It can be a worrying time if your child is unhappy or behaving in ways that are hard to understand or help with.
When you first meet Holly, you can ask her any questions. She will explain how she works and exactly how Play Therapy can help your child.
At some point most children face challenges or difficulties which they will need to work through in order to feel happy, confident and thrive at school. Often these issues can be solved at home, but sometimes help from outside the family, from a trained therapist, is what is needed to make sense of difficult feelings or things that have happened that are holding your child back.
Play Therapists use art and play in sessions for when it is hard to put thoughts and feelings into words. We can then reflect on the artwork or play together, and come to understand what was being expressed and what is happening for the child.
Your child will be able to play with the wide range of resources that will be made ready for them each week: a large array of art and crafting materials, clay, dressing-up and role play props, musical instruments, sand and water, puppets, miniature figures, games and construction toys. Your child will be able to choose freely what they would like to use, and Holly will enter into their play, following their lead.
Your child will be able to work at their own pace and explore narratives and experiences in the metaphor of the play, without being asked to explain it verbally.
Over the first few sessions your child will begin to forge a relationship with Holly and experience the consistency of the session and its predictable boundaries. This will enable them to use the time (and Holly's knowledge) to express themselves in their own way.
If during the session your child makes any artwork, it will be stored safely until the therapy ends, at which point your child can choose if they would like to take it home.
When your child is first referred, Holly will talk to you and listen carefully to what has been happening, how your child is at home and what you would hope will be the outcome of this help. Once you have given your consent for the therapy to start, your child will attend one session a week, at the same time and place.
Holly will invite you to meet her again after a few sessions, in order to talk about your child and what changes you or their teacher have noticed. This review ensures that you are working together with Holly to help your child.
Your role remains central to your child and your support of them attending therapy is important. Your child may choose to keep what they do in their sessions private. Please do not be offended or worried by this - it may well be that they have not got the words to explain it to you yet.
Holly will keep the exact details of what happens in the sessions confidential, but can share with you the general themes of play and talk to you about patterns she notices or topics that come up, so that you can help your child at home.
Just as it helps not to ask for details about their sessions, it helps not to ask children to behave in a certain way when they are here. Holly does not expect or need ‘good’ behaviour in the sessions. Instead, she hopes that your child comes to trust that they can express themselves freely, without judgement. Holly is trained to understand and manage all types of behaviour, and to recognise and work with the reasons behind it.