Myrick (1987) reported many benefits
when students participate as peer facilitators including improved academic
performance and improved classroom behavior.
Myrick, Highland, and Sabella (1995) pointed out that although only a
few quantitative studies exist in the literature, the findings have been
positive. For example, Brlskin and Anderson (1973) obtained positive
results when sixth-grade students served as peer helpers in working with
disruptive third graders. In a 1987 study, Bowman and Myrick found
evidence that fifth grade students were effective in improving the classroom
behaviors and school attitudes of second and third grade students who were
considered to be exhibiting behavioral problems in the classroom. Foster-
Harrison (1995) cited studies providing evidence of increased school
attendance (Fantuzzo, Polite, & Grayson, 1990; Tobias, 1992), and
decreased disruptive or inappropriate behavior (Greenwood, Carta, & Hall,


119
approximately four weeks. Overall, results of test-retest reliability indicate
that there is good stability for SSCS Self-Confidence Composite ratings and
Self-Confidence and Importance Subscale ratings. Lower stability ratings in
the Outcome Confidence subscales suggest that caution be used when
interpreting these results (Gresham, Elliott, & Evans-Fernandez, 1993).
A final measure of reliability to be considered with the SSCS is the
Standard Error of Measurement (SEM). The Standard Error of Measurement
allows the researcher to estimate the range within which the individual's
true score probably falls taking a certain amount of measurement error into
consideration (Borg & Gall, 1989). In general, the results of investigations
of reliability for the SSCS suggest that there is high reliability for Self-
Confidence and Outcome Confidence Composite ratings. Subscale
reliabilities were generally lower than Composite reliabilities and were more
variable across Subscales as would be expected with the smaller number of
items. Within the context of the number of items in each Subscale, most of
the Subscale reliability estimates are adequate (Gresham, Elliott, & Evans-
Fernandez, 1993). The authors further suggest that test-retest reliability
coefficients indicate good stability of the Self-Confidence ratings.
Composite ratings were found to be more stable than Subscale ratings.
Validity of the Student Self-Concept Scale
Validity is commonly defined as the degree to which a test measures
what it says it measures (Borg & Gall, 1989). For a test to be considered


77
educators, play in the school setting was helpful in addressing a broad
range of developmental needs of all children, not just children who were
considered maladjusted.
Several factors contributed to the increased use of play techniques in
the elementary schools. The development of guidance and counseling
programs in the elementary grades added many counselors to the primary
level. Among those professionals seeking a developmentally appropriate
approach, there was the realization that the use of a primarily verbal
approach would not be effective with children. Words are often foreign to a
child whose natural means of communication is the world of play. Children
below the age of eleven years may experience great difficulty expressing
their emotional world by verbal means. Reliance on speech alone confines
children to a potentially awkward and restrictive level of communication.
Given this developmental factor, Landreth (1993) advised elementary school
counselors to leave their verbally bound approach to communication and go
to the level of communication natural to children, play.
A primary objective of elementary schools is to provide opportunities
for children to develop Intellectually, physically, socially, and emotionally.
Play approaches can prepare children to profit from the learning
experiences. Children cannot be made to learn. Even the most effective
teachers cannot teach children who are not yet ready. Play counseling
serves as an adjunct to learning by helping children maximize their
opportunities to learn (Landreth, 1993). Play offers children an opportunity


144
Teacher's Version of the Disruptive Behavior Rating Scale and the Walker
Problem Behavior Identification Scale.
Analyses of covariance (ANCOVA) were used to test for significant
differences among experimental groups using the pre-test for each
dependent variable as the covariate. The resulting data related directly to
the following null hypotheses:
1. There is no statistically significant difference among the three
experimental groups (El. E2. and E3I in terms of acting-out
behavior as measured bv Scale 1 of the Walker Problem Behavior
Identification Checklist (WPBIC).
The ANCOVA comparing changes in group means over time indicated
no statistically significant changes at the .05 level of confidence (see
Tables 4.1 and 4.2). Therefore, null hypothesis number one was not
rejected.
2. There is no statistically significant difference among the three
experimental groups (El. E2. and E3) in terms of peer relationships
as measured bv Scale 4 of the Walker Problem Behavior
Identification Checklist (WPBIC).
The ANCOVA comparing changes in group means over time indicated
no statistically significant changes at the .05 level of confidence (see
Tables 4.3 and 4.4). Therefore, null hypothesis number two was not
rejected.


63
the trained undergraduates were more expressive and tended to deal more
appropriately with both intrapersonal and interpersonal situations than
children not receiving child-centered sessions (Guerney, 1983).
More recently. Crow (1989) held ten, thirty-minute, individual, child-
centered play therapy sessions with twelve first grade students who had
been retained due to low achievement in reading. The results of the study
demonstrated significant improvement In the self-concepts of these children
when compared to those in a matched control group.
Sixteen incarcerated fathers were trained by Landreth (1993) to use
child-centered play therapy techniques with their children in filial therapy
sessions. The fathers held thirty-minute play sessions on visitation day
once a week for ten weeks. The self-concepts of these children improved
significantly when compared to those in a control group of incarcerated
fathers and their children (Landreth, 1993).
Although the professional play therapist typically has a background in
a clinical area, Guerney (1983) reported that there is nothing inherent in the
method that requires such a background.
The children seem to have a positive experience during the play
sessions regardless of who the therapists are, and show improvements in
play session behaviors. When supervised by a professional, many
nonprofessionals have been trained to use child-centered methods and have
demonstrated the ability to effect desirable changes in the children,
paralleling those created by professionals. (Guerney, 1983, p. 28)


102
another student in anger, teasing, and taking something from someone
else's desk. Cooperation, sharing, and consequences of disruptive behavior
were stressed.
Session five featured guided imagery to develop group self-disclosure,
trust, and cohesiveness and emphasized the consequences and alternatives
of disruptive behavior. Guided imagery has been successfully used in the
school setting to help children develop personal awareness, improve task
completion, and control disruptive behavior. Each group leader was
provided with a prepared script for a Magic Carpet Ride designed to help
group members explore feelings and behaviors encountered in school. For
example, group members were invited to experience their favorite activity at
school and something that makes their teacher angry.
Table 3.3 summarizes the session objectives, and play media used.
Appendix A contains the full unit.
Table 3.3
Objectives and Play Media Used (by Session)
Session
Goals
Play Media and Primary
Activity
Session 1
To develop group interaction and self-disclosure
designed to increase group trust, group
cohesiveness, awareness of self and others,
and awareness and understanding of feelings.
To get acquainted with group members and
discuss rules for group participation.
Clay
Symbolic "presents"
were made to receive
from someone and give
to someone
Session 2
To develop group interaction and self-disclosure
designed to increase group trust, group
cohesiveness, awareness of self and others,
and awareness and understanding of feelings.
To reinforce the names of group members and
rules for group participation.
Art
Group banners were
assembled consisting
of elements made and
contributed by each
child


107
classroom behavior, as measured by a teacher rating scale. In addition, the
unit was evaluated for differences by gender and by group leadership.
Acting-Out Behavior
Acting-out behavior is considered unacceptable in school. Such
behaviors as arguing with those in authority, defiance of instructions,
temper tantrums, and display of verbal and physical aggression toward
objects or others reduces teaching time and may lead to adverse educational
conditions in the classroom. Aggressive behavior, in particular, has
consistently ranked as one of the most objectionable forms of student
behaviors among teachers (Hersh & Walker, 1983; Walker, 1986).
Students displaying aggressive behaviors tend to have poor school
adjustment and low academic performance (Coopersmith, 1959; Walker,
Colvin, & Ramsey, 1995; Wittmer & Myrick, 1980).
Peer Relationships
For the purpose of this study, students considered to have poor peer
relationships are those who express feelings of loneliness or unhappiness,
may appear to have no friends, be left out of group activities, or avoided by
classmates. Further, these students may be hypercritical of themselves in
the school setting.
Disruptive students frequently have poor peer relationships (Bleck &
Bleck, 1982; Coie & Koeppel, 1990; DuPaul & Stoner, 1994). They may


52
Theories of Plav Counseling
The role of play in the lives of children has been recognized as
significant for centuries. In the late 1700s, Rousseau wrote about the
importance of observing the play of children in order to understand them
(Landreth, 1991). In 1903, Froebel emphasized the symbolic nature of play.
His belief was that play has definite conscious and unconscious purposes
and could be examined for its meaning. As quoted in Landreth (1991),
Froebel wrote, "Play is the highest development in childhood, for it alone is
the free expression of what is in the child's soul...Children's play is not
mere sport. It is full of meaning and import" (Froebel, 1903, p.22).
In 1909, Sigmund Freud published the first case of "Little Hans," a
five year old boy who was phobic. This case represented the first
description of a therapeutic approach to working with a child. Freud saw
Little Hans only one time and treated him by advising the child's father of
ways to respond based on the father's notes about the child's play. The
case of "Little Hans" is significant because it is the first case in which a
child's problem was attributed to emotional causes. Further, the play
behavior was key in determining the child's problem and its ultimate
resolution. Landreth (1991) noted that today, emotional factors are so
readily accepted that it may be difficult to appreciate the magnitude of what
was then a new concept of psychological disturbance in children. Reisman
(1966) explained that at the turn of the twentieth century, professionals


14
place at the most appropriate time in children's lives. Further, the
opportunity to continue learning is considered fundamental to this approach.
Plav Counseling
The use of play In a counseling relationship can be traced back to
Hermine Hug-Hellmuth in 1921 when she reported that play was essential in
child analysis and therapy with children seven years of age or younger
(Gumaer, 1984). In the 1920s, Anna Freud and Melanie Klein utilized
aspects of play in their therapeutic work. Later, in the 1930s, the use of
play approaches was separated into active play therapy, where play of the
children was structured by the therapist via selected toys and scenarios,
and passive play therapy, where the play was unrestricted. In passive
therapy, the acceptance of emotional expression was emphasized. Children
were free to play at their own pace and deal with issues they selected.
Otto Rank modified play therapy in an important way. He believed
that the emotional attachment that developed between the child and the
therapist provided the curative power rather than the interpretation of play.
Following the work of Otto Rank, Carl Rogers' non-directive interventions
emerged. In this approach, the therapist makes no attempt to control or
direct the therapy; rather, the focus was on creating a therapeutic
relationship which enabled clients to solve their own problems. The
emphasis was on the client's capacity to move toward self-growth.


190
Reyes, R. (1991). The ten commandments for teaching: A teacher's
view. (Report No. ISBN-0-8106-1539-8). West Haven, CT: National
Education Association. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 339
699)
Rogers, C. (1942). Counselino and psychotherapy. Boston:
Houghton Mifflin.
Rogers, C. (1951). Client-centered therapy. Boston: Houghton
Mifflin.
Rogers, C. (1961). On Becoming a Person. Boston: Houghton
Mifflin.
Roid, G. & Fitts, W. (1988). Tennessee Self-Concept Scale (revised
manual). Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services.
Romano, J. L., Miller, J. P., & Nordness, A. (1996). Stress and well
being in the elementary school: A classroom curriculum. The School
Counselor. 43. 268-276.
Rubin, J. (1988). Art counseling: An alternative. Elementary
School Guidance and Counseling. 22. 180-185.
Rubin, K. H., Fein, G. G., & Bandenberg, B. (1983). Play. In E.
Hetherington (Ed.), Handbook of Child Development (pp. 693-775). New
York: Wiley.
Sachs, H. (1983). Negative factors in brief psychotherapy: An
empirical assessment. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 51,
557-564.
Safran, J. S. & Safran, S. P. (1985). A developmental view of
childrens behavioral tolerance. Behavioral Disorders. 10. 87-94.
Sanborn, J. N., & Myrick, R. D. (1983). Troubled youth as peer
facilitators. American Mental Health Association Journal. 13-19.
Sax, G. (1989). Principles of educational and psychological
measurement and evaluation. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Inc.
Schaefer, C. E. (Ed.). (1990). The therapeutic use of child's play.
Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson Inc.


188
Oaklander, V. (1978). Windows to our children. Moab, UT: Real
People Press.
O'Connor, K. J. (1991). The olav therapy primer: An integration of
theories and techniques. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
O'Connor, K. J., & Braverman, L. M. (1997). Plav therapy theory
and practice: A comparative presentation. New York: John Wiley & Sons,
Inc.
Ohlsen, M. M. (1983). Introduction to Counseling. Itasca, II.: F.E.
Peacock Publishers, Inc.
Oldfield, D. (1986). The effects of the relaxation response on self-
concept and acting out behaviors. Elementary School Guidance &
Counseling. 20. 255-260.
Oldfield, D., & Petosa, R. (1986). Increasing student on-task"
behaviors through relaxation strategies. Elementary School Guidance &
Counseling. 20. 180-186.
Osterweil, Z. (1986). Time-limited play therapy: Rationale and
technique. School Psychology International. 7 224-230.
Paisley, P., & Peace, S. (1995). Developmental principles: A
framework for school counseling programs. Elementary School Guidance
and Counseling. 30. 85-93.
Palumbo, A. (1989). Puppetry adapted to special needs players:
Puppetry practice of Dr. Silly. B.C. Journal of Special Education. 13. 225-
234.
Patterson, G. R. (1986). Performance models for antisocial boys.
American Psychologist. 41. 432-444.
Patterson, G. R., Debaryshe, B., & Ramsey, E. (1989). A
developmental perspective on antisocial behavior. American Psychologist.
44, 329-335.
Peirs, E. V. (1984). Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale
(revised manual). Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services.


37
discipline takes a positive view of human nature. It allows children to
develop healthy self-concepts and grow toward social responsiveness
(Gartrell, 1994).
Myrick and Dixon (1985) investigated a structured, six-session, small
group intervention with fifth and sixth graders who were identified as having
poor attitudes toward school. Positive results were obtained in changing
student attitudes about school and achievement. The next year, Myrick,
Merhill, and Swanson (1986) reported a study first conducted in the state of
Florida and then replicated in Indiana. A six-session, developmental
guidance unit was successful in improving the attitudes and behaviors of
fourth grade students. In particular, task completion, compliance with
teacher directions, social skills, and feelings about school were improved.
Assertiveness training programs can reduce disruptive behavior.
Huey and Rank (1984) were successful in decreasing aggressive behaviors
while increasing assertive behaviors in the classroom with disruptive, low
achieving eighth and ninth grade boys.
Bodiford-McNeil, Hembree-Kigin, and Eyberg (1996) developed an
intervention for disruptive children that used play and play media.
Combining the child-centered tenets of allowing the child to take the lead,
the importance of the relationship between the child and adult, and the
therapist attitudes of warmth and unconditional positive regard with
cognitive-behavioral methods, a twelve session plan involved parents in
changing behaviors.


162
4. Tell the group that they are going to go on a magic carpet ride. Have
everyone close their eyes and get comfortable in their seats as before.
Read the script pausing after each sentence for a second or two:
Imagine you are outside our school. It is a beautiful warm day and the
sky is blue. The sun feels really nice on your face and you feel warm
and good. Look all around you. You see a strange looking rug over by a
big tree. Go over to the rug. You can see that it is a magic carpet! Sit
down on the carpet. The carpet begins to fly through the air! You're
having a good time as the carpet flies all around! Find a way to steer
your carpet. You might have a steering wheel, or maybe reins like a
rider steers a horse. Try and make a few turns. You are in complete
control of your carpet. It goes where you want it to go. Now, steer
your carpet over to a tree. Now try and steer your carpet over to Burger
King. Fly through the drive-in window and pick up a snack. Steer back
to school. Find your classroom. The windows are wide open! Fly into
your classroom. Say "hi" to your teacher. Have your teacher say
something nice to you. Say "Thank you" to your teacher and sit down
in your seat. See yourself working at your desk. Oops! Your teacher is
angry with someone. Who is your teacher angry with? What did that
person do? Watch for a while to see what will happen. (Wait about 10
seconds before continuing). Now its time for your favorite activity--the
time you are happiest at school. Go there now. Have a good time.
What are you doing? Take some time and feel yourself having fun.


123
SD = 3.9). For SSCS Self-Confidence Composite ratings, females
(X = 72.6, SD = 12.5) had higher ratings than the males (X = 71.0,
SD = 13.5). In all cases, the differences between males and females were
significant at the .05 level.
When the SSCS Importance ratings are examined, some significant
differences at the .05 level were again found between males and females
across grade levels. Females were found to have higher Importance ratings
than males in the Academic (females X = 22.6, SD = 6.6; males
X = 21.0, SD = 6.9) and Social (females X = 23.6, SD = 7.4; males X = 22.4,
SD = 7.1) domains. There were no significant gender differences in Self-
Image Importance domains. These results lead Gresham, Elliott, & Evans-
Fernandez (1993) to suggest that females possess more confidence in their
abilities in social and academic self-concept domains than males. In
addition, these domains appear to be more important to females than to
males across grade levels. In contrast, males are more confident in their
possession of self-image attributes than females across grade levels.
However, males and females assign equal importance to self-image
attributes at the elementary level.
Significant statistical differences at the .05 level were also found in
the SSCS Outcome Confidence ratings among males and females. Females
had higher Outcome Confidence ratings than males in the Academic
(females X = 6.6, SD = 1.5; males X = 6.3, SD = 1.7) and Social (females
X = 9.1, SD = 2.1; males X = 8.7, SD = 2.3) domains. Males demonstrated


125
describes the student's behavior for the past two weeks: rarely,
sometimes, often, or almost always.
The twelve sentence stems on the student form are: I do what
I'm supposed to do; I argue with other children; I make fun of or
laugh at other children; I poke or push other children; I take
something that belongs to someone else without asking; I follow my
teacher's directions; I fight with other children; I complete my
school work on time; I am punished by my teacher; I get my teacher
angry with me; I talk when I'm not supposed to; and I shout out in
class. The wording on the teacher's form is the same except for pronoun
and object agreement.
Summary
This chapter included an outline of the population and sample,
research design, and hypotheses that were used in this study. Further, the
developmental unit, leadership selection and training, and dependent
variables were discussed. Finally, the technical data was reviewed for the
major instuments used in this study.


54
Melanie Klein began using play in 1919 as a way of analyzing children
under six years of age. She assumed that the children's play was
equivalent to free association in adults and used play to encourage children
to express their fantasies, anxieties and defenses which could then be
interpreted. Klein believed that play therapy provided a direct access to the
preconscious and unconscious mechanisms of children.
Anna Freud also used play in the process of analysis. Unlike Klein,
however, Freud's use of play was intended to establish an emotional
relationship between the child and the therapist-to get the child to like the
therapist. Anna Freud made little direct interpretation of the childs play.
Her belief was that play had little emotional value because it consisted of
only a conscious repetition of recent experiences (Landreth, 1991). Freud
delayed the use of direct interpretation of the child's play until she had
gained extensive knowledge by observing the play of the child and
interviewing the parents. Since free association was not appropriate for
children, Anna Freud encouraged the child to verbalize daydreams or
fantasies, and when they had difficulty discussing these feelings, she had
them sit quietly and "see pictures." In this way, the child was able to learn
to verbalize thoughts and discover their meaning based on the
interpretations offered by the therapist (Landreth, 1991). Gradually, as the
child developed a stronger relationship with the therapist and the ability to
verbalize thoughts, the emphasis of the sessions was shifted from play to
more traditional interactions.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS H
ABSTRACT vi
CHAPTERS
1 INTRODUCTION 1
Purpose of the Study 3
Research Questions 4
Statement of the Problem 5
Need for the Study 8
Theoretical Bases for the Study 11
Developmental Guidance and Counseling 11
Play Counseling 14
Peer Facilitators 17
Definition of Terms 19
Organization of the Study 21
2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE 23
Disruptive Children 24
Developmental Guidance and Counseling 39
The Developmental Model of Guidance and Counseling 39
Developmental Play Counseling 44
Play 47
Play Defined 47
Rationale for Children's Play 48
Theories of Play Counseling 52
Psychoanalytic play therapy 53
Active play therapy 55
Release play therapy 55
Structured play therapy 56
Relationship play therapy 56
Non-directive play therapy 57
iii


131
Ho1: There will be no statistically significant difference among the
three experimental groups (E1, E2, and E3) in terms of peer
relationships, as measured by Scale 4 of the Walker Problem Behavior
Identification Checklist (WPBIC).
Ho5: There will be no statistically significant difference across the
dependent measures between grade levels in terms of peer
relationships.
Ho6: There will be no statistically significant difference across the
dependent measures among the experimental groups for male and
female subjects in terms of peer relationship.
As illustrated in Table 4.3, the mean for the Counselor-led groups was
3.39 on pre-test and 2.30 on post-test. On pre test, the Peer facilitator-led
groups scored 1.96. The post-test mean was 1.00. The control group mean
was 1.82 on pre-test and 1.53 on post-test. Grade 4 students scored a
mean of 2.10 on pre-test, and 1.98 on post-test, while students in Grade 5
scored 3.04 and 1.00 on pre- and post-test respectively. In terms of gender,
the mean for males was 1.72 on pre-test, and .67 on post-test. For female
subjects, a mean of 3.41 was achieved on pre-test, while the mean on post
test was 2.89.
An analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was conducted using the pre
test as the covariate. The dependent variable, peer relationships, was
examined in terms of experimental condition, grade, and gender. The results
of this analysis are reported in Table 4.4.


75
techniques for working with children (Barlow, Strother, & Landreth, 1985;
Landreth, 1987).
Regardless of the terminology used to describe the process of using
play and play media in school counseling programs, the use of play therapy
has received more attention in the literature than has play counseling or play
media. Landreth, Homeyer and Bratton (1993) compiled a bibliography of
the literature in play therapy. More than one thousand, eight hundred titles
of books, journal articles, dissertations, and unpublished documents were
included in the volume dating back to 1933. This reference source
indicated that it was 1969 before an article appeared in a journal published
by the American Counseling Association. In the years from 1970 to 1979,
four articles appeared in the counseling literature that addressed play while
over seventy published works appeared in the professional literature of
psychology and related disciplines. The early 1980s produced three articles
in the major journals of the American Counseling Association. In 1987, the
journal Elementary School Guidance & Counseling devoted a special issue to
counseling using expressive arts, and included articles on the use of play
therapy and various play media in the elementary school. In the early
1990s, play and play media began to receive attention with an entire issue
of Elementary School Guidance & Counseling devoted to play in October,
1993. However, since that issue, only three additional articles have
appeared in the same journal. The School Counselor, another publication of
the American Counseling Association has published only one article on the


184
Kennedy, J. J.; & Bush, A. J. (1985). An introduction to the design
and analysis of experiments in behavioral research. Lanham, MD:
University Press of America, Inc.
Klein, M. (1955). The psycholanalytic play technique. American
Journal of Orthopsychiatry. 25. 223-237.
Knell, S. M. (1993) Cognitive-behavioral play therapy. Northvale,
NJ: Jason Aronson Inc.
Kranz, P. L., & Lund, N. L. (1993). 1993: Axline's eight principles
of play therapy revisited. International Journal of Plav Therapy. 2(2), 53-60.
La Greca, A. M. & Santogrossi, D. (1980). Social skills training with
elementary school students: A behavioral group approach. Journal of
Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 48. 220-227.
Lahey, B. B., Russo, M. F., Walker, J. L., & Piacentini, J. C. (1989).
Personality characteristics of the mothers of children with disruptive
behavior disorders. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 57. 512-
515.
Landreth, G. L. (1983). Play therapy in elementary school settings.
In C. E. Schaefer & K. J. O'Connor (Eds.) Handbook of plav therapy (pp.
200-212). New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Landreth, G. L. (1987). Play therapy: Facilitative use of child's play
in elementary school counseling. Elementary School Guidance &
Counseling. 21. 253-261.
Landreth, G. L. (1991). Plav therapy: The art of the relationship.
Muncie, IN: Accelerated Development Inc.
Landreth, G., Homeyer, L, & Bratton, S. (1993). The world of plav
therapy literature. Denton, TX: The Center for Play Therapy.
Lansdown, R., & Walker, M. (1991). Your child's development:
From birth through adolescence. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
Lee, R. S. (1993). Effects of classroom guidance on student
achievement. Elementary School Guidance & Counseling. 27. 163-171.
Levy, D. M. (1939). Release therapy. American Journal of
Orthopsychiatry. 9, 713-736.


67
experience allows a child the opportunity to experience emotional release
without fear of retaliation or disapproval (Schaefer, 1993). Further, the play
experience allows the release of Intense feelings such as anger and anxiety
that had been hard, If not Impossible, for the child to express before.
Another therapeutic factor associated with play Is Its ability to
facilitate abreaction, the reliving of past stressful events and the emotions
associated with them (Schaefer, 1993). Piaget (1962) pointed out that
young children use play to symbolically relive unpleasant past experiences.
Through play, the child gains a sense of mastery over an event that they
tend to have no control over. The outcome may be changed or reversed
allowing children to achieve resolution of a problematic situation. Children
are then better able to cope or adjust as necessary (Landreth, 1993).
Erlkson (1940) stated that playing out troublesome situations is a natural
process of childhood. Further, since children are engaged in pretend play,
they can control the events and will likely feel less anxiety.
Play offers children the opportunity to try out new behaviors through
role-playing. Children are able to try out new behaviors that may not have
been considered before, and to experience what it feels like to behave in
this new way. Another advantage of role-playing is that it allows children to
explore their own behaviors from the perspective of another whose role they
assume in play. Further, role play encourages the development of empathy,
the ability to put oneself in the shoes of another, leading to increased
understanding of the other person's thoughts, actions, and feelings.


80
might be asked to make a gift to give to someone in the group. Using the
clay, the child could make a puppy to give to a friend, providing a more
concrete meaning than words or a drawing.
Elementary aged children often benefit from creative dramatics such
as role playing (Gladding, 1992). The use of creative dramatics allows
children to explore alternative behaviors to a situation and gain insight into
experiences. Acting out a situation can often help children see it in a new
light (Lansdown & Walker, 1991). By maintaining a pretend, or "as if"
approach, children are able to explore different alternative behaviors without
risking embarrassment or shame. According to Gardner (1993), most
children enjoy plays and will welcome the chance to act in them. Play
acting a situation of significance can provide children with a more
meaningful experience than merely talking about it.
The use of games in play counseling generally refers to card games,
board games, and fine and gross motor games. Games tend to be separate
from real life (Reid, 1993). Children generally enjoy games and often
counselors are able to deal with significant experiences in game language
(Gladding, 1993). Similarly, Gardner (1993) stated that games may be
therapeutic in their own right because pleasure is generally therapeutic.
One of the most therapeutic factors in game play involves the
socialization between players (Webb, 1991). Since the game is removed
from real life, children are able to learn new skills needed to interact with
others in an enjoyable and nonthreatening way. As children relax and lose


58
the principles of the non-directive approach to children using play as a
therapeutic technique.
The non-directive, or person-centered approach to counseling takes a
positive view of human nature and holds that we have an innate striving
toward self-actualization. We move toward increased awareness and strive
to become fully functioning. Further, we have the potential to be aware of
our problems and how to resolve them. The role of the therapist within this
structure is to provide a safe climate for the exploration of self. The
relationship between the client and the therapist is of primary importance.
The attitudes and qualities of the therapist such as genuiness, warmth,
empathy, and respect and the communication of these attitudes to the client
are vital. The relationship with the therapist is used to transfer the learning
during counseling to other relationships (Corey, 1986).
Play therapy is the process by which the child plays out feelings,
brings the feelings to the surface, gets them out into the open, faces them,
and learns to either control them or abandon them. Play helps children
understand their feelings in an objective way without additional anxiety,
fear, or guilt (Axline, 1947). When a child's feelings are expressed,
identified, and accepted, the child is able to internalize them and then is free
to deal with those feelings.
Child-centered play therapy is characterized by a relationship of
understanding and acceptance between the child and the therapist. It is
through this special relationship that the child is able to change and grow,


100
would like to share with the group. The completed pictures were then glued
to a felt banner and displayed In the group's meeting room.
Clay is an activity that is appealing to children because it takes little
skill to work with. It provides a safe, nonthreatening way of communicating
and is useful as a concrete expression of ideas. Clay was used in the first
session to help group members become acquainted, develop group
interaction and self-disclosure, increase group trust and group cohesiveness,
and develop an understanding of feelings in self and others. Group
members were asked to make something that they would like to receive as
a present from someone else. Then, they made something that they would
like to give someone else as a present. Clay was also used in the final
session of the unit to reinforce learned skills of cooperation and sharing and
to facilitate termination. For this session, group members were asked to
make something symbolizing what they learned in the group.
Using creative dramatics provides an opportunity to explore
alternative behaviors to a situation and gain insight into experiences. The
"as if" nature of play-acting allows children to explore behaviors without
risking embarrassment or shame. This unit used creative dramatics during
the third session to develop group interaction and self-disclosure, increase
group trust and group cohesiveness, and develop an understanding of
feelings in self and others. Group members pantomimed feelings in a game
of feelings charades. In session seven, creative dramatics was used in
conjunction with puppets to develop an understanding of the consequences


155
should take opportunities to talk about working together, helping each
other, and the importance of everyone contributing in order to
accomplish the task. When the task has been completed, the group
leader glues the pieces down on the felt to form the banner.
5.To conclude the group, use a go-around and ask each member to say
one thing they liked about the group today. The group leader begins by
modeling a response such as "I like the way Fred shared the green
marker with Amy." Acknowledge each response. Remind group
members of the next group meeting. Dismiss the group.
Session 3-What's Mv Feeling?
Objectives:
1. To continue to develop group interaction and self-disclosure
2. To continue to develop group trust
3. To continue to develop group cohesiveness
4. To continue to develop awareness of self and others
5. To continue to develop awareness and understanding of feelings in
self and others
6. To review group rules
7. To reinforce names of group members
Plav Media: Creative Dramatics


98
SPSS for Windows, 7.0. This statistical program evaluates whether the
population mean on a single dependent variable differs across multiple
factors adjusting for a single covariate. Therefore, multiple ANCOVAs were
necessary.
Independent Variable
The independent variable in this study was a developmental guidance
unit utilizing play media. The unit is composed of ten sessions of
approximately forty minutes each, in which play media (e.g. clay, art,
guided imagery, and games) was used in structured counseling activities. It
was delivered twice a week to students in groups of six to eight over a
period of five weeks. The Counselor-Led (E1) groups (n = 23) were
replicated in each grade for a total of four groups. There were three Peer-
Led (E2) groups (n = 23), one in the fourth grade, one in the fifth grade, and
one mixed grades group. Further, there were two control groups (E3) that
received no planned intervention (n = 17).
The Developmental Unit
The developmental guidance unit used for this study (See Appendix
A) is based on the use of play and play media. The play media used in this
study involved art, clay, creative dramatics, games, guided imagery, and


A DEVELOPMENTAL UNIT FEATURING PLAY MEDIA
FOR DISRUPTIVE FOURTH AND FIFTH GRADE STUDENTS
By
JO-ANNE FLAX
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1998


73
reported a considerable diminishing of destructive, aggressive play as time
passed (Axline, 1948).
Willock (1983) presented an approach to working with an aggressive,
acting-out child. The play therapy intervention was conducted over a period
of two years, one year of which was in a residential setting. Willcock
reported that although the treatment was terminated prematurely, the child
was successful in achieving an acceptable level of adjustment.
Moustakas (1951) utilized play therapy with children who were facing
new family experiences which they perceived as threatening such as the
arrival of a new sibling (Moustakas, 1951). The arrival of a new baby in the
family is a common source of confusion, aggression, stress, and anxiety for
children. Moustakas (1951) reported therapeutic gains in terms of
emotional insight and feelings of security and comfort within themselves.
Schiffer (1957) related an early attempt to work with small groups of
young children in the school setting who were exhibiting emotional
disturbances that could not be addressed in the classroom. The cases
reported were of children in the second and third grade. While no statistical
data was offered, the author reported that many of the children
demonstrated improved functioning in the classroom and in the
neighborhood as a result of their participation in the play group (Schiffer,
1957).
Bleck and Bleck (1982) related the results of a play group for
disruptive children in a public elementary school setting. These researchers


Therapeutic Uses of Play 64
Play Therapy 70
Play therapy as an intervention 71
Play therapy and play counseling 74
Play Counseling in the Elementary School 76
Play media 79
Structured counseling 82
Peer Facilitators 83
Summary 90
3 METHODS AND PROCEDURES 91
Population and Sample 92
Population 92
Sample 93
Research Design 95
Hypotheses 96
Analyses of Data 97
Independent Variable 98
The Developmental Unit 98
Unit Leadership and Leader Training 104
Dependent Variables 106
Acting-Out Behavior 107
Peer Relationships 107
Self-Concept 108
Student Classroom Behavior 109
Instrumentation 109
Walker Problem Behavior Identification Checklist (WPBIC) 110
Reliability of the Walker Problem Behavior Identification
Checklist 112
Validity of the Walker Problem Behavior Identification
Checklist 113
Student Self-Concept Scale (SSCS) 115
Reliability of the Student Self-Concept Scale 118
Validity of the Student Self-Concept Scale 119
Disruptive Behavior Rating Scale 124
Summary 125
4 RESEARCH FINDINGS 126
Acting-Out Behavior 127
Disturbed Peer Relationships 130
Self-Concept 133
Classroom Behavior - 136
iv


29
Another syndrome that has received a great deal of attention is
Conduct Disorder. Children who are conduct disordered display a broad
range of acting-out behaviors, ranging from annoying but relatively minor
behaviors such as yelling, whining, and temper tantrums to aggression,
physical destructiveness, and stealing. Typically, these behaviors do not
occur in isolation but as a complex of related behaviors. Conduct
disordered children have been labeled oppositional, antisocial, and socially
aggressive. Conduct disorders have been estimated to account for three to
four percent of the general population and boys are diagnosed as conduct
disordered two to three times more frequently than girls (McMahon & Wells,
1989). Patterson (1986) noted that researchers believe that the familial
socialization processes may be the major causal factor in the development
and maintenance of conduct-disordered behaviors.
Several authors have attempted to explain the disruptive behavior of
children in the classroom who have not been identified as ADHD or Conduct
Disordered. Gartrell (1994), a developmental educator, takes the position
that children do not actually misbehave. Instead, he suggested that what
adults see as disruptive, defiant, or other inappropriate behavior is mistaken
behavior. Young children are in the beginning stages of learning prosocial
behavior. They have limited experience dealing with the complex skills of
expressing strong emotions acceptably and getting along with others. It
may take some individuals into their adulthood before these interpersonal
skills are mastered. In this most complex of learning activities, then,


141
could not be rejected in terms of gender (F = .870, p = .355). The ANCOVA
results for experimental condition, grade, and gender suggest that the
intervention did not prove to be statistically significant in terms of reducing
disruptive classroom behavior as assessed by the Teacher Scale of the
Disruptive Behavior Rating Scale.
Table 4.9
Summary Table for Analysis of Covariance for Classroom Behavior (Teacher Scale)
by Experimental Condition, Grade, and Gender
(at .05 level of confidence)
Source
Sum of
Squares
df
Mean Square
F
P
Model
39805.9
13
3061.993
135.236
.000
Covariate
3089.886
1
3089.886
136.468
.000
Treatment
Exp. Condition
33.441
2
16.720
.738
.483
Grade
21.166
1
21.166
.935
.338
Gender
19.706
1
19.706
.870
.355
Expercon*Gender
43.571
2
21.786
.962
.389
Expercom*Grade
5.290
2
2.645
.117
.890
Gender*Grade
1.070
1
1.070
.047
.829
Expercon*Gender*Grade
28.723
2
14.361
.634
.535
Error
1132.094
50
22.642
Total
40938.0
62


17
viewed more positively, often as the treatment of choice (Knell, 1993).
There is growing evidence that brief therapy can be as productive as long
term treatment (Welter, 1982). Brief therapy typically involves fewer
sessions than its prolonged cousin, with an increased emphasis on the
presenting problems. Short-term interventions focus on specific problem
resolutions rather than more global interventions (Knell, 1993).
In the schools, brief counseling approaches can be a time-effective
vehicle for helping children in individual and group settings. Harrison (1993)
stated that brief approaches can be implemented with developmental,
preventative, and crisis situations thus making them ideal for the school
setting. Brief counseling tends to be action-oriented and geared towards
problem solving. They are logical, structured and usually progress in a step-
by-step manner.
Peer Facilitators
Myrick and Bowman (1981b) defined a peer facilitator as a student
who uses helping skills and concepts to assist other students and
sometimes adults to think about ideas and feelings, to explore alternatives
to situations, and to make responsible decisions. This concept is not a new
one, but can be traced back to the one-room schoolhouses of the 1930s
where the older, more skilled students helped the younger, less
accomplished students (Campbell, 1993).


118
Reliability of the Student Self-Concept Scale
Three methods were used to estimate the reliability of the Student
Self-Concept Scale, coefficient alpha, test-retest, and standard error of
measurement. Cronbach's coefficient alpha is a measure of internal
consistency, the extent to which all items of a scale measure the same
construct. Borg and Gall (1989) Indicated that Cronbach's Coefficient Alpha
is the appropriate method for computing reliability when test items have
several possible answers, each of which is given a different weight. The
values of the coefficient alpha index range from 0 (meaning there Is no
consistency of item responses) to 1 (meaning there is perfect consistency of
item responses). Coeffiecient alpha reliabilities for the Self-Confidence Scale
are relatively high, with the Total Composite score .90. The reliability
estimates for the Total Outcome Confidence Scale is .80. Ratings on the
Outcome Confidence Subscale are less internally consistent than Self-
Confidence or Importance ratings. The gender of the student did not appear
to influence the internal consistency estimates of any of the scales.
Test-retest reliability refers to the stability of the test scores when
readministered after a delay to the same sample. Then, the scores obtained
from two administrations are correlated in order to determine the coefficient
of stability. This form of reliability testing is useful when alternate forms of
a test are not available (Borg & Gall, 1989). To measure the test-retest
reliability of the SSCS, samples of students at the elementary and secondary
levels completed the Instrument on two occasions separated by


24
Disruptive Children
Disruptive student behavior is one of the most serious, ongoing
problems in public schools (Nelson, Dykeman, Powell, & Petty, 1996; Safran
& Safran, 1985; Walker, Colvin, & Ramsey, 1995). Disruptive behaviors
include verbal or physical aggression toward others or objects, teasing of
other children, and disturbing others with vocal outbursts at inappropriate
times. When teachers are asked about the major problems they encounter
in school, discipline problems and disruptive behavior are included among
their concerns (Brake & Gerler, Jr., 1994; Comer, 1988; Elam, Rose, &
Gallup, 1994; Hovland, Smaby, & Maddux, 1996) and is becoming an
increasing priority (Benshoff, Poidevant, & Cashwell, 1994). A significant
proportion of discipline problems arise from disruptive pupils in the
classroom creating difficult teaching conditions for teachers and frustration
and tension for students (Gaustad, 1992; Hovland, Smaby, & Maddux,
1996). An estimated twelve percent of elementary and middle school
children have been identified as disrupting others in a physical or
psychological way in the school setting (Hoover & Hazier, 1991).
Classroom behavior is an important factor in determining whether or
not children will experience academic success (Gerler, 1994). Further, the
behavior of disruptive children in the classroom may play a negative role in
the learning of others (Baker, 1985; Brake & Gerler, Jr., 1994; DuPaul &
Stoner, 1994; Hovland, Smaby, & Maddux, 1996; Nelson, Dykeman,


64
Therapeutic Uses of Plav
An approach to therapy or counseling is therapeutic if it results in a
verifiable improvement. The improvement itself may be a decrease in
symptoms (e.g. inappropriate talking in the classroom) or an increase in
desired behaviors (e.g. observing classroom rules). Schaefer (1993)
identified fourteen therapeutic factors in play that contribute to its
effectiveness. The factors relevant to this study are discussed.
Play, by its very nature is fun. It is a behavior that is pleasurable in
its own right and needs no incentive. The positive affect which
accompanies play contributes to a sense of well-being and relieves stress.
Further, research indicates that enjoyment of a task encourages children to
persist at that task (Schaefer, 1993). In this respect, play may be viewed
as therapeutic due to its motivational nature.
The establishment of rapport is a vital component in most theories of
counseling. Researchers have reported that poor therapeutic outcome has
been associated with lack of rapport (Colson, Cornsweet, & Murphy, 1991).
Rapport is particularly important when one is working with young children
since in most cases they do not voluntarily come to counseling. Typically,
children come to counseling because their parents or teachers want them to
be there. Usually they do not feel troubled, but they are troublesome to
those around them (Schaefer, 1993). Play can be particularly helpful in
establishing rapport with a child (Campbell, 1993b). Play provides an


83
In a structured approach, the counselor is more assertive and
directive. The counselor designs the activity, chooses the play medium, and
makes the rules (Carter, 1987). Through the structured use of activities
such as drawing, clay sculpture, puppetry, creative dramatics, games, and
guided imagery, the goals of an intervention can be addressed in a short
term approach.
Peer Facilitators
A peer facilitator is a student who uses helping skills and concepts to
assist other students and sometimes adults to think about ideas and
feelings, to explore alternatives to situations, and to make responsible
decisions (Myrick, 1992; Myrick & Bowman, 1981b; Tobias & Seagraves,
1994). Similarly, Tindall (1989) wrote that peer counselors are
nonprofessionals who use counseling skills to help their peers.
A search of the literature revealed that there are many terms used to
identify peer facilitators: peer counselors, peer helpers, peer leaders, peer
mentors, peer pals, big brothers, big sisters, and peer tutors (Myrick,
Highland, & Sabella, 1995). For the purpose of this study, these terms are
considered to be synonymous with the term peer facilitator.
The idea of using students to help other students is not new. Its use
can be traced back to the one-room schoolhouses of the 1930s where the
older, more skilled students helped the younger, less skilled students


169
Session 9-Be A Star!
Objectives:
1. To continue to develop group interaction and self-disclosure
2. To continue to develop group trust and cohesiveness
3. To continue to develop awareness of self and others
4. To continue to develop awareness and understanding of feelings in
self and others
5. To review group rules and reinforce names of group members
6. To develop an understanding of disruptive behavior
7. To develop an understanding of the consequences of disruptive
behavior and consider alternative behaviors
8. To prepare the group for termination
Plav Media: Creative Dramatics
Materials: group rules poster
Procedure:
1. Group members should know each other by now. Try to use each
child's name during discussion to reinforce this knowledge. Use the
rules poster as needed to remind group members when necessary about
the rules.


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11
Theoretical Bases for the Study
Developmental Guidance and Counseling
Developmental guidance and counseling during the school years
attempts to identify the basic skills, interpersonal understandings, and
experiences children need to be successful In school and in later life.
Students are given the opportunity to learn about themselves and others
before problems arise in their lives. If a crisis should occur, then the
children will have a basis of knowledge and experience from which to draw
to resolve the problem for themselves. In this way, a developmental
approach enables students to learn effectively and efficiently within a
learning climate that fosters academic and personal growth (ASCA, 1990).
Developmental counseling focuses on the goals of self-understanding
and self-awareness leading to self-acceptance (Dinkmeyer, 1966).
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and counseling. It appears that significant attitudes about self, others,
school, and society, which affect how a person learns and later functions as
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34
extremely discouraged, avoidance may occur. A child is likely to give up,
become passive, and refuse to try anything in an effort to avoid the risk of
future failure.
Studer (1996) addressed the causes of a particularly troublesome
disruptive behavior, aggression. Aggression presents a significant challenge
to educators and is considered a primary concern of teachers (Elam, Rose, &
Gallup, 1994). There appear to be many causes of aggressive behavior in
young children including biological variables, family influences, and the
impact of television and other media (Studer, 1996).
Body chemicals such as testosterone and serotonin may influence
aggressive behavior. However, environment is also believed to play a part
in aggressive behavior. Studer (1996) suggested that there is evidence to
support the belief that nature and nurture are both factors in aggression
(Studer, 1996).
The role of the family is important in the development of aggression.
Meyers (1993) cited the family as the most violent institution in our society
after the military and law enforcement agencies. Discipline is considered a
key element in the development of aggressive, antisocial behaviors. When
parents use a physical approach to discipline their children, children learn
that battering or physical reactions are normal, effective methods for
expressing frustration. Children exposed to acts of force learn that
aggression is an acceptable problem-solving technique (Studer, 1996).


13
child is aware of the alternatives involved in a situation, self-acceptance is
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one's strengths and weaknesses, having a sense of personal worth and self-
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successfully, being responsible for choices and actions, and understanding
one's own feelings and actions.
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solving, interpersonal and communication skills, and school success skills.
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of children to build such skills as effective problem solving, moral decision
making, and satisfying interpersonal relationships with peers and adults is of
greatest importance. The developmental model allows for learning to take


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53
generally believed childhood disorders were caused by deficiencies in the
child's education and training (Landreth, 1991).
At the start of the twentieth century, there was no uniform
therapeutic psychological approach being used with children. Play therapy
developed from early efforts to apply the principles of psychoanalytic
therapy to children.
Psychoanalytic play therapy
The psychoanalytic approach to play therapy makes no attempt to
pressure the child in any predetermined direction or alternate course of
action. Play is used as a means of establishing contact with the child, a
method of observation and source of data, and as a vehicle for
interpretative insight. Landreth (1991) termed the work of Hermine Hug-
Hellmuth, Anna Freud, and Melanie Klein as revolutionary in changing
attitudes about children and their problems.
Hermine Hug-Hellmuth (1921) was one of the first to emphasize the
use of play in child analysis by providing children with play materials to
facilitate self expression. She called attention to the difficulty of applying
adult therapeutic approaches to working with children. She stressed that
children are unable to express their anxieties verbally as adults do, making
free association, a fundamental technique In adult psychoanalysis, of little
use.


76
use of play since 1993. The Journal of Counseling and Development has
devoted only two articles to this area in the last three years. It would
appear that the use of play as a counseling intervention has not reached the
popularity that play therapy has held in the mental health field, perhaps
accounting for the continued emphasis on play therapy rather than play
media or play counseling.
Plav Counseling in the Elementary School
The use of play in the elementary grades is not new. Kindergarten
and primary grade teachers have utilized various play media such as
puppets, art, and creative dramatics as teaching tools in the classroom.
Further, they have recognized that play helps children build confidence in
dealing with academic and interpersonal environments. The elementary
school counselor builds upon the natural use of play with the young child.
As Landreth (1983) indicated, it would seem that it is not a question of
whether the elementary school counselor should use play, but how play
should be used in elementary schools.
Until the 1960s, play therapy was used mainly by private practitioners
who were treating children considered to be maladjusted. However, during
the 1960s and early 1970s, play counseling became a popular form of
intervention in the schools. Many counselor educators such as Landreth
(1969), Myrick and Haldin (1971), and Waterland (1970) began to publish
their experiences using play as a therapeutic vehicle. To these and other


43
goal of a developmental approach is school success, a final point with
special significance to this study is the goal of school success. Here,
conflict resolution with peers and teachers and the development of positive
attitudes and habits are stressed, enabling children to get the most out of
the school experience.
Learning and growth is emphasized through programs designed to
enhance the positive development of individuals and groups. To accomplish
this goal, developmental counselors frequently make use of a unit, an
organized set of understandings and experiences designed to facilitate
personal, social, and academic growth. Through a series of counseling
sessions delivered individually, in small groups, or in the classroom setting,
the normal concerns or target problem situations are addressed through a
sequential set of procedures and activities.
In 1970, Dinkmeyer published Developing Understanding of Self and
Others (DUSO). This is a guidance program that can help children learn
about themselves and others through a variety of activities suitable for use
in the classroom and small groups. This structured program set an example
for the development of guidance units and sessions at all grade levels
(Myrick, 1993).
Many developmental guidance units have been successfully
implemented in small groups on the elementary school level. For example,
units have been designed to increase social competence (Coppock, 1993;
Mehaffey & Sandberg, 1992), build self-esteem (Coppock, 1993), reduce


51
skills (Bergen, 1988) and prepare for the sophisticated activities of the
modern world.
The dynamic theories offer explanations of why people play by
looking at the play process. Two theories are identified by Gilmore (1971).
The first is derived from psychoanalytic theory which considers play to be a
cathartic activity. Catharsis refers to the arousal and discharge of strong
emotions, both positive and negative, for therapeutic relief (Schaefer,
1993). Catharsis allows for the expression of difficult emotional feelings
and their ultimate mastery. By playing out difficult circumstances and
having the opportunity to master feelings through play, children internalize
what has been learned and are better able to handle the reality. Play helps
children cope with difficult situations such as the first day of school, going
to the hospital, or the birth of a new sibling.
A second dynamic theory is based on the work of Piaget (1962).
Piaget viewed the development of intelligence as a process of assimilation
and accommodation. In assimilation, an individual takes information from
the outside world and fits that information into the organizing framework of
what is already known. In the process of accommodation, the individual is
able to modify these frameworks when needed to deal with new knowledge
and information. Therefore, to Piaget, the process of play promotes a
child's creativity and flexible thinking. It is a way of taking elements from
the outside world and manipulating them so that they fit into the individual's
organizational scheme.


49
to understand why children play has been going on for hundreds of years.
Gilmore (1971) identified six theories of play that he categorized as either
classical or dynamic theories to explain play. However, as Schaefer (1993)
cautioned, while the different explanations or theories of play have some
validity, there is no unifying theory that integrates all the positive qualities
of play.
The older, classical theories, were formulated in the mid to late
nineteenth century. The Surplus Energy Theory was proposed by the
nineteenth century British philosopher Herbert Spencer (1873) based on the
writings of Friedrich von Schiller (Millar, 1974). This theory postulates that
there is a certain quantity of energy available to an organism, and the
organism tends to expend that energy either in goal-directed activity (work),
or in non-goal directed activity (play). Animals lower on the evolutionary
scale than man use more of their energy in survival activities such as
looking for food and escaping from predators. Children are likely to have a
greater range of skills than animals and will tend to have extra energy
beyond that which is needed for survival. The surplus energy will build up
and exert internal pressure which is released through activity such as play
(Millar, 1974; Schaefer, 1993). Any time the children have more energy
available than is needed for work, play occurs. The content of the play is
not important and one form of play can be easily substituted for another.
The Relaxation, or Recreation Theory, states that play is used to
replenish energy expended in work. Proposed by the German poet Moritz


124
higher Self-Image Outcome Confidence (X = 6.7, SD = 2.2) ratings than
females (X = 6.4, SD = 2.3).
Internal consistency is an indicator of the validity of an instrument.
Coefficient alpha was used to determine the internal consistency of the
SSCS. A reliability factor of .91 was found for Self-Confidence Composite
ratings and .82 for Outcome Confidence Composite ratings suggesting that
there is a high rate of homogeneity among items. The interrelationship of
subscales to one another and to Composites was also examined as another
check of internal consistency. The correlations among the Subscales were
found to be highly consistent in a theoretically expected pattern and provide
evidence for the construct validity of the SSCS (Gresham, Elliott, & Evans-
Fernandez, 1993).
Based on the various studies conducted to evaluate the validity of the
SSCS, there would seem to be sufficient evidence to support the content,
criterion-related, and construct validity of the instrument. Gresham, Elliott,
and Evans-Fernandez (1993) cited the consistent findings of these studies
as evidence in support of the validity of the SSCS.
Disruptive Behavior Rating Scale
The Disruptive Behavior Rating Scale (Bleck, 1977) is a brief
questionnaire using a Likert response scale. Both the student and teacher
respond to a twelve item survey regarding the student's classroom behavior.
The statements require the respondent to circle the word or phrase that best


I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms
to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in
scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Robert D. Myrick, Chair
Professor of Counselor Education
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms
to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in
scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
i/ittmer
stinguished Service Professor of
Counselor Education
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms
to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and Is fully adequate, in
scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms
to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in
scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
M. David Miller
Professor of Foundations of Education


41
helps students learn effectively and efficiently within a learning climate that
fosters academic and personal growth by examining the specific
developmental concerns and identifying appropriate counseling interventions
(ASCA, 1990; Myrick, 1993; Neukrug, Barr, Hoffman, & Kaplan, 1993).
In the school setting, developmental concerns typically include peer
relationships, getting along better with parents, siblings and teachers,
making new friends, and dealing with feelings (Dinkmeyer & Muro, 1977).
Further, emphasis is placed on assisting individual students with the
resolution of special problems and concerns (Morrill, Oetting, & Hurst,
1974). Developmental counseling is an attempt to meet the needs of all
students, addressing their concerns, helping them to find answers to their
questions, and helping them to make appropriate choices. Those learning
behaviors and tasks that are considered Important are offered to
complement the academic curriculum. Further, the life skills necessary for
adulthood are emphasized as part of the program (Hoffman, 1991).
The opportunity to learn about oneself and relationships with others
before encountering a problem is a cornerstone of the developmental model.
The children learn interpersonal skills, then. If a crisis situation does occur,
they are able to draw upon skills to work out the problem. As students
learn to interact with others in a positive and effective manner, they take a
more active part in learning, and in doing so, help create a positive school
environment (Myrick, 1993).


140
In regard to experimental condition, there was not sufficient evidence
to reject the null hypothesis (F = .250, p = .779). There was insufficient
evidence to reject the null hypothesis in terms of grade difference on the
Disruptive Behavior Rating Scale (F = .004, p = .952). Further, the hypothesis
could not be rejected in terms of gender (F = 2.763, p = .103). The ANCOVA
results for experimental condition, grade, and gender suggest that the
intervention did not prove to be statistically significant in terms of reducing
disruptive classroom behavior as assessed by the Student Scale of the
Disruptive Behavior Rating Scale.
Table 4.8
Summary Table for Analysis of Covariance for Classroom Behavior (Student Scale)
by Experimental Condition, Grade, and Gender
(at .05 level of confidence)
Source
Sum of
Squares
df
Mean Square
F
P
Model
24616.0
13
1893.536
59.209
.000
Covariate
664.116
1
664.116
20.766
.000
Treatment
Exp. Condition
16.020
2
8.010
.250
.779
Grade
.118
1
.118
.004
.952
Gender
88.357
1
88.357
2.763
.103
Expercon*Gender
5.019
2
2.509
.078
.925
Expercon*Grade
10.980
2
5.490
.172
.843
Gender*Grade
.627
1
.627
.020
.889
Expercon*Gender*Grade
15.460
2
7.730
.242
.786
Error
1599.034
50
31.981
Total
26215.0
62
In regard to experimental condition, there was not sufficient evidence
to reject the null hypothesis (F = .738, p = .483). There was insufficient
evidence to reject the null hypothesis in terms of grade difference on the
Disruptive Behavior Rating Scale (F = .935. p = ,338). Further, the hypothesis


62
Dorfman (1958) matched a group of children considered to be
maladjusted to a control group of maladjusted children. After an average of
nineteen weeks of child-centered play therapy delivered on a weekly basis,
the children receiving treatment showed significant improvement in
adjustment over the controls. Important factors in this study were that the
therapeutic sessions took place in school and the children were considered
maladjusted by their teachers.
A 1964 study by Seeman, Barry, and Ellinwood using random
assignment to experimental conditions demonstrated positive results among
children with poor school adjustment and aggressive behavior. After
treatment in child-centered play therapy concluded, a one year follow-up
was conducted. At this time, children in the treatment group had lower
than average scores on aggression, whereas the control group had higher
than average aggression scores.
Reif and Stollak (1972, as cited in Guerney, 1983) conducted a study
that used undergraduate students as therapists. The study intended to
demonstrate that non-professionals (in this case undergraduate students),
when trained and supervised in conducting child-centered therapy, could
produce therapeutic conditions and demonstrate positive changes in
essentially normal children (Guerney, 1983). The control group was offered
a placebo therapy. The untrained undergraduates played in whatever way
they chose to provide the child with a positive experience. The results
indicated that children receiving child-centered play sessions delivered by


134
teacher calls on me," and "If I take turns in games, others will want to play
with me". Students were asked to read each statement and circle a number
corresponding to their level of confidence, perceived Importance, and
outcome confidence in the task. Scores on pre and post-test represent the
total of raw scores in each of the three sub-test areas.
The self-concept score was obtained by adding together the raw
scores from the three pre-tests of the Student Self-Concept Scale. The
lowest possible score for self-concept would be 0 and the maximum score
would be 238. Higher scores would tend to indicate a better self-concept
than lower scores. On pre-test, the scores were distributed from a minimum
of 63 to a maximum of 233 with a mean score of 154.03 (SD = 34.94). On
post-test, the scores were distributed from a minimum of 39 to a maximum
of 224 with a mean score of 157.29 (SD = 36.09).
Three separate hypotheses (Hypothesis 3, Hypothesis 5, and
Hypothesis 6) were examined within the dependent variable self-concept:
Ho3: There will be no statistically significant difference among the
three experimental groups In terms of self-concept, as measured by
the Student Self-Concept Scale.
Ho5: There will be no statistically significant difference across the
dependent measures between grade levels in terms of self-concept.
Ho6: There will be no statistically significant difference across the
dependent measures among the experimental groups for male and
female subjects in terms of self-concept.


2
Teachers are concerned about these children and often refer them to
administrators, counselors, or for special placement. What is the best way
to help these children? What counseling approaches might be used?
Steve is a fourth grade student who hits other children with no
apparent provocation. He is frequently out of his seat in the classroom and
does not comply with his teacher's directions. Reading, arithmetic, and
other academic subjects are difficult for him. He blurts out answers and
often teases other children in the classroom and on the playground. No one
has been able to find an effective way to help Steve control himself.
Jennifer, a fifth grade student, pouts when things don't go her way
and loses her temper easily. She frequently argues with her teacher and
other children. She rarely completes a reading or arithmetic assignment and
often destroys the work she does. Jennifer blames other children for her
mistakes and lashes out at them in an angry way. Her classmates leave her
out of free-time activities. The teacher is concerned about Jennifers
behavior and the impact it is having on other students.
Steve and Jennifer might be sent to the school principal, who would
probably talk briefly with them. Some principals lecture, reprimand, or even
threaten such children as they talk about how behavior must change. A
parent-teacher conference might be arranged. Or the children could be
referred to a school counselor who might also talk with them about their
classroom behaviors, their consequences and possible alternatives.


108
experience rejection and be left out of group activites (Asher, Parkhurst,
Hymel, & Williams, 1990; Coie, Dodge, & Kupersmidt, 1990; Jewett,
1992). Children who have experienced rejection by their peers are likely to
report high levels of loneliness and personal unhappiness (Dodge, 1989).
Further, Dodge (1989) reported that there is sufficient evidence to indicate
that positive peer relationships are necessary for educational success.
Self-Concept
The self-concept is the total picture of how one sees oneself including
beliefs, attitudes, and opinions that each person holds to be true about
oneself. Self-esteem is the value a person holds for oneself based on the
self-concept. For the purposes of this study, the self-concept will be
measured in terms of: 1) self-confidence, the level of confidence children
have in their ability to perform a task; 2) importance, perceptions about the
importance of performing an activity; and 3) outcome confidence, how sure
children are that positive outcomes will result from performing certain
activities.
Landreth (1993) cited poor self-esteem as a basic cause of many
academic and social problems in elementary school-age children. Further,
children with high self-esteem generally do better in school than those with
lower self-esteem (Holly, 1992). Gerler and Myrick (1991) suggested that
children cannot realize their full potential unless they have healthy self
concepts.


19
Since the 1970s, hundreds of articles have appeared in the literature
describing successful programs and substantiating the effectiveness of peer
programs aimed at reducing the school drop-out rate as well as increasing
appropriate school behaviors and positive attitudes toward school
(Campbell, 1993). For example, Mathur and Rutherford (1991b) conducted
a review of the literature dealing with peer interventions in promoting social
skills of children and adolescents with behavioral disorders. Their results
indicated that peer-mediated interventions were successful in reducing
behavioral problems. A study conducted by Fouts (1985) demonstrated the
effectiveness of eighth grade facilitators with sixth graders self-concept and
attitude toward school. Similarly, fifth grade peer facilitators successfully
worked with disruptive students in the second and third grade to increase
desired classroom behavior (Bowman & Myrick, 1987). Peer facilitators
have become accepted as an important part of a developmental counseling
program. Clearly, a peer facilitator program can be a powerful counselor
intervention (Myrick, 1993).
Definition of Terms
Acting-Out Behavior: Acting-out behavior is behavior which is described as
inappropriate such as arguing with those in authority, defiance of
instructions, and temper tantrums. Acting-out behavior includes physical
aggression toward objects or others.


93
Sample
The Frank P. Long School serves as the fourth and fifth grade center
in the South Country Schools. The administration was invited and agreed to
participate in the study. All twenty-three teachers of non-special education
fourth and fifth grade classes were invited to participate. Eighteen teachers,
twelve fourth grade and six fifth grade, agreed to participate and were
asked to identify students whom they believed were exhibiting disruptive
behaviors. A descriptive paragraph defining "disruptive behavior" was given
to each teacher for use in identifying students. Seventy-two disruptive
fourth and fifth grade students were identified and invited to take part in the
study. Each identified student was randomly assigned a number beginning
with 01 and ending 72. Of these students, sixty-five returned the
necessary Institutional Review Board consent forms and using a table of
random numbers, were assigned to one of the experimental groups: the
counselor-led developmental unit (E1); the peer-led developmental unit (E2);
or control (E3). Thus, twenty-four students were assigned to the four
counselor-led (E1) groups, twenty-four to the three peer-led (E2) groups,
and the remaining seventeen to the control groups (E3). Classroom
teachers completed a Walker Problem Behavior Identification Checklist
(WPBIC) and a Disruptive Behavior Ratino Scale (DBRS) for each of the
identified students.
Students identified by a psychologist or other qualified mental health
professional as ADHD or Conduct Disordered, or taking medication for a


128
Ho1: There will be no statistically significant difference among the
three experimental groups (E1, E2, and E3) in terms of acting-out
behavior, as measured by Scale 1 of the Walker Problem Behavior
Identification Checklist (WPBIC).
Ho5: There will be no statistically significant difference across the
dependent measures between grade levels in terms of acting-out
behavior.
Ho6: There will be no statistically significant difference across the
dependent measures among the experimental groups for male and
female subjects in terms of acting-out behavior.
As illustrated in Table 4.1, the mean for the Counselor-led groups was
5.44 on pre-test and 5.09 on post-test. On pre-test, the Peer Facilitator-led
groups scored 5.57, the post-test mean was 5.78. The control group mean
was 7.24 for both the pre-test and the post-test. Grade 4 students scored a
mean of 5.58 on pre test, and 5.98 on post-test, while students in Grade 5
scored 6.65 and 5.83 on pre- and post-test respectively. In terms of gender,
the mean for males was 5.83 on pre-test, and 4.97 on post-test. For female
subjects, a mean of 6.15 was achieved on pre test, while the mean on post
test was 7.19.
An analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was conducted using the pre
test as the covariate. The dependent variable, acting-out behavior, was
examined in terms of experimental condition, grade, and gender. The results
of this analysis are reported in Table 4.2.


116
other intervention strategies; as a pre-referral instrument for regular
education students who are experiencing behavioral or emotional problems;
as part of a comprehensive evaluation to assess self-concept for students
being referred for learning and behavioral problems in an educational or
mental health facility; as a follow-up assessment of self-concept for children
receiving specialized educational intervention; and, as a component of
reasearch projects utilizing self-concept as a variable.
The SSCS assesses self-concept in terms of three rating dimensions:
self-confidence, importance, and outcome confidence. Self-confidence
refers to the level of confidence individuals have in their ability to perform
certain behaviors. The personal assessment of the value of performing
certain behaviors is considered its importance. Outcome confidence is the
degree of confidence that positive outcomes will result from the
performance of certain behaviors (Gresham, Elliott, & Evans-Fernandez,
1993).
The rating dimensions of self-confidence, importance, and outcome
confidence are applied to content domains of self-image, academic self-
concept, and social self-concept. The self-image domain assesses self-
concept in terms of self-esteem by looking at personally valued behaviors or
culturally valued personal attributes (e.g. performance in sports, physical
skills, self-worth, popularity, and physical attractiveness). The academic
domain looks at self-concept in terms of the student's self-perception
relating to confidence in performing academic tasks. The social domain


the Disruptive Behavior Rating Scale. The teachers of these students
completed the DBRS and the Walker Problem Behavior Identification
Checklist. Analyses of covariance were conducted for the dependent
variables of acting-out behavior, peer relationships, self-concept, and
classroom behavior using SPSS for Windows. 7.0. Further, gender
differences and group leadership were examined in terms of these variables.
The results of this study showed no statistically significant differences
among experimental and control groups for acting-out behavior, self-concept,
or classroom behavior in regard to group leadership or grade level. Peer
relationships was found to have a statistically significant difference between
grade levels. On post-test, students in Grade 5 scored significantly lower,
indicating better peer relationships, than students in Grade 4.
vii


44
disruptive behavior (Brake & Gerler, Jr., 1994; Bleck & Bleck, 1982), teach
anger management techniques (Phillips-Hershey & Kanagy, 1996), raise
academic achievement (Bourwell & Myrick, 1992; Lee, 1993), reduce stress
(Romano, Miller, & Nordness, 1996), improve attitude and motivation
toward school (Myrick & Campbell, 1990; Myrick & Dixon, 1985) and
increase cultural awareness (Blum & Toenniessen, 1992). The use of the
developmental units in the schools is an effective counselor intervention that
is structured to take advantage of time and allows children to work together
in a natural, comfortable setting.
Developmental Plav Counseling
Play counseling may have a developmental focus when children are
helped to cope with stressful situations in their lives (Campbell, 1993b).
Child-centered play therapy has been used effectively in elementary schools.
Landreth (1993) suggested that it is, perhaps more than any other play
therapy approach, truly developmental in nature, because there is no
pressure on children to change. Child-centered play therapy can be used
effectively by elementary school counselors to aid change and growth in a
variety of developmental problem areas experienced by children such as lack
of self-control, socially inappropriate behavior and the development of self
esteem (Landreth, 1993).
DeMaria and Cowden (1992) pointed to the conceptual fit of the
child-centered approach and the development of the self-concept. Many of


21
and feelings, to explore alternatives to situations, and to make responsible
decisions (Myrick & Bowman, 1981b).
Plav Media: Play media consists of materials utilized in the play process
such as clay, puppets and dolls, music, drama, and games to facilitate
imagination, elicit emotional expression, and learn interpersonal and
behavioral skills.
Self-Concept: The self-concept is defined as the totality of a complex,
organized, and dynamic system of learned beliefs, attitudes, and opinions
that each person holds to be true about his or her personal existence
(Purkey, 1992).
Organization of the Study
The related literature in the areas of disruptive children and the
treatment of their behavioral symptoms, developmental guidance, play
counseling, and the use of peer facilitators will be addressed in Chapter II.
The population and sample for the study, independent and dependent
variables, the various instrumentation utilized, research design, hypotheses,
participant training, the structured, developmental play unit, data analysis, a
review of methodological limitations and an implementation schedule are
outlined in Chapter III. The results of the study will be


7
Smaby, & Maddux, 1996; Perez-Selles & Hergert, 1989; Webb, 1992;
Weinberg & Weinberg, 1992). Further, children who demonstrate social
difficulties experience both short and long term consequences which appear
to be precursors of more serious problems in adolescence and adulthood
(Jones, Sheridan, & Binns, 1983).
In a poll conducted by Elam, Rose, & Gallup (1994), educators
Identified lack of student discipline as being a primary concern in the
schools. Comer, Haynes, Hamilton-Lee, and Boger (1988) reported that
when teachers are asked about the major problems they encounter in the
schools, lack of discipline is included. Further, Safran and Safran (1985)
referred to disruptive student behavior as among the most pressing
problems in elementary schools today. Thompson, White, and Morgan
(1982) point to the disproportionate amount of time taken from classroom
instruction to deal with disruptive behavior.
Among teachers, aggressive student behavior consistently is ranked
as one of the most objectionable forms of disruptive student behavior (Hersh
& Walker, 1983; Nelson, Dykeman, Powell, & Petty, 1996; Walker, 1986).
Hoover and Hazier (1991) found that teachers in elementary and middle
school grades regularly identify approximately twelve percent of students as
disruptive to others in a physical or psychological way. Teachers frequently
turn to the school counselor for help in dealing with disruptive children.
Play counseling has been found to be a successful intervention with
disruptive children In the elementary school (Bleck & Bleck, 1982). Time for


68
Schaefer (1993) pointed out that the more children are able to experience
situations from the perspective of another, the less egocentric they become.
Role playing has been found to be positively related to teacher ratings of
social competence, peer popularity, empathy, and prosocial behavior among
children (Rubin, Fein, & Bandenberg, 1983; Strayer & Roberts, 1989).
Play enhances the flexible and varied use of imagery (Schaefer,
1993). Children learn about themselves and enlarge their world by
fantasizing. In the world of imagination, children do not have to be satisfied
with current realities or their own limitations. Fantasy or make-believe play
allows children to create characters, settings, and events that may not be
part of their environment. Fantasy gives children power over their world,
even when that control is lacking is real life. Imagination can help children
overcome fears and anxieties through the development of feelings of
mastery over their environment.
Metaphoric teaching, or myths, is an important therapeutic function
of play. Schaefer (1993) called humans myth-making beings who create
reality by believing in stories they have told about it. Myths help shape an
individual's belief system. Through the use of myth, or story telling,
messages can be communicated to the child that address conflicts, fears,
and other problems the child may be experiencing. The story may offer
more adaptive solutions for problems. Gardner (1993) employed the use of
mutual storytelling to help a child discover different solutions for and
perspectives in troubling situations. Mills and Crowley (1986) supported the


171
Plav Media: Clay
Materials: play-doh for each group member
Procedure:
1. Remind group members that this will be their last group session
together. Allow time for any comments. Acknowledge feelings.
2. Distribute cans of play-doh from the first session. Tell group
members to use the clay to make something that explains one thing they
learned in the group that they think will help them do better in school.
Use a go-around and have members share responses.
3. Ask each group member to think of something they would like to
remember about the group. It can be a new skill, a new friend, a
favorite activity. Instruct them to show the group what they want to
remember by making something with the clay. Use a go-around and
have members share responses.
4.When there are approximately 10 minutes remaining, tell the group
that they will be leaving soon and the group will be ending. Use a final
go-around for any comments they would like to make. Respond by
acknowledging and comment as appropriate. When everyone has had a
chance to respond, thank the group and dismiss them.


194
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143
The intervention lasted eight weeks. During the first week, teachers
of fourth and fifth grade students were asked to identify those students who
they considered to be disruptive in their classrooms based on a written
example which described and defined disruptive behavior. These students
were randomly assigned to one of the three experimental groups (El, E2, or
E3). During the second week, students who returned the necessary IRB
forms were pre-tested on the Student Version of the Disruptive Behavior
Rating Scale and the Student Self-Concept Scale. Further, teachers of these
students were asked to complete the Teacher's Version of the Disruptive
Behavior Rating Scale and the Walker Problem Behavior Identification Scale.
The Counselor-led (E1) and Peer Facilitator-led (E2) groups participated in
two sessions per week lasting approximately 45 minutes each during weeks
three through seven. The control group (E3) met once a week for
approximately 45 minutes during weeks three through seven.
The group leaders of the Counselor-led and Peer Facilitator-led groups
followed the sessions as outlined in the facilitator's manual. Throughout the
intervention, adult leaders and Peer Facilitators received ongoing systematic
training and supervision from the principal investigator.
During the eighth week of the study, all participating students and
classroom teachers completed the post-test procedure. Students completed
the Student Version of the Disruptive Behavior Rating Scale and the Student
Self-Concept Scale. Teachers of these students were asked to complete the


APPENDIX A
GROUP LEADER'S MANUAL: THE DEVELOPMENTAL UNIT
General goals of the unit:
1. To help the child decrease the frequency of disruptive behavior.
2. To help the child clarify and accept feelings in self and others.
3. To foster cooperation and interdependence among group members by
encouraging consideration of the feelings and needs of others.
4. To help the child improve peer and teacher relationships.
5. To improve the self-concept of the child.
General procedures to be followed during each session:
1. Link responses when appropriate. Look for similarities and
differences.
2. Look for opportunities to focus on feelings-how did that make you
feel? Is that a pleasant feeling, or an unpleasant feeling?, etc.
3. Use high facilitative responses: feeling focused, clarifying, open-
ended questions.
4. Try to relate responses to the school situation. Ask questions that
involve school -related events when possible.
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as well as to consider new behavioral possibilities which lead to an
expansion of self-expression (Landreth, 1993). According to Axline (1950),
a play experience is therapeutic because it provides a secure
relationship between the child and the adult, so that the child has the
freedom and room to state himself in his own terms, exactly as he Is
at that moment in his own way and in his own time. (p. 68)
In the child-centered approach, the child determines the areas that
need to be explored and takes the lead In pursuing them as well as the
course of the relationship. The child-centered play therapist recognizes the
child's ability to move toward adjustment, independence, and self-
actualization and allows the child to set the pace. The child is free to play
or remain silent while the therapist actively reflects the child's thoughts and
feelings. There is no attempt to question or evaluate the child's thoughts or
expressions since this is considered to be interfering with the child's
responsibility in the relationship (Landreth, 1993).
The child-centered approach is grounded in the belief that behavior is
shaped by the individual's movement toward growth and the capacity for
self-direction. Behavior is caused by the drive toward complete self-
realization (Landreth, 1993). The child's behavior is seen as an effort to
satisfy needs within a personal framework of reality. Therefore, in order to
understand the child, the counselor must understand the child's perception
of reality (Landreth, 1993). Since the counselor tries to understand the
child's internal frame of reference, the counselor avoids judging the child's
behavior or trying to change the child.