“Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul.” – Froebel.
The Windfall Centre’s team of BAPT registered Play Therapists® provide short and long term programmes of Play Therapy for children and young people and we involve caregivers and other family members in an inclusive and flexible approach that recognises that every child experiences their world through a complex network of relationships.
Given that one out of every ten children in Wales will experience a mental health difficulty, and that half of all mental health problems in the UK begin by the age of 14 (National Assembly of Wales, Children, Young People and Education Committee, 2018), alongside the compounding impact of Covid 19 on mental health in Wales, we are so pleased to be able to offer this effective and robust treatment model for children, young people and their families in mid and West Wales. Please see our research page for supporting studies and literature to underpin this model.
Play Therapy is a proven and effective modality supporting clients of all ages facing a vast array of challenges and adversity. These may include experiences of abuse, trauma, bereavement and loss, domestic violence and family breakdown.
Play Therapy is effective due to the combined effects of the communicative and healing powers of play and the acceptance and containment embedded in the client’s relationship with the Play Therapist. The child leads the play and the Play Therapist follows, providing safety and containment, regulating and supporting the child’s self expression through the symbols and metaphors of play. Sometimes a more structured approach supports the child to explore specific concerns, or provides a safe space for moving on if the child has become stuck in their play.
Children express their feelings and communicate their experiences through play. They can work through trauma and try out different ideas and solutions for their dilemmas and gain mastery and confidence through play. Children do this naturally as part of their developmental journey, but when circumstances overwhelm the child’s resources, making them feel anxious and unsafe, they cannot ‘play it out’ without the support and skills of an empathetic and skilled Play Therapist who understands the developmental and mental health needs of the child. The in-depth therapeutic relationship promotes positive change in the child by supporting them to help themselves whilst expanding their capacity and resilience.
Our team of BAPT registered Play Therapists® work closely with parents/carers and we offer attachment focused interventions that attend to the parent & child relationship. See the information section: Filial Therapy and Working with Families.
We also work closely with professionals, offering advice and support to school staff, social work teams and others working for and on behalf of children at risk. Our team is trained to work with the developmental and mental health needs of children and young people. Our work is underpinned by intensive training, high levels of clinical supervision personal therapy and rigorous continuing professional development.
The Windfall Centre Play Therapy team are accredited members of the British Association of Play Therapists (BAPT) which is an organisation recognised and accredited by the Professional Standards Association (PSA). BAPT Play Therapists® are trained to Masters level and have to maintain annual records of clinical supervision and professional development.
“It is not enough to love the children, it is necessary for them to be aware that they
are loved.” – St John Bosco.
Filial Therapy is a unique approach to family therapy employed by professionals who have been first trained in Play Therapy. It is significantly different to most other models of family therapy in that the aim is to upskill and empower parents to be therapeutic agents of change and healing, with little to no direct work by the therapist with the child or children.
In Filial Therapy sessions, parents are taught basic child-centred Play Therapy principles and skills, such as reflective listening, recognizing and responding to children’s feelings, therapeutic limit setting, building children’s self-esteem and maintaining structured activities within weekly meetings with the Filial Therapist. Parents learn how to attune to their child’s thoughts, intentions and feelings which enhances the attachment relationship between caregiver and child.
As in child-centred Play Therapy, Filial Therapy is not focused on solving specific problems nor is it a quick fix, but rather aims for outcomes that are sustained over time and endure through stress as it works to strengthen the core bonds of a family, not change specific behaviours. It is especially beneficial in re-building strong attachment relationships where these have been undermined by adversity. Filial Therapy is particularly effective in adoption and foster care placements to ensure strong interpersonal bonds are formed. It is a flexible approach easily adapted to the individual needs of children and families. The Therapist works directly with the parents or carers throughout the programme, supporting and empowering them in new ways to interact with their child and building their confidence as they practice their new knowledge at home. This support can be maintained in follow-up sessions as needed. Children respond with delight to having their parent or carer’s undivided attention for a significant period of time, and parents and carers find renewed joy in their relationship with their child.
The History of Filial Therapy:
Filial therapy was developed in the 1960s by child and family therapists Bernard and Louise Guerney. Their original premise was that family attachment difficulties could be healed effectively through the active involvement of parents and carers within the Play Therapy process. This was built on by various other child therapists in both the USA and the UK, such as Garry Landreth, Sue Bratton and Rise VanFleet. Filial Therapy initial and continuing emphasis is on two key elements: Play as the child’s natural means of expression and integration, and parents and carers as the therapeutic partners.
Filial therapy has been extensively researched in the last 40-50 years (for example, Draper et al, 2009; Topham, 2011; Rye, 2008 and Bratton and Landreth, 1995.) It has been shown to help a wide range of families of different compositions. Research has also indicated that the progress in family and child functioning tends to last rather than to tail off after the therapist’s involvement ends.
Our new Tele-Play therapy is Play Therapy over the internet. Using Tele-Play therapy, we can reach children and families where it is too far to travel to one of our centres, or when it is not possible to meet face-to-face because of Coronavirus perhaps, or for other reasons.
We are very pleased to be able to offer this new service and are expanding it by developing a virtual playroom as an exciting addition. Our therapists have trained to the advanced level in using Tele-Play Therapy and the British Association of Play Therapists has confirmed it as a valuable way of supporting children and families.
We are also offering Filial Therapy using this way of working. Sessions can be held by telephone, tablet or computer, making use of proprietary software including: Apple Face Time, Zoom Meetings, Skype or other equivalent software products.
As a new programme, we will be monitoring how well it works, and our focus, as always, will be on the needs of the children and families we see.
“The day the child realises that all adults are imperfect, he becomes an
adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult; the day he forgives
himself, he becomes wise.” – Alden Nowlan.
Adolescence and early adulthood can be especially challenging and confusing times and young people may struggle with issues and circumstances they are encountering or have encountered in the past. These experiences may feel overwhelming and impact not only their own emotional health and well-being but also on those who care for them.
Counselling at Windfall is person-centred and trauma and attachment informed. The counselling approach draws on research, particularly into current neuro-scientific research into the development of the teenage/early adult brain. Specific training and experience in counselling children and young people, allows the counsellor to employ a range of specific skills, strategies and resources to ensure that each young person receives a uniquely tailored service to meet each individual need.
Counselling provides a safe space in which adolescents and young people are fully listened to and enabled to express themselves; to explore, and make sense of their experiences, without being judged or told what to do. Counselling is confidential unless the counsellor has specific concerns about the safety of the child or young person, in this case a decision will be made about any safeguarding action that may need to take place.
Counselling at Windfall is available to those under the age of 25 years. We accept self referrals from 18-25 year olds, please click on the form below:
“If I create from the heart, nearly everything works: if from the head, almost nothing.” – Marc Chagall.
Art psychotherapy enables verbal and non-verbal forms of communication. Creating images may help to express thoughts and feelings, giving a tangible form to issues that may be difficult to put into words.
The therapist supports the young person in their own reflections upon their work. There is no judgement of artistic or technical ability nor an attempt to interpret the meaning of a picture.
The art psychotherapist is concerned with encouraging the young person to use art in a way which allows for self- expression and personal growth. The framework of a safe and containing space, and the connection of a developing trusting relationship with the therapist, will empower the young person to engage with their creativity and positively reflect upon their experiences.
An individual does not need to have any prior experience of using art materials.
Images made during sessions may be reflected upon at that time, and can also be revisited at a later date.
Art psychotherapy is used in a variety of settings both with adults and children; in hospitals, residential and day care provision, the private sector, forensic and prison services, education, charities, social services, child and adolescent and adult mental health services.
Issues around feeling stuck, low confidence and self esteem, trauma, loss or bereavement, sense of identity, bullying, anxiety and stress may be further explored through image making where verbal and emotional expression feels too difficult.
Access to Art Psychotherapy
Art Psychotherapy can be provided as individual and group sessions. At The Windfall Centre, Art Psychotherapy is presently available individually on Tuesday and Thursday. Referrals are made in discussion with individuals, their families and carers and organisations that may be involved with the provision of care.
Sessions are offered on a weekly basis providing a safe, containing and consistent environment in which to think and explore.
The content of art psychotherapy sessions remains confidential unless the therapist has concerns about a risk to that individual or others.
In that event, and in discussion with the individual, an appropriate safeguarding member of the multi-disciplinary team will be involved.
Art work is stored safely and can be revisited and reflected upon throughout therapy.
Principles of Professional Practice
Art Psychotherapists hold a post graduate qualification to practice and are state registered with HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council). They are bound by HCPC and BAAT (British Association of Art Therapists), to observe the professional principles and codes of practice
Further information about art psychotherapy can be obtained from BAAT (British Association of Art Therapists) email@example.com