play therapy

You are here: Homeplay therapy
You are here: Homeplay therapy
single image

Importatnt 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    

Play Therapy can help primary-aged children in a variety of ways. In Play Therapy, children have a large selection of play materials to choose from. This might include art and craft materials, sand and water, clay, small figures and animals, puppets and books etc. The Play Therapist encourages the child to use these materials to express themselves without having to use verbal communication. They don’t have to speak or answer questions.

This non-directive support helps 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.

Before the sessions start, the Play Therapist will meet with the parent/ care-giver in order to determine together whether Play Therapy is the right approach for the child. They also answer any questions the parent/ care-giver may have, including how they can prepare their child to come along to Play Therapy, and support them through the process. Please note that, except where we have safety concerns, the child’s session is confidential for them. The Play Therapist will check in with the parent/ care-giver regularly, to support, discuss progress, and share observations, but specific content is not shared, and can form no part of any legal or mediation proceedings.

Avenue’s Play Therapists have a qualification in Play Therapy that is recognised by PT-UK (the Play Therapy regulatory body) and they all the work within PT-UK ethical frameworks . Our Play Therapists all have enhanced disclosure/PVG checks, adhere to Avenue’s safeguarding and child protection policy, and participate in regular clinical supervision.


Sessions are 50 minutes long and take place weekly, face-to-face at our base in Aberdeen.

How many sessions your child will need will depend on their particular circumstances, but we typically start with the expectation that you will have 12 sessions. We can review this with you as the play therapy progresses.



Play Therapy is free for primary-aged children who live in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire or Moray.

We ask that you consider making a donation to our work. Avenue is a charity and we work hard to make sure that anyone who needs our support can access our services. Any donation you can make will help us to ensure that we can get help to the people who need it most.

Please be aware that we can only offer Play Therapy to children who live in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire or Moray, and as this is a face-to-face only service it can only currently be delivered in Aberdeen.

We are able to offer free Play Therapy thanks to the support of a range of funders, including: Aberdeen City Health and Social Care Partnership, Aberdeen City Common Good Fund, Aberdeenshire Council, BBC Children in Need, John Gordon’s Charitable Fund and the Scottish Government.

If you would like more information, or would like to refer a child to Play Therapy, please call our Service Administration team on 01224 587571, or email them at

Our online referral forms can be completed here.    Self Referral        Professional Referral  



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.