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“Enter into children’s play and you will find the place where their minds, hearts, and souls meet.”

Virginia Axline

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“Play Therapy is based upon the fact that play is the child’s natural medium of self-expression. It is an opportunity that is given to the child to ‘play out’ his feelings and problems just as in adult therapy an individual ‘talks out’ thier difficulties.” (Virginia Axline). 

Play Therapy is a powerful tool for addressing cognitive, behavioural, and emotional challenges. Play is used therapeutically to help children better process their experiences and develop more effective strategies for managing their worlds. 

In play therapy, children can play out, literally and/or metaphorically, their inner and real-life experiences in a way that builds insight and capacity. Play therapy allows children to express, regulate, communicate, practice and master new skills as well as their emotional responses. (APS, InPsych, 2015)


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How will play therapy help your child?

- Children become more responsible for behaviours and develop more successful strategies.

- Children develop new and creative solutions to problems.

- Children develop respect and acceptance of self and others.

- Children learn to experience and express emotion.

- Children cultivate empathy and respect for the thoughts and feelings of others.

- Children learn new social skills and relational skills with family and friends.

- Children develop self-efficacy and thus a better assuredness about their abilities (Association for Play Therapy).

​The primary goal of non-directive play therapy is to encourage self-directed growth and change in the child. This process occurs through the exploration of the child’s feelings through play to encourage the child’s increased sense of self-worth (Moustakas, 1959).

Is play therapy suitable for your child?

Children attend play therapy for an array of reasons, such as emotional regulation and stress tolerance issues; behavioural issues (caused by bullying, grief and loss, divorce and abandonment, physical and sexual abuse, and crisis and trauma) and mental health disorders (ie: anxiety, depression, OCD; Neurodevelopmental Disorders (ADHD and ASD (autism spectrum disorders), academic and social impairment, physical and learning disabilities and conduct disorders. For more information about social, emotional and behavioural disorders click here

Is your child between the ages of 3 and 10 years old?

Child-centered play therapy is a creative and respectful method of therapy optimally suited to 3 to 10-year-olds.

How long does the process of play therapy take?

This is dependent on the nature of each child's challenges; how quickly they build a trusting relationship with the play therapist and how open they are with expressing their views and emotions. The amount of play therapy sessions needed also depends on how long it takes for children to progress through the stages of play therapy. For the majority of children, this will take anywhere between 18-24 sessions in total with the benefits of play therapy usually becoming evident after 12-14 sessions.


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The relationship our play therapist builds with children, as well as their interactions, is based on the 8 Basic Principles of Play Therapy (Axline, 1974). These principles are for the Play Therapist to:

- develop a warm, friendly relationship with the child, in which good rapport is established as soon as possible.

- accept the child exactly as they are.

- establish a feeling of permission in the relationship so that the child feels free to express their feelings completely.

- recognise the feelings the child is expressing and reflect those feelings to them in such a manner that helps the child gain insight into their behaviour.

- maintain a deep respect for the child’s ability to solve their problems if given an opportunity to do so.

- not attempt to direct the child’s actions or conversation in any manner. The child leads the way; the therapist follows.

- not attempt to hurry the therapy along. It is a gradual process and is recognised as such by the therapist.

- establish only those limitations that are necessary to anchor the therapy to the world of reality and to make the child aware of their responsibility in the relationship.

To learn more about our Play Therapist click here


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"Through the medium of play, child and therapist work together in a counselling space called a playroom, which is equipped with toys that aim to encourage the clear and vivid expression of feelings while supporting the development of healthier behaviours in a safe, non-threatening environment" (Herbert & Ballard, 2007; Levy, 2008; Rasmussen & Cunnigham, 1995).


The playroom is a safe space where children can play and truly be themselves without external school, home and social pressures. Play therapy sessions provide an oasis where children can make their own decisions, have their voices heard and experience their emotions and behaviours whilst being supported by the therapeutic relationship with the Play Therapist. In the play therapy room, all feelings are accepted, and children know that it is a place where they are safe. It’s okay to be angry, to test limits, or even to sit and do nothing. Over time, children become more comfortable expressing and working through their feelings and emotions.

Children use toys to express emotions, learn new coping skills, increase self-esteem, develop responsibility, improve decision-making skills and increase self-control. The toys that a child chooses and how they use these toys can provide insight into what a child wants and what they may need.


Do the following times and location suit you and your child? If so please join the waiting list HERE

MACLEOD: open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9.15 am until 5:00 pm

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