Since 2005 Govan Home and Education Link Project has been offering a range of therapeutic services to children (aged 3—12 years) including Play Therapy, Theraplay & Friendship Groups.
Why would a child require therapy?
Therapy helps children to understand confusing feelings and upsetting events that they have not yet had the chance to sort out. Rather than having to explain what is troubling them, therapy allows children to use play as a way to communicate safely .
Therapy can assist children whose difficult life experiences (family bereavement, trauma, homelessness, asylum issues) are affecting their relationships with family and friends, and/or their progress in school and nursery. It can also support children who are moving between schools and children with additional support needs including autism.
The outcomes of therapy will vary and can include:
Play Therapy provides children with individual space and time to work through difficult experiences, thoughts and feelings. The Play Therapist will offer emotional support to the child by listening, reflecting and helping the child try to understand why they are feeling a certain way. The therapist will also join in the play if the child wishes.
There is a private playroom in both Govan Road and Pirie Park campuses, with a wide variety of games and activities (sand, art, clay, dolls and figures, dressing up & construction). As well as using the toys, children can talk to the therapist about how they are feeling.
Play Therapy is usually non directive, meaning the child can decide how they want to use the session, what toys they want to play with, and if they want to talk to the therapist. Sometimes the therapist will offer directive work if the child is needing help with a specific issue. Examples of this include guided meditations for children experiencing stress, and social games involving turn-taking for children with autism.
If the child has significant relationships problems, particularly with his/her parent, the therapist may invite the parents into some sessions, teaching them nuture techniques that they can then use at home. This is called Theraplay and is explained further below.
All therapy sessions last 45 minutes, although younger children may be better suited to shorter sessions. Sessions happen at the same time each week in order to allow the child continuity, and children may have around 20 individual sessions depending on their level of difficulty.
From 2016 Govan HELP has been facilitating Theraplay groups for pre-5 children and their parents/carers. These are run over 6 weekly sessions and will aim to improve the positive attachment between child and parent. During the sessions the Play Therapist will guide the group through a range of nurturing games & activities involving eye-contact, touch and physical holding. Parents will be encouraged to initiate these activities at home.
Our 6 session Friendship Groups run throughout the school year for primary aged children, whose difficulty in forming and maintaining friendships is affecting their progress within school. Within the group the therapist leads the children through games and activities, which require cooperation, turn taking & sharing.
Working in Partnership with Parents & Staff
Parents/carers, school/nursery staff, other professionals and children themselves can all make referrals to our therapeutic services.
When a referral is received we will have a meeting with the parents and referrer to find out more about why the child requires therapeutic support. At these meetings we will also agree “goals” of the service. We have found that therapy works best when parents are also actively involved in the process, including attending review meetings. Unfortunately we are unable to offer therapeutic support without the parents involvement. Govan HELP offers a wide range of services and staff can also offer additional and complementary supports to the whole family.
We hold regular reviews meetings to discuss how therapy has been progressing and at the and of therapy children, parents and staff are asked to complete evaluation.
The therapist never tells parents and staff exactly what the child says or does, but instead talks about the themes that are coming through in therapy. This is because the session is private and we respect the confidentiality of the child. The only limit to confidentiality is if child reports something leading the therapist or other staff to believe that they or another child is unsafe.
For more information contact Aileen on 0141 445 6481
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