play therapy

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Important message about our Play Therapy service.

With regret, we have taken the decision to close our Play Therapy waiting list for the time being. Over recent months, we have seen an increase in demand coupled with an increase in the complexity of the trauma that children are presenting with. Unfortunately, we have limited resources to meet these children’s needs and have had to take the decision to focus on the children currently on our list. We are extremely sorry to have to do this, and are working hard to reopen the list as soon as we can.


Play therapy is for primary-aged children. It can help them in a variety of ways. Children receive emotional non-directive support which allows them to understand more about their own feelings and thoughts. Sometimes they may re-enact or play out difficult or traumatic life experiences in order to make sense of things of their past and cope better with their future. Children may also learn to manage relationships and conflicts in more appropriate ways.

The play therapist will have a large selection of play materials for children to choose from. These may include art and craft materials, sand and water, clay, small figures and animals, puppets and books etc. The therapist will encourage your child to use these to express themselves without having to use verbal communication. They don’t have to speak or answer questions.

Your play therapist will meet with you initially as the care giver and can answer any questions you may have, including how to share with your child that they will be coming along for play therapy.

A play session can last between 45 mins to an hour max.


Using play as a method of communication, our Play Therapist helps children express their feelings and develop problem-solving skills.  Children learn …

  • creative coping skills
  • to be more responsible for their behaviour
  • empathy and respect for self and others
  • social skills with family and friends
  • to express their feelings in positive ways

Toys are like the child’s words and play is their language. Through play, children learn new skills and behaviours.


For further information or to discuss the option of Play Therapy at Avenue, please contact us

Micheal's Story

When my wife and I split up, we didn’t realise that Anna, our seven year old daughter had taken it so badly.  When she was staying with me at the weekends, we did lots of stuff together and she was fine.  But when she was with her Mum, she was having tantrums, screaming, hitting and refusing to go to bed.  To be honest, I thought her Mum was exaggerating because she was always good when she was with me. 

Normally Anna would be dropped off at my house on a Friday but one particular day, I went to collect her from her Mum’s.  When I arrived, she was totally out of control.  I watched in horror as she screamed, threw things around the room and was trying to hit her mother.  My being there made no difference at all.

I felt guilty for not really believing my ex-wife. I agreed to be supportive and we’d work something out.  We didn’t agree on many things, but we both felt ashamed that we couldn’t control our own daughter.  Her behaviour had been going on since we separated, about six months – too long.  Our GP referred us to Play Therapy as Anna was too young for counselling.  We’d never heard of it but were willing to try anything.

My ex and I also had sessions with the therapist which really helped.  We were relieved to find out that there was nothing wrong with Anna, she was just frustrated by her new family situation and trying to tell us that.  Within a few months the change was incredible, she was calmer and much happier.  Even I saw a big difference when she was with me.  My Ex and I had to get past our feelings towards each other to help Anna. It wasn’t easy but we all got there in the end.