Our service is founded on the principles of Carl Rogers and the Person-Centred Approach and all our psychotherapists/counsellors embrace and work within these values. Person-centred therapy focuses upon the power of the relationship between the therapist and the client to affect change. Given the right relationship the individual has within themselves the capacity for growth, change and development. Counselling is a collaborative effort, offering confidentiality in a warm, safe environment. By providing compassion, understanding and acceptance it enables the client to express their true feelings without fear of judgement. “The desire to be understood – truly and deeply understood – is a universal yearning. It is part of our human hunger for contact and for relationship”. (Erskine) We specialise in working with children and young people but also provide counselling for adults. When working with children and young people we initially focus on developing a therapeutic relationship in order to provide a “secure base” to promote safe self-exploration. As we know one way of working does not fit all therefore from this “secure base” the psychotherapists/counsellors work in an integrative way to establish, with the young person, what the best approach is in order to meet their needs.
“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” (Plato)
Play is the language of the child; it is the most important way a child can make sense of their world. It is central to their emotional and social wellbeing. Play allows a child to find meaning by sorting, solving and resolving experiences and encourage their imagination. It allows mastering and learning and time to negotiate a relationship between inner and outer reality.
We have a natural force that drives us towards maturity, independence and self-direction. However to achieve this we need to find out who we are in an atmosphere of acceptance and understanding.
“A child will not change until the child is free not to change” (Landreth).
What is Therapeutic Play?
It is a way of working that is familiar to the child, the natural medium of play. It allows the child to express their feelings, thoughts and behaviours in a safe and controlled environment, and in their own time and at their own pace.
What will happen in the Therapy Session?
Therapeutic Play will take place in a specially equipped playroom containing a large selection of toys, small figures and animals, musical instruments, puppets, books, art and craft materials. The Therapeutic Play Therapist will be accepting, understanding, friendly and sensitive to the needs of the child; enabling them to use the resources in order to express themselves.
How can it help?
As play is the language of the child it provides an opportunity for them to ‘speak’ about what is important to them at any given time. They are in command of themselves and can play out any pent up feelings such as frustration, tension, confusion, fear, aggression, insecurity, rejection. Play is vital for a child’s whole development.
The therapy helps the child express themselves and begin to make sense of the world around them and cope better with their future. They often learn how to manage relationships better and deal with conflicts in a more appropriate way.
How many sessions will it take?
As all children’s situations and needs are different it is difficult to be specific. However some children will reach a good place in around 12 sessions, but for others it may take longer. When problems have persisted for a long time or if their situation is complex they may require the therapist to be involved for longer. Sessions are usually weekly for around 45 minutes and if possible on the same day and time as this is best for the child, particularly in order to develop the therapeutic relationship.
In therapeutic play it is essential that the child feels safe, comfortable and most importantly, understood . When they do the therapeutic relationship will develop and along with it trust. Once the child learns to trust the therapist it becomes easier for them to express themselves and gain the most out of the therapy.
An essential feature of counselling is that what a child says or does in the session is treated confidentially in order to maintain the child’s trust in the therapist. Parents/Carers will however be kept up to date with progress and have an opportunity to discuss any changes or developments that they may have experienced at home.
If however the therapist is concerned that the child is being harmed, is hurting themselves or others they may need to share this information with other professionals. They will usually talk to the Parent/Carer about this first.
How Can Parents/Carers help?
Supporting your child through the process of therapy is very important. Please…
Make every effort for your child to attend every session
Try to avoid asking them what they did or talked about in the session as this may put pressure on them.
Allow them to tell you if they want to and accept if they don’t
Remember therapy is about the freedom to express themselves so avoid asking them to be ‘good’ or check later whether they have been.
Avoid instructing your child to tell the therapist certain things; allow your child to use the session in their own way. Raise any concerns you may have with the therapist at a later date.
Remember play can get messy so if your child could wear clothes that they won’t worry about getting dirty.
Be aware that behaviour may appear to get worse before it gets better.
Sand tray therapy involves working with either sand, either dry wet or both, and using miniature toys and objects to enable creative expression. It is often used with children but can be very effective with adults, adolescents, couples, families and groups.
It allows the client to construct their own micro-world using the objects of their choice, with the creation acting as a reflection of the client’s own life. Such reflection is often on a subconscious level, which allows the opportunity to gain awareness, resolve conflicts, identify and possibly remove obstacles and connect with the inner self.
When dealing with situations involving highly charged emotions it is not always possible to find the right words to describe feelings, thoughts or actions. By being invited to work with the sand it enables freedom of expression without the reliance on words. Some clients can initially be skeptical about working in this way, as they feel restricted by their imagination. However with an open mind the rusty creative part of our brains can be accessed and imagination can be increased, which can lead to expressing the ‘unexpressible’.
Although this approach may look like child’s play, it is a highly therapeutic and complex form of therapy that can provide immense emotional release and insight for a client.
Adoption is an arrangement for the upbringing of children whose parents by birth are no longer able to care for them. It is an arrangement which is socially recognised and regulated and, as such, reflects the current values of society. Adoption evokes strong emotions, touching as it does ideas and feelings about the family, belonging, parenting, separation, attachment, loss, heredity and environment. These emotions are not only experienced by the adoptee but also family and friends of both the birth and adoptive family.
The Adoption and Children Act 2002 requires that counselling for anyone whose life has been affected by adoption i.e. adoptees, adopters, adoptive family members, or birth family members, must be carried out by a registered adoptions counsellor. At Time to Listen we have counsellors trained and registered to provide adoption counselling.
Art Therapy uses art as the main form of communication. Using this approach does not mean that the client has to have any previous experience, knowledge or skill of art. The therapist is not focusing on the finished image, the aim is to enable the client explore and possibly gain awareness of their situation with the use of art materials in a safe and therapeutic environment.
As with all therapies the therapeutic relationship is essential, however with art therapy it differs in that it becomes a three way process involving the client, the therapist and the image or object produced. Working in this way allows for expression and communication, often without the need for the spoken word, and can be a very useful approach with people who find it difficult to express themselves verbally.
Our Art therapists are qualified and experienced practitioners who have a considerable understanding of art and work with both individuals and groups.
Funding grants successfully awarded from the following have enabled Time to Listen to thrive and grow as an essential therapeutic service despite the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding has enabled Time to Listen to continue being responsive to the needs of our local communities.