Improving Chinese Teachers’ Stress Coping Ability through Group Sandplay

Teachers are burdened by high work pressure, suggesting the need for an effective stress coping system to support them. The present study evaluated the effectiveness of coping strategies currently utilized by teachers and explored the potential contribution of group sandplay to coping. The study was led by a group of experienced therapists and sandplay practitioners. Two hundred teachers served as participants, equally divided into two groups: An experimental sandplay group (EG) and control group. Both groups received a 3-hour tutorial on the psychological pressure at work, reactions to it, and physical/mental symptoms resulting from overwhelming pressure, and were introduced to the working principles and process of sandplay. EG participants then engaged in group sandplay for three consecutive days. The Simplified Coping Style Questionnaire was used as an objective measure of participants’ coping styles. Therapists’ and practitioners’ observations were used as subjective information, including the scenes and themes created by participants, individual performance during sandplay activities, and feedback regarding changes to stress coping strategies. We compared participants’ pre-and post-test stress coping strategies. The results revealed a significant improvement in the EG sample at the shift from passive coping (pre-test M = 1.94, 95% CI [1.83-2.05]; post-test M = 0.96, 95% CI [0.92-1.00]) to active coping (pre-test M = 1.76, 95% CI [1.69-1.83]; post-test M = 2.41, 95% CI [2.29-2.53]). Overall, our findings support the conclusion that group sandplay effectively improved Chinese teachers’ overall stress coping abilities.

Teachers are burdened by high work pressure, suggesting the need for an effective stress coping system to support them. The present study evaluated the effectiveness of coping strategies currently utilized by teachers and explored the potential contribution of group sandplay to coping. The study was led by a group of experienced therapists and sandplay practitioners. Two hundred teachers served as participants, equally divided into two groups: An experimental sandplay group (EG) and control group. Both groups received a 3-hour tutorial on the psychological pressure at work, reactions to it, and physical/mental symptoms resulting from overwhelming pressure, and were introduced to the working principles and process of sandplay. EG participants then engaged in group sandplay for three consecutive days. The Simplified Coping Style Questionnaire was used as an objective measure of participants’ coping styles. Therapists’ and practitioners’ observations were used as subjective information, including the scenes and themes created by participants, individual performance during sandplay activities, and feedback regarding changes to stress coping strategies. We compared participants’ pre-and post-test stress coping strategies. The results revealed a significant improvement in the EG sample at the shift from passive coping (pre-test M = 1.94, 95% CI [1.83-2.05]; post-test M = 0.96, 95% CI [0.92-1.00]) to active coping (pre-test M = 1.76, 95% CI [1.69-1.83]; post-test M = 2.41, 95% CI [2.29-2.53]). Overall, our findings support the conclusion that group sandplay effectively improved Chinese teachers’ overall stress coping abilities.

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