Younger children often cannot or do not want to talk about their problems so therapies that use play and the creative arts are more suitable for them. By Play Therapy UK The problems that affect children’s emotional well-being are many and varied. Over 60 have been identified with autistic spectrum and ADHD at the top of the list. Sometimes it is not obvious - a child may become shy because of lack of self-esteem or quiet and withdrawn because of traumatic experiences. You are not alone as a parent if your child has one of these issues. 10% of UK children have a mental health problem and another 10% are estimated to have an emotional or behaviour problem that prevents them reaching their full potential.
The Good News The brain has plasticity – the ability to change for the better, for example through therapy. However the brain is most plastic in our early years, so it’s important that psychological issues are dealt with as they emerge – from the age of four onwards. Be Selective There’s a wide range of therapies available. The most well-known is counselling, which is mainly a talking therapy which is most suitable for adults and teenagers. Younger children often cannot or do not want to talk about their problems so therapies that use play and the creative arts are more suitable for them. It’s essential to choose a therapist who receives regular clinical supervision and is on a register accredited by the Professional Standards Authority or registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). It’s also best to choose a therapy that has an adequate evidence base of clinical outcomes rather than just a knowledge base. The Register of Play and Creative Arts Therapists, managed by Play Therapy UK, is the only one that meets all these criteria at present. Search www.playtherapyregister.org.uk to find your nearest therapist.
A New Career for You? There’s a big shortage of registered Play Therapists. You can find out more about career opportunities at www.playtherapy.org.uk