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Alternative Title

Clinicians' experiences of play in the workplace

Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School for Social Work


Play-Psychological aspects, Social workers-Psychology, Work environment-Psychological aspects, Play, Creativity, Clinician, Self-care, Resilience, Workplace, Colleagues, Social support, Employer, Humor, Social work field, D.W. Winnicott


This exploratory, qualitative study investigates ten social work clinicians’ experiences of play within the clinical workplace and its impact on their personal well-being and professional capacity. In exploring the potential value of play at work, this study considers how the workplace environment can more fully support clinicians and ultimately, their clients. There is little research on the topic of play in the clinical workplace, beyond the therapeutic setting. This study was an initial attempt to begin filling this gap. Participating clinicians discussed their general associations with play, experiences of play in the workplace, and thoughts on embedding play into the field of social work. This study’s most significant qualitative findings indicate that social work clinicians’ experiences of play in the workplace, across a variety of manifestations, are protective healing, and supportive of effective and sustainable clinical work. These findings suggest that this is an area worthy of further exploration.




iii, 121 pages. Includes bibliographical references (pages 109-115)