Empowering Early Years children so that they can be heard and discover solutions for their own problems, is at the heart of the ‘Helping Children Smile Again’ story and work.
Play Therapy is particularly helpful for children suffering with mild to moderate emotional or psychological problems such as: unresolved relationship issues: friendships, sibling rivalries, bullying; sleep disorders, separation anxiety, attachment disorders and bereavement. It can help prepare junior school children to transition into secondary school with confidence. Play Therapy is particularly effective with children who do not or cannot talk about their problems.
“Play Therapy is a therapeutic play experience because it provides a secure relationship between the child and the adult, so that the child has the freedom and room to state himself in his own terms, exactly as he is at that moment in his own way, and in his own time.” Virginia Axline, founder of Play Therapy. (Progressive Education, 27, p. 68). Children learn how to express their thoughts, and feelings in constructive ways, to accept responsibility, to problem-solve, and to develop emotional resilience, and self-confidence.
Play therapy is suitable for children aged between 5-10 yrs of age, who have suffered any trauma through these circumstances:
- Being bullied
- Sleeping disorders
- Attachment difficulties
- Parental divorce or separation
- Fostering and adoption
- Bereavement or loss
- Autistic Spectrum Disorders
Play Therapy benefits children by helping them learn to:
- Accept themselves as they are
- Respect boundaries
- Understand & express their emotions safely & constructively
- Be responsible for their actions & make decisions
- Problem-solve & develop coping skills & resilience
- Establish self-control and self-direction
Testimonials from parents of Amanda’s clients……..
“Amanda has played a huge part in helping our daughter through a tricky time with anxiety and anger issues. The 40 minute sessions of play therapy were a sanctuary where she could explore her emotions through play and art. She absolutely loved the 121 time with an adult outside her family circle, and the bond that she and Amanda built, in such a short space of time, was incredible. Amanda also helped us, as parents, see why our daughter was behaving the way she was, and gave us useful tips on how to help. Our daughter is back to the smiley, kind, thoughtful girl she was. We can’t thank Amanda, or recommend her highly enough.” Mrs KG, parent, Stamford. April 2017
“I sought Amanda’s help when I was struggling to deal with my 7-year- old son’s behavioural issues which involved aggression and extreme attention-seeking behaviour. His father is absent and he was having to adjust to the presence of a new partner in my life. My son had around 12 sessions with Amanda and the experience was transformative. He loved his ‘special time’ with Amanda and looked forward each week to the chance to have designated, one-on- one time with her. As a result of the play therapy he received, my son became calmer and much more able to manage his conflicting emotions. The result was a happier, more relaxed home life for us all. I will definitely consider additional sessions with Amanda if my son encounters further problems in the future.” Parent, June 2017
Latest research by PTUK shows that between 74% and 83% of children referred will show a positive change, (taken from the PTUK research paper, ‘An Effective Way of Promoting Children’s Wellbeing and Alleviating Emotional, Behavioural and Mental health Problems’).
Following the initial assessment, it is possible to indicate whether a short-term block of 12 weekly sessions, or long-term (the duration depends on severity of difficulties) Play Therapy is recommended.
The initial assessment (30 minutes) involves some simple questions, and a general questionnaire to identify some therapeutic goals, and areas where your child needs help and support. We will agree upon our objectives, location, fees, and payment, the number and dates of sessions, and when we should have a review meeting. All this helps to establish a strong working relationship, so that we can work together to support the child consistently.
Play therapy sessions happen weekly, and always at the same time, and are of 50 minutes duration. This consistency helps to build trust between practitioner and client.
Most clients are children, who are referred by parents or a teacher. In the process of therapy it is often important to help the parents learn new coping strategies around relationship issues, anger management, goal setting, career issues and interpersonal skills. These areas can be explored as appropriate. Occasionally it may be necessary to recommend additional or alternative sources of specialist help, for example for depression that needs medical treatment.