Attachment, Trauma and Play

Brief Description – This study was a deeper exploration of one of the research findings from a previous Mulberry Bush study. The aim was to explore changes in a) children’s ability to resolve trauma and loss, b) the quality and coherence of their play and c) their attachment security.  The researcher coded and reviewed the initial and follow up story stem video assessments of 50 children (100 recordings in total). The findings were correlated with a range of child demographics. 

Key Findings 

  • Over two thirds of the children showed shifts in their ability to resolve trauma and loss, to improve the quality and coherence of their play as well as their attachment security. 
  • The impact of the loss of family on a child affected their ability to progress in these areas. 
  • A third of the children presented with a Winnicottian compliant / ‘false self’.
  • The attachment style of children on the autistic spectrum was amenable to change.
  • Children’s play themes of violence correlated positively with experiencing domestic violence, whereas play themes of sex did not correlate with known sexual abuse. 

This poster was included at the Winnicott virtual conference in September 2021. The event entitled ‘ A Present for the Future’ was in commemoration of Winnicott’s death 50 years ago. You can view or download the poster by clicking here.

For a copy of the full report please email Caryn Onions [email protected]

Steve Farnfield

Time span
2017 - 2020

The Mulberry Bush Organisation