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Play Therapy

Ruth is a certified play and creative arts therapist, who has been working one-to-one with children at Leafield School for the past three years. She is registered both with Play Therapy UK (see for more information on play therapy in general) and the BACP.  

Originally qualified as an Early Years and KS1 teacher, over the course of her career she has worked extensively with children and young people who struggle both with learning needs and social and emotional difficulties.  She passionately believes in being an advocate for those children and young people she works with, helping them get their needs identified and heard.  She trained as a play and creative arts therapist, following a period as a nurture support teacher, because she wanted to dedicate more time to helping individuals effect change in their lives.   

Also qualified as a Reading Recovery teacher, coupled with her own diagnosis of dyslexia, she has developed a deep understanding of the emotional needs of children with specific learning difficulties and those who identify as neurodivergent.   

More recently, she has undertaken additional training to become a Parent and Child Attachment Play practitioner, running sessions with parent and child to strengthen attachment relationships within families, as well as specialist child trauma training, via the CATT programme, and is a SandStory practitioner.   

What is play therapy: 

Play Therapy is a mode of therapy that helps children to explore their feelings, to express themselves and to make sense of their life experiences. Play is children’s natural medium to learn, communicate and to explore their worlds. Recovery from difficult life experiences can be facilitated by a Play Therapist, allowing a child freedom of expression in a safe and trusting environment. Conventional talking therapies may be inappropriate for children and young people who struggle to put their feelings into words. Play Therapy allows children the opportunity to explore and understand these feelings. It can enable them to shift their perspective of abuse or difficulty so that they are less likely to internalise blame. The resulting empowerment and increased self-esteem can be the springboard to help the child to cope with difficulties in the real world.’  

Play Therapy is an effective intervention for children with a variety of presenting difficulties including:  

  • Children or young people who have been abused, neglected or traumatised;  

  • Those who have experienced loss through bereavement, family breakdown or separation from culture of origin;  

  • Children who are ill, disabled or who cope with carers or siblings with disabilities;  

  • Those who have witnessed violence or the abuse of substances;  

  • Children who have emotional or behavioural difficulties (e.g. depression and/or aggression) arising from their experiences.  

'Play Therapy can offer such children a space in which the feelings these experiences generate can be expressed and contained. It can promote resilience within each child to enable him or her to discover a more hopeful view of the world.’ (