Answers to common questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Here we try to answer many of the questions we are commonly asked

Prior to any therapy sessions

This is a specialised form of counselling / psychotherapy where a therapist works directly with a child who may be experiencing / has experienced, or has witnessed a traumatic event and is an excellent way to help children and young people to express their thoughts and deal with any emotional problems they are dealing with, to find out more take a look at our webpage here providing more detail. 

Creative Arts Therapy is very similar to Play Therapy, and are often interchangeable terms; the toolkit / resources we use in Creative Arts Therapy may be adapted to be more appealing to adolescents. The sessions may include more talking and directive aspects, however just as within Play Therapy, Creative Arts Therapy utilises a range of arts materials which includes: craft materials, music, movement, drama/ role play, clay, paints drawing, puppets, and sand tray(s), miniatures etc. All of which are used as the main communication tool and vehicle for change.

Therapeutic Play is, very similar to Play Therapy however is designed for use in less complex cases, and offered by a Practitioner in Therapeutic Play who is often training to become a certified Play Therapist.

PCAP is Parent Child Attachment Play.

This is where the therapist works directly with the child’s parent(s)/carer(s) fin developing skills to support attachment and then implementing these in their own homes, which would then be reviewed with the therapist.

You can find out more here.

Whilst there are currently no official rules or regulations in place that stipulate what level of training a child/youth counsellor needs, it is recommended that you check to see if your therapist is experienced in this area. While some aspects of counselling/Psychotherapy/Play Therapy remain the same regardless of age, there are certain issues and developmental intricacies that often require an alternative approach.

A Diploma level qualification (or equivalent) in child/youth counselling or a related topic will provide assurance and peace of mind that your counsellor has developed the necessary skills.

Another way to assure they have undergone this type of specialist training is to check if they belong to a relevant professional organisation (such as PTUK, BAPT, BACP etc) representing child/youth therapists which should also be listed on the PSA register under the relevant organisation.

All of this can been found on our therapist's page.

It gives the child the opportunity to talk about how they feel without the fear of judgement. Speaking to the therapist, away from their home and school life, can take away some of the pressure. It offers children a safe environment for children to express their feelings and understand what may have caused them to feel this way.

The methods used in sessions will depend on the child’s age, situation and their development. There are a number of methods that may be used to encourage children to express their feelings better, such as through play and art. Reading stories and talking about the feelings of a specific character can help them understand the emotion and, in turn, encourage them to discuss their own feelings, while drawing, painting or drama can help the child express themselves better.

Older children may prefer talking therapy, or a mixture of both. This is down to the child and the therapist, who will discuss the situation together to learn what method will be most beneficial. Although different methods may be used for child counselling, the aim of counselling for both children and adults is the same; to help the individual cope better with their feelings and to enjoy life again.

A few examples of how therapy can help children include; coping with everyday worries, such as exam stress, and relationship issues with friends, family members and teachers. Counselling can also help with self-harm concerns, grief, depression and anxiety, and learning difficulties, to name a few.

If something is making your child unhappy, however small you or they feel it is, it’s important. Know that help is available - counselling allows your child to talk to someone about what’s on their mind safely and confidently, without fear of judgement.

There is no right or wrong reason as to why someone may consider counselling. Sometimes it’s just good to talk to someone objective, other times more guidance may be needed. A wide range of common child-related issues can be managed with the support of a therapist; current research from Play Therapy UK (PTUK) shows that between 74% and 83% of those undertaking play and creative arts therapy show a positive change.

We work with children, and adolescents aged between 4 and 16 years of age.

Following the initial consultation we will recommend a number of sessions we believe will best benefit your child. This number will depend on your child's presenting concerns including their SDQ (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire) score.

- Individual's receiving 1:1 therapy will have a minimum of 12 sessions, and this would be reviewed after 8 weeks to decide whether the client would benefit from further sessions. Children with complex difficulties will require more sessions, on occasion 30 or more.

- Groups will have have a minimum of 6 sessions but is usually carried out over 8 weekly, 45-50 minute sessions, within the space of a single school term; group work is suited to children who are all struggling with a similar life event or who have self-esteem or social skills difficulties and do not score highly (on their SDQ) as having more complex difficulties.

The sessions will always take place in a private room completely free from interruptions, giving the child the optimum environment in which to benefit from the therapy. This room could be at your child's school or an alternative appropriate venue; this will be the same place and time each week.

Referrals can be made by teachers, SENCOs, social workers, or by parents themselves, as well as by any other bodies involved closely with the family, such as charities or CAMHS. Parental consent will always be sought from those with parental rights and responsibility.

We will undertake interviews with the referrer, parent, and child, the parent and referee interviews will always take place before the sessions begin.

To set up an initial free 30 minute consultation, simply contact us through our contact page.

To work in a school we would need a regular, private room, safe from interruptions, for a minimum of half a day a week. Ideally with a place to store some of our equipment in or near the room.We are happy to chat informally about the process of referral and therapies offered, please feel free to contact us for further information.

All therapists have an enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check.

We have public liability & indemnity insurance renewed annually.

* For PCAP (Parent Child Attachment Play)  there may be funding for relevant families through the local ASF (Adoption Support Fund) for PCAP / Therapeutic Parenting.

* For Play Therapy Pupil Premium is a good source of funding that can be used to pay for therapy sessions for certain groups of pupils.

Schools are given a pupil premium for:

  • Children who have qualified for free school meals at any point in the past six years. The school receives £1320 for each of these children.
  • Children who are or have been looked after under local authority care for more than one day. These children are awarded a premium of £2300.
  • Children from service families who receive a child pension from the Ministry of Defence. They are awarded £300.

Note: March 2018 the Government announced that free school meals would only be available to children in KS2 whose families have a net income of £7400 or under, effective from 1 April 2018. However if your child was previously entitled to free school meals but is no longer, they will still receive pupil premium based on the 'Ever 6' qualification (a pupil who has ever had free school meals in the past six years).

Schools can choose how to spend their pupil premium money, as they are best placed to identify what would be of most benefit to the children who are eligible; For many children in this disadvantaged group, counselling and therapy will be the best use of these funds. 

There is no obligation for your school to consult with parents about how they use the pupil premium, although some schools do involve parents. However schools do have to show that they are using their pupil premium fund appropriately, and this is measured through Ofsted inspections and annual performance tables showing the progress made by children who are eligible for pupil premium. In addition, they have to publish details online, including how much money they have been allocated, how they intend to spend it, how they spent their previous year’s allocation and how it made a difference to the attainment of disadvantaged pupils.

Did you know that the Government are awarding 500 prizes each year to schools effectively using their Pupil Premium to raise the educational achievement of their children. The top prize each year is a quarter of a million pounds.

Once therapy sessions have begun

After conducting the initial consultation,  the duration of each subsequent session is around:

  • 35 and 50 minutes, dependent on the age and development of the child and young person for play therapy / play and creative arts therapy.
  • between 45 and 55 minutes for Group work.
  • 50-60 minutes for Sandplay Therapy

No we don't.

In sessions we reflect what is happening for example: "The lion appears to be really angry with the polar bear today" or "you seem to be moving very slowly". Using reflection enables the children to acknowledge and understand what is happening as well as how they are feeling; they may not realise this themselves and by the therapist reflecting it can help them realise it is happening. Reflecting is also one way in which we can provide  'safe space' as they can explore issues concerning them without needing to talk about issues concerning them if they don't want to.

Although some children will also choose to tell us directly or explain their play when we are working within  / using play and creative art therapies we use play which is a child's natural medium for communication, and as such we don't need to talk; their feelings and concerns can be expressed through play, without words. As a child plays, patterns and feelings may emerge and that enables the child to process problems and develop positive coping strategies.

We also have an initial interview, and the referral reasons which may support this further.

The sessions will always take place in a private room completely free from interruptions, giving the child the optimum environment in which to benefit from the therapy. This room could be at your child's school or an alternative appropriate venue; this will be the same place and time each week.

The only time we break confidentiality is if a child makes a disclosure, during a session, of someone being unsafe. We will adhere to our Child Protection & Safeguarding  Policy and Procedures.

General feedback is given at regular intervals regarding how the child has interacted and progress made, however, all sessions are strictly confidential and therefore no specific information is ever given about what the child has said or done in the playroom.

Mess is a positive sign that children are working through their issues. It is important for the child to know that it is ok to make a mess if they need to and the play therapist will deal with it. Children realise quite quickly that the play therapy sessions are not like being at home or school. They understand that it is a time for them to challenge/investigate/explore their feelings and so they can make a mess and leave it for the play therapist to clean up.



Sometimes when children & young people start exploring their issues in therapy sessions, their behaviour may appear to get worse for a period of time; this is quite normal and is often temporary.  It is generally a sign that they are engaging in the process of Play Therapy and working through the things that are impacting on them; they often will also be trying out new strategies and it takes time. We also recognise that therapy is only one aspect of a young persons week and so it is important to reflect on other issues that may be new or ongoing that could be prompting a change in behaviour.

If you have any concerns, please speak to your Play Therapist. 

Other Questions

Due to the nature of play therapy it is not possible to come into our sessions, and this would not be suitable for you. The best way to get experience may be as part of training with APAC (The Academy of Play and Child Psychotherapy).
The other way would be to contact NSPCC or similar to enquire about their volunteering programmes.
Sand tray symbols
parrot puppet
Therapeutic games
Musical instruments
Sand Tray