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Title: 'A calming down game' : an IPA study exploring the use of biofeedback software to support individuals in 'managing feelings'
Author: Temlett, Judith Ann
ISNI:       0000 0004 2705 6098
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2010
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This research examines the initial perceptions of children, their parents and school staff of using a biofeedback technique, HeartMath's emWave PC stress relief system, in four primary schools to support the development of emotional wellbeing. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to interpret information collected through 12 semi structured interviews, and the following themes were identified. The children's initial experiences were of a "calming-down game" to support them in managing anger through deep breathing and positive thought. School staff were divided in their perceptions between being "a little bit sceptical" and being 'blinded by science' by the information presented to them at their initial training. Consequently, some staff reported feeling insecure about using the technique with children. Issues of informed consent came to light through the parents' experiences and of 'intervention fatigue' - questioning whether this approach would help their children. Despite this, most parents reported noticing a positive change in their children coinciding with the use of the intervention. Themes addressing the experience of being, or supporting, an individual who needs to 'manage their feelings' were also explored. School staff discussed this from the perspective of social justice and inclusion for individuals, the school and their wider community. The children described their experiences of 'calming down' through the use of the HeartMath biofeedback technique and other anger management strategies. Parents spoke of parenting a child who has difficulties in 'managing' their feelings and the events which could trigger emotional arousal in their children. The results are" discussed in light of the promotion of emotional wellbeing in primary schools and my own emerging practice as an Educational Psychologist. As a relatively new area of Educational Psychology, a range of further research opportunities are outlined, arising from the use of biofeedback software in schools, as a targeted intervention or 'universal' strategy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available