Play therapy

Empowering children through their play. 

Play Therapy

Children play. Play helps children socialise, work out problems, test themselves, learn new skills and have fun.

Non-directive play therapy encompasses children's natural play to empower and enable them to develop positive

coping strategies to deal with their problems now and in the future. Therefore play therapy helps the child, their family,

the school and the wider community.

Neuroscience is at the heart of play therapy:

"Neuroscience is the gateway into the future of play therapy. It allows therapists to understand what is happening inside of themselves, what is happening inside of their child clients and ultimately what is happening between them in the playroom. Play therapists have the ability to take a child’s healing to levels and depths that they haven’t been able to access before and neuroscience is the bridge to get there."

Lisa Dion, Synergetic Play Therapy Institute. []

Individual sessions for ages 3-12: 45 minute session/week.

The play therapist, Lesley follows the Axline principles:

  • Develops a warm and friendly relationship with the child.
  • Accepts the child as she or he is.
  • Establishes a feeling of permission in the relationship so that the child feels free to express his or her feelings completely.
  • Is alert to recognise the feelings the child is expressing and reflects these feelings back in such a manner

                   that the child gains insight into his or her behaviour.

  • Maintains a deep respect for the child’s ability to solve his/her problems and gives the child the opportunity

                   to do so.  The responsibility to make choices and to institute change is the child’s.

  • Does not attempt to direct the child’s actions or conversations in any manner.  The child leads the way, the therapist follows.
  • Does not hurry the therapy along.  It is a gradual process and must be recognised as such by the therapist.
  • Only establishes those limitations necessary to anchor the therapy to the world of reality and to make

                    the child aware of his/her responsibility in the relationship.   

                    Virginia Axline (1969) based her approach on the person-centred philosophy of Carl Rogers.

All play therapy sessions are confidential unless the children disclose a danger to themselves or someone else. Safeguarding is a priority and any child protection issues will be dealt with immediately.


Referrals will be accepted from parents (or carers), GP’s, teachers, social workers and other professionals. 

If you have a child in mind or are interested to find out more about play therapy, please complete the contact form below.

What happens next:

  • Lesley will contact you to arrange an initial consultation.
  • You can discuss the child’s needs in detail and complete a short questionnaire (Goodman’s Strengths and Difficulties questionnaire). 
  • If you agree to play therapy, a minimum number of 12 sessions is recommended.
  • A review will be held after 8 sessions to discuss the child’s progress.  Further sessions may be recommended or the child will be ready to end play therapy.
  • Once the child has finished, an end meeting will be arranged to discuss the outcomes and future recommendations. 

NB: Written parental / guardian consent is essential before play therapy commences. 

Duration of interventions:

Short term intervention: 12 - 16 sessions

Medium intervention: 17 - 24 sessions

Long term intervention: 25+


Sunshine Play Therapy 2019