Our weekly one-to-one sessions provide support to children who have a continued need for more intense work. Trained counsellors tailor sessions according to each child's needs, in an age-appropriate way. For younger children, our therapeutic approach encourages children to express themselves in non-verbal ways, for example through artwork or play.
Play & Art Therapy
We often work with children aged three to 11, using play as a communication tool to understand their world and to help them deal with emotional distress and trauma. We try and help children and their families work through various experiences they have encountered in life. Some of these experiences can be traumatic with issues such as: neglect, abuse. We have specialist Eye Movement Desensitisation Resolution (EMDR) Therapist that focuses on extreme trauma. We endeavour to work with all clients with a holistic approach and their well-being as a whole therefore, our trained therapist tailor each individuals therapy to meet their needs, together with ensuring it suits them and their life style.
We recognise parents and caregivers have an important role to play in their child’s therapeutic process, therefore regular review meetings are scheduled to ensure parents/guardians are updated with their child’s overall progress baring mind confidentiality of the client/child. Support in parenting and in strengthening their relationship is also provided in these review sessions with the child being very much involved in the process.
A separate therapy process may be provided for both parent and child in the playroom to help strengthen their relationship together. Play therapy with siblings and small groups of children (2-3), may also be offered in order to help with their emotional and social development.
There are usually two approaches to Play therapy it can be divided into two basic types: non-directive and directive.
Non-directive play therapy
Is a non-intrusive method, we try and encourage children to work towards finding their own solutions to difficulties/struggles through play. Nondirective play therapy is used to help children communicate their thoughts, feelings and emotions, their inner experiences through things they are familiar with such as toys and play. This counselling method is much relaxed and less intrusive to the child. We sometimes call play therapy child-centred therapy, this means it is putting the childs needs and well-being first and focusing the therapy around the individual. A nonpathologising technique embeds the belief the child has the ability to tap into their internal drive and inner tools to achieve wellness and growth.
Therapeutic play helps children with social or emotional deficits learn to communicate better, change their behaviour, develop problem-solving skills, and relate to others in positive ways. These children perhaps have lacked having a positive nurturing, guidance, bonds, relationships with significant person in their life i.e. mother, father etc therefore were not able to form these life skills. Through play, we are able to help them understand and resolve any psychological and psychosocial challenges e.g. trauma, separation of parents, loss of a loved one, chronic illness, etc
In play therapy, children are able to express their experiences and feelings through a natural, self-guided and self-healing process. Children will be helped towards healthier and better social integration, growth and development.
At times where children have experienced severe trauma, neglect, life difficulties etc, depending on age, young children may not necessarily have the cognitive skills and emotional capacity to repair and master traumatic experiences on their own (Rasmussen & Cunningham, 1995), so a non directive approach may be ineffective. Therefore, a directive approach may be necessary for the therapeutic process for that particular child. This approach will be managed sensitively and with the mindfulness of the child may be overwhelmed and can become difficult for the child to cope.
With a directive approach, the play therapist introduces games and exercises that will be chosen to facilitate or move towards a more verbal interaction that will encourage the child to express their inner feelings comfortably. Feelings that perhaps are embedded very deep and the child does not have the tools to tap into. Our trained therapists use various forms of techniques and tools to enable the client to be challenged, to get in tuned with their feelings and manage their emotions, to help them increase self awareness, develop more secure, adaptive, compensating, and self-accepting ways. However, it has also been suggested that when the therapist places the responsibility for change completely on the child, they may give the child an additional burden which could encourage resistance in the child with the process. Therapists are mindful of reviewing the progress and working alongside the client with their well-being at the centred of the therapeutic process. It may be the client needs a mixture of directive and non-directive approach which can also be accommodated to benefit the child’s therapy.
What are the benefits of Child-Centered Play Therapy?
In CCPT, our therapists try and develop a safe and secure relationship of trust with the child, making the playroom a place of safety where they can feel relaxed. The benefits of play therapy for children include:
A safe place in where children can express their thoughts and feelings freely.
Supports emotional healing and growth.
Support children in making positive choices, decisions and in accepting responsibility for these.
Develops a child's ability to explore and practise social skills and manage their emotions.
Fosters a child’s ability to make friends and to understand the world he or she lives in.
Facilitates the development of self esteem, coping skills and problem-solving.
Allows children to discover their natural, inner resources for healing and self development.
Encourages children to be confident and focused, progress with positive mindset.
Encourages imagination and creativity to meet the needs of the child at their pace.
A safe environment for children for whom talking is difficult.