Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Holistic Health Studies


Holistic Health

First Advisor

Carol Geisler


Holistic Health Studies


Researchers have spent decades understanding the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of play, despite significant ambiguity in the definition of the term. While the majority of previous research focuses on the developmental and therapeutic effects of play in youth or elderly populations, there is a gap in the literature on the benefits of play for adults aged 18-67. Because of the holistic nature of the benefits of play, those who engage have an opportunity to transform through their activities. The purpose of this research is to describe the transformative experiences of adults engaging in play. Utilizing the Organic Inquiry research culture, and acknowledging our lens of the critical paradigm, we used focus group methodology to interview nine co-researchers about their experience of transformation through play. We conducted this focus group after providing a collaborative play experience. Three themes of transformation emerged through the use of both thematic and content analysis: mindfulness and intention, reframing, and connection. Results of this research suggest that play is not just for children: many adults already play but simply don’t label their activities as such, and play and playful expression can offer one a respite from daily stressors and an ability to reconnect with themselves, their environment, and the universe at large.