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All play is communication and a window into the child's world.  Children often find it hard to express themselves verbally, but are more naturally able to communicate thoughts, feelings and emotions through play.

Supported by a qualified Play Therapist, trained in mental health and child development, and using toys as words and play as their language, children can examine their troubles and rehearse solutions to their problems, by playing out situations that are troubling them, such as anxieties over parental separation or their experience of being bullied at school.

Play Therapy is recognised as the psychological intervention of choice for children and young people.


Child Centred Play Therapy is a therapeutic approach based on a way of being with the child, rather than directly teaching skills.  Therapist and child communicate through the play, with the therapist following the child's lead. 


The Play Therapist first establishes a safe and trusting relationship by conveying unconditional acceptance and empathy to the child.  Children work in a safe and non-threatening environment, and at a self-directed pace, to explore and process feelings that they have not yet had a chance to properly work through.  Freeing the child from the pressure of direct questioning and by following the child's lead, the therapist and child communicate through the play.  The therapist supports the child to understand and accept emotional content that arises, find solutions and develop coping strategies to support long-term positive mental health and wellbeing.

What is Child Centered Play Therapy?

Through play, children gain mastery over their physical and emotional world. They explore troubling life situations and rehearse ways to effectively respond in a safe and controlled context.


Play Therapy has been shown to be effective in targeting general and specific negative behaviours, and generating and maintaining positive behavioural changes in the long term.

When play is used therapeutically, in its highest form, it results in changes that assist children to overcome psychosocial challenges and achieve optimal development.

Play Therapy supports children to:

  • learn about their world

  • master new mental and physical skills

  • communicate their thoughts and feelings

  • regulate difficult emotions

  • relieve anxiety and stress

  • enhance self-esteem and a positive sense of self

  • develop empathy

  • improve judgement

  • problem-solve

  • enhance social relationships

What Are the Benefits of Play Therapy?


Can Play Therapy Help My Child?

Play Therapy with a trained and qualified Play Therapist is effective for children struggling with:

  • Trauma

  • Divorce and family breakdown

  • Adoptive/foster families

  • Social difficulties

  • Separation anxiety

  • Anger, oppositional and acting out behaviours

  • Bullying

  • Physical, sexual and emotional abuse

  • ADHD / ADD

  • Autism spectrum disorders

  • Parent and child relationship issues

  • Bonding and attachment

  • Sleeping and eating difficulties

  • Low self confidence and self esteem

  • Grief and loss

  • Near death experiences

  • Depression and withdrawal

  • Chronic illness/hospitalisation/surgery

  • Physical symptoms without a known medical basis

  • Selective mutism

A specialised Play Therapy modality will be recommended, depending on individual circumstances:

All sources of information for this and other sections on our website can be viewed on our References page.

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