Christine Peters Counsellor and Play Therapist in Surrey

Children often find it difficult to put their feelings into words and they can find traditional talking therapy difficult. Using toys, craft and creative media in play-therapy sessions can enable a child to communicate feelings which they may not be able to recognise and express verbally.

A variety of toys, art/craft materials, sand clay, musical instruments are available in my therapy room.

Children may present with a number of different problems and are usually referred because a parent has noticed changes in their behaviour. This could be angry outbursts at school or at home, difficulty sleeping, high anxiety, unusually quiet and withdrawn. In some cases, they do not know the cause of their difficulties and just need a place to talk and make sense of how they feel.

I work sensitively at the child's pace to build up a trusting relationship. Children are offered the same confidentiality as adults. This means that the content of the session is not disclosed to parents. Children are encouraged to talk to their parents. However if they disclose they are at risk of harm I will notify the appropriate agency.

I understand that it can be difficult for parents to refer their children for counselling. The confidentiality of the session and parents anxiety that their child is in 'therapy' and will be for life are two main concerns. Before I see any children I will meet with parent(s) so that we can discuss these concerns and what counselling can and cannot do. This meeting lasts for 90 minutes.

Typical referrals include:

Difficulty associated with parental separation/divorce. Children can struggle with changes in their family life, feel guilty, takes sides and worry.
Bereavement and loss
Deep sadness

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