Play and Creative Arts Therapy

Play Therapy is a method of helping children with social, behaviour and emotional difficulties through their natural medium of self-expression: play. The therapist provides a safe environment for the child to play out their feelings and problems, and so improve the difficulties for which the child has been referred. As practised by PTUK (Play Therapy UK) practitioners, Therapeutic Play is non-directive, non-judgemental, and non-analytic. PTUK statistics over thousands of children show that more than 78% of children referred are helped by Play Therapy [link].

Amongst outcomes may be an improved ability to communicate and interact with others, to participate as part of a group, to listen better, and to cope better with anxiety and frustration. Recent government research suggests that 10% of UK children will have some kind of social, emotional or behavioural difficulty – similar to the number estimated to have speech and language difficulties. (Source: Mental Health of Children and Young People in Great Britain, Government survey 2004.)

What happens in a therapy session?

During individual or group play therapy sessions, children are offered a variety of creative arts materials—the child leads, the therapist reflects and responds, and the child works in their own way and at their own pace. Materials offered include:

  • Sand trays and miniatures
  • Art, Craft, and Clay
  • Puppets
  • Music
  • Therapeutic story
  • Role-play and drama
  • Dance and movement

Who benefits from Play Therapy?

Play therapy is for children aged 3 to 13: I use very similar techniques in Creative Arts Therapy for adults. I have a particular interest and experience in play therapy with 3-6 year olds, including those with special needs.

Children who have benefited from play therapy include those who have experienced:

  • Behavioural Problems
  • Communication Problems
  • Anxiety
  • Separation Difficulties
  • Bereavement / Loss
  • Separated/Divorced Parents
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorders
  • Fostering/adoption
  • Trauma
  • Abuse
  • Nightmares
  • Social Exclusion
  • Bullying/being Bullied
  • Domestic violence
  • Selective mutism

When, where, and how often are play sessions?

Sessions are weekly, and between 30 and 50 minutes long according to age. Initially, a minimum of 6 sessions, and a maximum of 30 sessions will be offered. Sessions are offered in my fully equipped play room in the Huntingdon/St Ives area, and can be arranged in other venues according to need. All referrals require written consent from parents/carers, and I meet with parents/carers before starting play therapy

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