A Gestalt approach to understand the meaning of trauma as perceived by grade 7 adolescents
Lazarou, Veniece Elaine.
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The aim of this study was to explore and describe the Grade 7 adolescents’ meaning of the phenomenon of trauma to gain a more comprehensive understanding of their perceptions in order to contribute to dialogue and discourse. Current literature was used to provide an overview of the theoretical underpinnings of this study which included a summary of the key tenets as well as an overview of the relevant core theoretical assumptions of Gestalt Therapy theory, early adolescence as a developmental stage, and the concept of trauma. A qualitative instrumental case study was used to provide a comprehensive description of the subjective perceptions of the participants, using phenomenological one–on–one semi–structured interviews and documents in the form of drawings. The sample consisted of a selected group of nine early adolescents from one Northern suburb school. The common thread that ran throughout this study was that trauma is perceived as a negative experience that is unique for each individual. The findings indicated that individuals who have been exposed to a trauma are affected on levels of contact and awareness. Lack of support was found to lead to the use of inappropriate contact styles which led to incomplete Gestalts, resulting in unresolved traumatic responses, which affected their social skills and academic development.
- Humanities