My Services

What is play therapy?

Children often find it difficult to talk about how they feel or how experience shave affected them. Play therapy offers children the opportunity to explore their feelings and what is going on in their lives through the medium of play. Play is the natural means by which children learn about themselves and the world around them.  Play therapy empowers children and promotes personal growth and self-expression.

“Play is the child’s natural medium of self-expression” Virginia Axline

I aim to provide a safe, confidential space for the child to work through their problems at their pace. The therapeutic relationship is paramount and I hope to create a warm and trusted relationship where the child feels accepted for who they are and safe enough to express themselves and explore their difficulties. My approach is non-directive, integrative and holistic. I see each child as an individual and I offer therapy to meet their unique needs.

 

What happens in play therapy?

Each session will last 40 minutes and take place at the same time, same place each week, initially for 12 sessions. I usually see children in their school but hiring a room elsewhere can be considered if required.

The child will have access to the play therapy tool-kit which includes:

  • Art and craft materials

  • Sand tray with miniature figures / symbols​

  • Role play items​

  • Musical instruments​

  • Therapeutic stories

Children create play that resembles the emotional experiences they are struggling with internally, and these experiences usually cannot be expressed verbally. Instead they can begin to express themselves, unconsciously through play, metaphor and symbolism. Over time a relationship of acceptance, warmth, trust and safety develops between myself as therapist and the child which enables them to explore, express and experiment in ways that they may not be able to elsewhere. . Through therapeutic play, children can come to terms with confusing feelings and have a better understanding of who they are and the world around them.

Objectives of play therapy can include:

  • Find healthier ways of communicating feelings

  • Develop a more positive self-concept

  • Assume greater self-responsibility

  • Become more self-accepting

  • Become more self-directing

  • Become more self-reliant

  • Become more trusting of self

  • Experience a feeling of control

  • Become sensitive to the process of coping

  • Develop an internal source of evaluation

  • Engage in self-determined decision making

  • Increased resilience

  • Develop more fulfilling relationships

 

“Toys are used like words by children, and play is their language” – Garry Landreth

 

Who is play therapy for?

Referrals are accepted from schools, parents and statutory and voluntary agencies. I work with children between 4 and 11 years of age.

I have experience of working with a wide range of children including those with:

  • Attachment difficulties

  • Trauma

  • Physical, sexual and emotional abuse

  • Neglect

  • Aggression or are aggressive themselves

  • Bullied or bullies

  • Domestic violence

  • Mental health difficulties themselves or within the family

  • Alcoholic or drug dependent parents

  • Family breakdown

  • Bereavement / loss

  • Nightmares

  • Anxiety

  • Low self esteem

  • Withdrawn / unhappiness

  • Autism / ADHD

  • Learning difficulties

  • Difficulties forming friendships / difficulties with peer relationships

  • Living in Foster care / Special Guardianship placements

  • Behaviour problems

  • Communication problems

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I also offer individual or small group Parent-Child Attachment Play (PCAP).

PCAP is an intervention, it is not therapy. It is a theory-driven evidence based attachment method.

PCAP techniques empower parents/carers as agents of change within the family and strengthen attachment relationships between children and parents/carers. The strategies are supportive, positive, play-based and allow parents to learn basic attachment principles which they can use with their children at home.

 

It is aimed at ages 3-15+. Practitioners work with the parent/carer NOT directly with the child. PCAP is a 10-step programme of interactive workshop-style sessions based on the latest attachment research which shows that supporting the parent-child attachment relationship sets the scene for the best outcomes for children right into adulthood.

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I have completed my Theraplay Level One and Marschak Interaction Method (MIM) training and Group Theraplay training. I am currently able to offer Theraplay informed practice to parents/carers and children as I work towards my Foundational Theraplay Practitioner Certificate. I am a member of the Theraplay Practicum. 

What is Theraplay?

Theraplay is a dyadic child and family therapy that has been recognized by the Association of Play Therapy as one of seven seminal psychotherapies for children. Developed over 50 years ago, and practiced around the world, Theraplay was developed for any professional working to support healthy child/caregiver attachment. 

 

Strong attachment between the child and the important adults in their life has long been believed to be the basis of lifelong good mental health as well as the mainstay of resilience in the face of adversity. Modern brain research and the field of neuroscience have shown that attachment is the way in which children come to understand, trust and thrive in their world.

“Building Relationships from the Inside Out”

In treatment, the Theraplay Practitioner guides the parent and child through playful, fun games, developmentally challenging activities, and tender, nurturing activities. The very act of engaging each other in this way helps the parent regulate the child's behaviour and communicate love, joy, and safety to the child. It helps the child feel secure, cared for, connected and worthy.

Theraplay uses practitioner guidance to create playful and caring child-adult interactions that foster joyful shared experiences. These activities build attunement and understanding of each other – replicating early relationship experiences that are proven to lead to secure attachment. The interactions are personal, physical and fun – a natural way for everyone to experience the healing power of being together.

Core Concepts of Theraplay:

Theraplay interactions focus on four essential qualities found in healthy parent-child relationships

  • Structure: The adult, the leader in the relationship, creates organization and predictability for the child which communicates safety

  • Nurture: The adult provides caring that can calm and soothe the child in a manner that makes them feel good physically and emotionally

  • Engagement: The adult is present in a manner that the child experiences being seen, heard, felt, and accepted

  • Challenge: The adult supports the child in the acquisition and mastery of new skills, enhancing the child’s sense of competence and confidence

With the support of the Theraplay practitioner, parents learn to play with their child in a way that establishes felt safety, increases social engagement, expands arousal regulation, and supports the development of positive self-esteem for both the child and the parent.

What is SandStory Therapy®?

SandStory Therapy® is a gentle and safe way of working therapeutically with sand and symbols within a contained sandtray that offers clients the opportunity to tell their 'story in the sand'.

 

SandStory Therapy® encourages a respectful and sensitive dialogue between the unconscious and the conscious so that the wisdom from within is heard, seen and experienced. In turn, this is taken into daily life and natural, very organic shifts occur.

SandStory Therapy® has its roots in the narrative tradition of Story-telling and Sandtray Therapy. This latter was developed by Margaret Lowenfeld in the early part of her work in the 1920's. SandStory Therapy®   has been developed in a way that complements other therapeutic approaches.

Story Therapy® has at its heart the therapist's ability to remain grounded in their own presence and be fully present each moment to their client.  It allows them to attune to their client's needs and pace which enables empowerment and growth for the client.

Who can benefit from SandStory Therapy®?

SandStory Therapy®fits well with children from the age of 8 years onwards, teenagers/young adults and adult’s right through to senior adults. It can be used in multiple ways and for a spectrum of referral issues. Please contact me for more information or to discuss a possible referral.

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