The Clarity ConsultationI always carry out a full 90 minute assessment, called a Clarity Consultation, at the beginning of a Seedlings or Saplings programme. Covering such issues as social circumstances, developmental history, progress at school, family background and so on, the Clarity Consultation enables me to get as full a picture of the child or young person as possible, and gain a deep understanding of their issues, so I can tailor the programme to their specific needs and ensure transformative results for them. At least one parent/carer, or a social worker, needs to be present with a child or young person for their Clarity Consultation. In cases where parents are no longer together, and do not wish to attend the appointment together, I will invite whichever parent does not live with the child to attend a separate appointment or have a telephone consultation with me, if both parents are happy with this. Sometimes the Clarity Consultation will indicate that a child or young person’s difficulties may be part of wider issues that affect the whole family. In such circumstances I may see the child or young person for individual work initially and then see parents/carers separately, where appropriate, to enable them to work on their own issues which may be affecting their child’s situation e.g. unresolved grief/anger following a divorce or bereavement or a need to develop new parenting strategies.
The Seedlings Programme
Children between the ages of 5-12 can work with me in a 3 or 6 month ‘Seedlings’ programme which incorporates play therapy, counselling and coaching but also includes ecotherapy, animal assisted therapy and EFT as appropriate.
My younger clients are encouraged to express themselves through gentle, non-threatening activity such as painting, drama, and imaginative play. I use a wide range of ‘props’ to assist exploration and expression of feelings through creative, sensory activities – clay, paints, playdough, buttons, dolls, puppets, games, books, musical instruments and so on. I also use music, relaxation techniques and creative visualisation to help children express themselves.
The programme begins with a 90 minute Clarity Consultation and continues with weekly 1:1 appointments for your child. It also includes support for parents with unlimited email access to me during the term of the programme, along with a host of other features.
If you would like to find out more about a Seedlings programme for your child, do book a free 30 minute Clarity Call with me so we can discuss their needs in detail and see if it would be a good match for them. You can book your call here.
The Saplings Programme
Teenagers between the ages of 13-18 are offered my 3 or 6 month ‘Saplings’ programme, which incorporates counselling and coaching along with ecotherapy, animal assisted therapy and EFT as appropriate . There is less focus on play therapy, but creative activities incorporating art and music still feature, and the programme content is tailored to your teenagers’s specific needs and wishes.
The programme begins with a 90 minute Clarity Consultation and continues with weekly 1:1 appointments for your teenager. It also includes support for parents with unlimited email access to me during the term of the programme, along with a host of other features.
If you would like to find out more about a Saplings programme for your teenager, do book a free 30 minute Clarity Call with me so we can discuss their needs in detail and see if it would be a good match for them. You can book your call here.
The British Association of Play Therapists (BAPT) defines play therapy as “a mode of therapy that helps children explore their feelings to express themselves and to make sense of their life experiences. Play is children’s natural medium to learn, communicate and to explore their worlds. Recovery from difficult life experiences can be facilitated by a Play Therapist allowing a child freedom of expression in a safe a trusting environment.”
Through observing and joining in with (by invitation) a child’s play, a play therapist builds a relationship with a child and helps them to make sense of their experiences and express difficult feelings safely through the metaphors of play.
I have a beautiful, fully equipped, purpose-built playroom here at Sunshine Barn where children can access a full range of play materials to support their therapeutic work.
Animal Assisted Therapy
Therapy animals are increasingly being used to assist adults and children with a wide range of emotional and psychological disorders including depression, recovery from trauma, anxiety and neuroses. The presence of an animal in the therapy room can make sessions more pleasurable and productive, and improve therapeutic outcomes. Clients experience calming effects, brightening of mood, increased self-esteem, stress reduction and increased motivation.
Child-animal interactions can also provide the following benefits:
I am one of only a handful of therapists offering AAT in the UK. My work with my first therapy dog, Tilly, was featured in numerous publications including Psychologies magazine and The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy’s Journal. Sadly Tilly passed away in 2017 so now I offer my young clients the opportunity to have Bertha, a Black Labrador, present in their sessions if they wish. She has been thoroughly obedience trained, and assessed by the organisation ‘Pets as Therapy’, and I am fully insured to use Bertha in my therapeutic work with children and young people.
I have found a technique called EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique or ‘tapping’) to be a very effective treatment when working with children and teenagers.
EFT, which involves tapping on specific points on the face and body whilst talking about the issue being worked on (for a full explanation please see EFT for Adults) It has been described by clinical psychologist Dr. Phil Mollon as “an additional perspective (on conventional and traditional understanding of the workings of the mind and body) that hugely advances the speed, depth and effect of psychotherapy” (Mollon, 2007)
With the help of my specially designed EFT teddy (Tappy Bear) I show children and young people whereabouts they need to tap on their faces and hands; it is so easy to learn that they soon become skilled in knowing where and how to use the technique. Teaching children the technique to use themselves empowers them by giving them a life skill, or coping strategy, which is transferable to other problems they may have.
EcotherapyEcotherapy involves a trained therapist leading clients through different activities to develop a balanced relationship with nature, that benefits their wellbeing and has many positive health benefits such as improved mental health, improved physical health and increased confidence. My young clients can experience ecotherapy in a number of ways if they wish to, for example:
Children and young people are always seen in the non-clinical, cosy and safe surroundings of Sunshine Barn which has been designed to be low-stress and homely, making it easier for them to relax and engage with therapy.
Located on a farm in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside, Sunshine Barn is a single storey, wheelchair friendly suite of converted farm buildings offering a cosy therapy room for assessments and teenagers’ sessions; a dedicated play room for childrens’ sessions; a treatment room for complementary therapies; a comfortable waiting room so parents/carers can stay while their child is being seen; a large group space; a sunroom, a fully equipped kitchen; and toilets (one fully accessible).
Several of the rooms open on to a private garden and adjoining paddock offering children and young people easy access to nature and our farm animals (ducks, hens and sheep).
The non-clinical environment appeals greatly to children and young people and helps them to engage with their therapy. Its comfortable furnishings help them feel relaxed and valued. The environment also enables me to incorporate Ecotherapy into my approach (see below), which is known to improve emotional wellbeing.