Academic journal article Psychology in Russia

Reaching Conversation through Play: A Qualitative Change of Activity

Academic journal article Psychology in Russia

Reaching Conversation through Play: A Qualitative Change of Activity

Article excerpt


Nonclassical psychology, based on Lev Vygotsky's cultural-historical conceptuali­zation, differs from other approaches by proposing that through the help of a sig­nificant other and by acting upon culture's instruments, the mind is developed. By highlighting culture's role on building higher human mental processes, becoming a human being is a likelihood but not a certainty of Homo sapiens sapiens. This likeli­hood is derived from the social division of labor (Leontiev, 1978a; Oliveira, 1993, Rego, 1995; Vygotsky, 1989).

As Zinchenko et al. (2013) exposed, Vygotsky's theory proposed new concepts and paradigms of psychology, enabling progress in our way of perceiving and ac­ting on maladaptive functioning (Quintino-Aires, 2012). Maladaptive functioning is not caused by the lack of abilities to acquire culture but rather by the lack of practical opportunities to self-develop, which, in turn, are a consequence of social inequalities (Bourdieu, 1974; Marx, 1844; 1985; Quintino-Aires, J., 2006).

Vygotsky's cultural-historical approach studies the human conscience, which is defined as an unfinished process and not a product of a phylogenetic evolution (Vygotsky, 1925/1999). This approach is characterized as a co-construction, which initially stems from biological necessities and motives and evolves through action and reaction into a culturally specific context.

According to Leontiev (1978a), if culture demands the individual to act upon cultural tools, human conscience will evolve in the following way: from the stage of an elementary sensory psyche (sensorial consciousness), to the stage of the percep­tive psyche (perceptive consciousness), passing through the stage of animal intellect (elementary mental processes), until reaching human consciousness (higher mental processes).

Human consciousness is neither a ready-made cultural product nor a spon­taneous development in the individual at birth. Transitioning between the dif­ferent stages of conscience and activity is not a natural or spontaneous process. The process results from the effect of human activity on culture that has its own objective laws in labor and social relations. Despite this objectivity surrounding the construction of human consciousness, subjectivity exists in the way humans acquire new necessities, means, motives and modus operandis; i.e.,, that is, human consciousness is as mutable as cultural instruments in a given historical time and context (Bock, 2001).

This idea is supported by Jomskaya (2005), who contended that personality and human consciousness problems can be assessed using neuropsychological analysis because the mind, which is not an abstract entity, and has concrete and objective brain connections.

Becoming a person and accessing psychological needs produce results from the construction of internalized systems, which are transferred from social rela­tionships to personality. Because human consciousness emerges as an external and effortful process, psychotherapists can facilitate this function (Quintino-Aires, J., 2006).

Despite differentiating us from animals, human consciousness is a develop­mental stage that not everyone attains; it is not a necessary and predictable human feature because it is primarily a historical co-construction that is culturally medi­ated, allowing subjectivity (Vygotsky, 1925/1999; Quintino-Aires, 2012).

The present article describes the development of a child's consciousness through play from a psychotherapeutic perspective. In this approach, play as well as con­science are not understood as an innate and spontaneous process. On the contrary, play is a construction, similar to every other human possibility, which means that it becomes a likelihood in the individual's ontological development through culture. Culture, in its turn, is immersed in a historical context and provides certain instru­ments to which the individual will have different possibilities to interact, access and integrate, depending on the historical context. …

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