Play is a child’s natural form of expression. Play Therapy uses play to communicate with children as it helps them to release their fears and worries, and express their needs and wishes. The use of play allows children to communicate feelings about difficult experiences they may not be able to recall or express in words. Play Therapy sessions are conducted in a playroom with a qualified Play Therapist. A wide variety of toys and play materials are available to the child to explore important issues and feelings. The child’s parents or carers are closely involved in the therapy process and are sometimes invited to join their child in the playroom.
At the Connolly Counselling Centre we have a multi-disciplinary team of specialists who can assess, treat and advise these children and their parents/caregivers. Many of our counsellors have in-depth experience with children and adolescents, but we also have a dedicated play therapist on staff – Frances Burns.
A unique facility at the centre is our play room that is fully equipped with audio visual recording facilities. In this setting we can observe children at play, alone or with a parent/caregiver. We can record these observation sessions for further viewing at home. Due to the use of the latest technology, we are able to have the parent and child play together while the therapist issues instructions to the adult through a discreet ear piece. These instructions can then be carried out and recorded for follow-up in the family home or care setting. This facility is currently the only one of its kind in the private sector in Ireland.
We recognise that parents and other caregivers are the most important people in children’s lives and are often the best adults to support children with difficult issues and events. We offer a consultation service for parents and other caregivers so that they can better support their child with a particular issue or concern.
These 1½ hour sessions are designed to:
- increase parents/caregivers understanding of the issues from the child’s point of view
- provide parents/caregivers with practical information and suggestions to support their child
- empower parents/caregivers
- strengthen the parent-child relationship
- prevent problems from developing in the future
Services for Parents and Carers of Adopted Children
Adopted children have unique needs. Many of them come from backgrounds of neglect, trauma, chaos or abuse. Some of them have been born with developmental difficulties. A significant number of them have attachment difficulties which cause them to exhibit disturbed or challenging behaviour at home, school or community.
Our play therapy expertise and facilities are ideal settings for providing the help that these children and their adoptive families may need, and our therapists are trained to handle the often delicate and unique situations that arise.
You can read some advice on this from Centre founder Owen Connolly in his blog post What Issues May Parents of Adopted Children Face?