Play Therapy and Counselling Services
At ABC, our experienced and fully qualified therapists work in a number of primary and secondary schools across Teesside, using a range of counselling techniques, therapeutic play and integrative models. We believe it is crucial that children and young people are listened to in a non-judgemental way and that they form a confidential and trusting relationship with an experienced professional who can support them through life’s challenges and empower them to move forward in a positive way.
ABC counselling and play therapy is confidential within the limits of child protection. Safeguarding concerns always supersede confidentiality and we have comprehensive policies and procedures that all staff adhere to.
Who can benefit from counselling and play therapy?
At times in their lives, many children and young people require additional support in order to fulfil their potential and increase their resilience. Play therapy and counselling can support children and young people who are experiencing a range of issues or circumstances. These can include:
- previous experience of domestic violence
- self harm and suicidal thoughts
- delayed development
- experience of parental separation/family breakdown
- being taken into care (Looked After Children)
- experience of loss and/or bereavement
- abuse and/or neglect
- being affected by substance misuse within the family
- being affected by depression or other mental health issues within the family
- experience of trauma
- low self esteem
- behavioural issues
- difficulties in making and maintaining friendships
- phobias and anxiety
- attachment difficulties
Play Therapy and Counselling helps children and young people to:
- Feel better about themselves
- Make sense of difficult feelings or experiences
- Get on better with friends and family
- Be more able to learn and achieve
- Increase resilience
- Feel valued
- Understand their feelings
- Find healthier ways of coping with challenges life brings
In order to maintain safe and ethical practice, all therapists at ABC:
- are professionally qualified
- are either accredited members of British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and/or Play Therapy United Kingdom (PTUK) or working towards accreditation
- work within either the BACP or PTUK Ethical Framework
- receive regular clinical supervision in accordance with professional guidelines
- hold enhanced DBS checks
- ensure continuous professional development (CPD) through ongoing training
- are fully insured
Play is a child’s natural medium for self expression and is essential for healthy development. Play Therapy is a well recognised psychological intervention that is used primarily with children between the ages of 3 and 11 years. Play therapy helps children with behavioural and emotional problems to help themselves through ‘playing out’ their thoughts and feelings.
Much of current play therapy practice is based on the work of Virginia Axline, who was influenced by the person centred approach of Carl Rogers. Theories of child development, attachment and neuroscience are also an integral part of play therapy training.
Children and young people often show their distress in their behaviour e.g. becoming angry or withdrawn. This may be because they either don’t feel ready to talk or do not have the words to talk about their experiences and express their feelings. By offering a variety of play and creative art materials in a safe and confidential therapeutic environment, the play therapist is able to help the child/young person to connect with the emotional experiences that they are struggling with. Through play therapy, the child is able to identify, work through and resolve emotional conflicts with a trusted adult.
The play therapy toolkit includes therapeutic storytelling, creative visualisation, puppets and masks, art materials including paint and clay, sand, music, drama and movement. Each play therapy session is child led, and therefore the child will decide what parts of the toolkit they wish to use.
Young people often struggle to talk about their thoughts and feelings which are impacting upon their daily lives. At ABC, we offer a range of interventions including creative mediums and talking therapies to allow the young person to choose how to express their behaviours and feelings. Through exploration, the young person can develop an understanding of themselves, their thoughts and feelings, thus enabling them to change and move forward with their future.
Children and young people may also learn how to manage relationships and conflicts in more appropriate ways as well as being able to explore difficult life experiences in order to make sense of their past and cope better in daily life. When children and young people are less stressed and anxious, they are more able to focus and learn which improves their ability to fulfil their academic potential
At ABC, we use well recognised clinical tools – Goodman’s Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and CORE YP – to assess individual need and to monitor progress. For primary aged children, the SDQ is completed by a child’s parent and teacher before therapy commences, at the review stage and at the end of therapy. All secondary aged young people complete a CORE YP form which is a self assessment tool that measures emotional wellbeing. This tool will be used with the young person at intervals throughout therapy. Post intervention evaluation forms are also completed by children, parents and teachers to check whether play therapy has been effective.
Referrals from parents
If you are a parent or carer who is worried about your child, ABC can provide a professional and caring therapeutic service to support your child. Sessions can take place either in school/college or at our easily accessible Family Centre.
Referrals from schools and organisations
ABC currently works in primary and secondary schools across Teesside offering counselling, play therapy and therapeutic group work. If you are a Head teacher who is interested in commissioning therapy services in your school, ABC can provide a tailor made service to fit the needs of your school.
ABC can provide:
- Individual counselling and/or play therapy for children and young people (commissioned on individual or half/whole day basis)
- Individual counselling for parents/carers
- Individual counselling for school staff
- Therapeutic group work including issue-based groups (e.g. focusing on anger management, social skills or bereavement and loss)
What are the benefits of counselling and play therapy in school?
- Helps pupils to build healthier relationships with teaching staff and peers
- Reduces emotional, behavioural and social obstacles to learning
- Enhances pupil’s communication skills and emotional literacy
- Develops pupil’s confidence and concentration
- Improves pupil’s problem-solving and coping skills
- Supports and advises teaching staff
References are available from Head teachers who commission our service.