Play therapy and children’s counselling

What is play therapy?

The work I do with children involves inviting the child, or children, to play with a range of therapeutic toys and art materials. I will observe and think aloud with the child about their play and what it all means, with the aim of improving their self-reflection and self-understanding. Children express their difficulties and internal/imaginative worlds through play – Melanie Klein called play the child’s royal road to the unconscious.

These sessions are confidential, which means that I won’t divulge the content of sessions without asking your child’s permission, unless I believe they are at serious risk.

Parents will be invited along for review meetings to have a think about what their child has been communicating within the sessions, to deepen an understanding of their child and the origins of their difficulties, and to discuss how this information can be used helpfully within the wider family system.

More directive techniques

Depending on the child or young person and their need and level of development I also work in a more directed, art based way. With this method the child or young person works with me to create a book about themselves and their current difficulties combined with my thoughts about their pictures and writings. The book provides a reliable narrative structure to the work, and enables the child to view their progress in working things through by being able to turn the pages backwards and forwards. The aim is the same as play therapy; to improve the child or young person’s ability to think through their difficulties and understand their feelings.

In a similar way to play based work, parents or caregivers will be invited along for regular review meetings; the book is kept confidential unless your child wishes to share it.

Check my Counselling tab for a brief overview of the other work I do with families and adults.