I am an integrative holistic play therapist and an Early Years specialist.
I have spent the last nine years in primary education focusing on early childhood development.
I have extensive knowledge around special needs, neuroscience and attachment theory.
Children and young people's right to a healthy education, mental wellbeing, involvement and safety is at the heart of everything I do.
I can work with 4–17-year-olds both in a one-to-one or in group sessions capacity. I work in both primary and secondary schools supporting mental health.
I am quality assured by the professional standards agency and I have Play Therapy UK registered membership.
I am a Mental Health First Aider and a PLace2Be Mental Health Champion.
What is Play Therapy?
Play therapy is a specialist intervention supporting children with social, emotional and mental health issues. It can enable them to find the inner resources to overcome some of life’s difficulties.
The combination of an accepting therapeutic relationship with creative self-expression can be a powerful process supporting the child in developing self-trust, in their ability to relate to others and in their capacity to find healing.
Play therapy helps children to express themselves, explore their thoughts and feelings, and make sense of and assimilate their life experiences.
Play is a natural activity of learning and communication for children, so the medium is considered highly effective for helping children to 'play out' what they may find difficult to put into words.
Benefits of Therapeutic Play
Play Therapy has many benefits to the cognitive, social and emotional wiring of the brain.
Neuroscience has shown that play is essential in the successful development of the brain particularly with developing stronger prosocial skills and developing resilience through problem solving.
Play also releases important chemicals in the brain that promote a sense of calm and well-being in the child.
Play Therapy could help a child who:
Finds it hard to concentrate and learn
Has nightmares or disturbed sleep
Is at risk of being/is excluded from school
Is experiencing family difficulties
Suffers because of separated/divorced parents
Suffers from anxiety/stress or has many worries
Is withdrawn or unhappy
Finds it difficult to make friends
Bullies others or is being bullied themselves
Has experienced or witnessed abuse
Fails to embrace the joy of playing
What to Expect?
Each session lasts for 45 minutes. In that time, the child will engage in creative
activities such as clay, sand, paint, stories, music and puppet play.
As a benchmark, PTUK's data shows that an average of 12-15 sessions.
Parents and teachers will be asked to complete a Strength and Difficulty Questionnaire (SDQ) to assess if this intervention is appropriate for the child.
Additionally, before the therapy begins there will be a confidential meeting between the parent and therapist at which time there will be an opportunity to ask questions.
By taking pre and post-therapy measures, the changes in the pupils' emotional, behavior and other mental health issues can be measured and an overview of the general thematic material-taking place in the room can be shared.
If commissioned, I will carry out the sessions at the school. It is desired to carry out the therapy in the same space every week.
Above all the child is given ‘Their Time’ to play, which will help them to cope with the difficulties, they face in life and which they themselves cannot change.
Without breaking the personal confidentiality of the pupil's therapy, the progress of the pupil can and will be regularly reported upon and I fully adhere to safeguarding policies if a disclosure was to arise.
Many schools are now engaging with play therapy services as an effective modality to help support their pupils' mental health, wellbeing and I feel it shows true commitment to mental health strategies. It can also help school leaders set strategic aims in their school's SIP for the year ahead.
If you would like to find out more about my play therapy role or would like to contract me please fill in the contact sheet.