What is Play Therapy?

Alison works from a holistic and child-centred theoretical perspective, providing a safe space and trusting environment through the therapeutic relationship, allowing a child to communicate at their own level and pace to express, explore and make sense of their difficult and painful thoughts, feelings and experiences and problems through play. Alison works closely with the child’s support network and offers advice and strategies to parents, carers and teaching staff involved.

What are the benefits?

Child-centred play therapy has many benefits for children, including:

  • Reduces anxiety about traumatic events in the child's life
  • Facilitates a child's expression of feelings
  • Promotes self-confidence and a sense of competence
  • Develops a sense of trust in self and others
  • Defines healthy boundaries
  • Creates or enhances healthy bonding in relationships
  • Enhances creativity and imagination
  • Promotes appropriate behaviour

Play therapy can not only help children to recover from difficult life experiences, but also in doing so, helps children to be more receptive to learning and therefore enables their educational needs to be better metthus reducing the need for additional children’s services.

It also can:

  • Help children to build healthier relationships with teaching staff and peers
  • Help reduce emotional, behavioural and social obstacles to learning
  • Help improve adaptation to the classroom
  • Help enhance communication skills and emotional literacy
  • Help develop their concentration
  • Help promote their self-esteem and confidence
  • Help encourage the curiosity and engagement
  • Help give children an outlet for their feelings and develops coping skills
  • Help support transition to secondary school


Why play therapy in school?

Play therapy in schools is very appropriate for the following reasons:

It is a familiar and safe environment for both children and their parents/carers

  • It is accessible for all children
  • It provides consistency and reliability
  • School staff often have a unique perspective on children in their care and can identify difficulties and changes early on
  • School staff interact closely with children in their care and therefore can support the child with their development, learning and behaviour

How does the process of Play Therapy work?

Once you have made contact with Alison, she will arrange a Free meeting to discuss Play Therapy in your school. During the meeting she will discuss having Play Therapy in your school; including potential Play Therapy referrals, what day and time, and suitable play therapy room that the Play Therapy can take place each week that is consistent and private.

Once a referral is received the school will be asked to make contact with the parents/carers of the children to arrange an introductory meeting. This will be part of the assessment period, gathering relevant information, sharing details of the play therapy process and completing a therapy consent form. Further assessments at this point may take place, including observations, joining parent and child sessions, child assessment sessions and talking with the relevant professionals involved with the child.

Alison will then begin the Play Therapy work with the child, which will be at the same time and place once a week for usually 45/50 minutes. During the first session with the child, Alison will explain the child to explain Play Therapy to them in age appropriateness language to help them understand what play therapy is about and why they are attending, introduce them to the materials and explain the rules and procedures of the Play Therapy space.

Child-centred play therapy cannot take place without the parents/carers consent and the child’s assent

Initially 6 sessions once a week will be agreed upon and after this, it is between the therapist, client and parent/guardian about therapy continuing with regular progress reviews. For some children they will respond to short term intervention of roughly 12 weeks. Children whose problems have persisted for a long time or are complicated may need a longer-term intervention. The number of sessions depends on the individual child. The play therapy sessions usually take place between 45-50 minutes each week, on the same day and time, which is intended to provide consistency for the child and helps to develop a trusting relationship.

What I offer

  • One-to-one Play Therapy
  • Teacher and parent consultations and support
  • Positive parenting support
  • Assessments
  • Early intervention
  • Parent and child relationship work
  • Attending multi-disciplinary team meetings
  • School lunchtime drop-in sessions

Alison Play Therapy covers the areas of Hertfordshire, North London including Radlett, Mill Hill, Edgware, Barnet, Bushey, Watford, Potters Bar, Elstree, Stevenage, St Albans and the surrounding areas.