The first stage of a therapy process for children and families involves a thorough assessment. Initially, I will meet with you to discuss what has been going on for your child. We will explore what has been happening in their lives and how this has affected them emotionally and behaviourally. By looking at your family history, I will see him/her within the context of their whole family.
Following this, I will then decide how best to proceed with the rest of the assessment. This could include a combination of the following assessment approaches:
- 1-2 sessions of play therapy with your child
- Assessment of parent-child interaction (using the Marschak Interaction Method)
- Attachment Assessments (Story Stems Assessment Profiling, child attachment interview)
At this stage I will have a good understanding of the issues affecting your child and how best to help. Your child’s needs will be the driver for which approach is deemed most appropriate: play therapy or Theraplay.
If your child attends for play therapy, I will see them on their own at weekly scheduled times for 40-45 minute sessions. I will see parents for a review session every 4-6 weeks, where we will discuss progress. I may also run joint sessions for you and your child, engaging you both in playful and nurturing activities.
If you and your child attend for Theraplay the focus will be on the parent-child relationship. Following the MIM assessment (see above), I will select the Theraplay games that I feel most appropriate. I will then lead you and your child through supportive, structured sessions. Every 4-6 weeks there will be parent reviews where we discuss progress. Through playful engagement, we will build the quality of the attachment between you and your child. You will become empowered to be able to engage your child in the sessions, skills that will transfer from the clinic to the home.
You as parents will be centrally involved in your child’s therapeutic journey. You will strengthen your ability to recognise your child’s feelings and what is going on for them. We will discuss what you can do at home, play techniques that you can enjoy together. In this way, you will continue growing and deepening the bond between you and your child, as well as helping them to manage their feelings.