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Children's issues

"The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice." (Peggy O'Mara)
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What help is available?

I offer the following help for children and adolescents:

(1) Integrative treatment of anxiety and specific phobias (fear of the dark, fear of dogs and other animals etc) with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Neurolinguistic Psychotherapy, Hypnotherapy and Emotional Freedom Techniques. Therapy for uncomplicated phobias and some simpler forms of anxiety usually takes no more than 2-3 sessions - though if the fear issues are more complex and extensive they may require longer treatment.

(2) Treatment of trauma with EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing), EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), and Therapeutic Play from a few sessions for a single incident or shock, to long-term treatment for complex cases.

(3) Treatment of emotional and behavioural difficulties through Therapeutic Play (including Sandplay Therapy) and Hypnotherapy. Depending on the individual child and the level of complexity, treatment typically lasts 6 to 12 sessions for mild problems, though can be significantly longer for more challenging problems and issues. This type of therapy allows a child to express and process their feelings and experiences in symbolic form through play, in a safe, gentle and non-intrusive way. Therapeutic play may take various forms, including art & craft, storytelling, music, movement, puppets and sandplay.

Therapeutic Play can help children with a wide range of emotional and behavioural difficulties, including:

With the child's and parent's consent I may also incorporate Animal Assisted Therapy, involving one or more of my pets to assist the child with emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Counselling is also available for adolescents and young people, either face-to-face or online (via instant messaging).

Enquiring about therapy for your child

Feel free to contact me for a confidential informal chat via phone 07887 61755807887 617558 or email masha@practicalhappiness.co.uk, we can discuss your concerns and decide on the best course of action. When enquiring about therapy for your child, it would be useful if you download and complete the Strengths & Difficulties Questionnaire which will help decide what type of approach and what length of treatment would be most appropriate. Parents, teachers, SENCOs and other professionals wishing to refer a child for treatment can download the Referral Form here.

A written consent will be required from the parent or guardian before the treatment can commence.  

I currently offer reduced cost treatment for children and adolescents (£40 per session in my Glossop practice, and £50 in Mossley, instead of the normal £80), and further discounts are available to families on low income.

In addition to seeing your child, I am able to offer individual support to parents, to help you manage your own emotions and any difficulties relating to child's behaviour. (See Appointments for further information.)

Here is an example of feedback from the mother of a 4 year old boy (quoted with permission): "I have no words to thank you for helping us finally grasp what my son is going through... I finally felt able to empathise with him and to think of ways to respond in a positive way to his aggression and his difficult behaviour. Earlier I had been feeling resentment towards my son as I did not know why he was acting like that... Also, after our session I tried the "magic buttons" and I was really surprised to feel instant dissipation of my tension! Thank you so much..."

Why choose me as a therapist for your child?

My experience with children and young people stems from working as a therapist in a residential children's home, my work with drug-dependent young offenders in a prison setting, treating children in my private psychotherapy practice, and voluntary work as a play therapist in a primary school. Between 2012 and 2013 I have also volunteered as an online counsellor for Beat Bullying, an award-winning UK charity that supports and empowers children and young people to stand up against bullying in all its forms, and more recently have been working as an online child counsellor/psychotherapist for Xenzone Ltd. Between January and early April 2013 I volunteered in Sri Lanka, teaching trauma counselling in areas affected by 30 years of civil war and 2004 tsunami, where I also taught groups of children self-help tools for reducing stress and anxiety.

I am currently undertaking advanced level post-qualifying training in Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy with the Northern Guild for Psychotherapy, and specialist training on working with trauma and dissociation in children with Dr Renee Marks of Integrate Families. I have completed postgraduate-level modules in Therapeutic Play with the Canterbury Christ Church University / The Academy of Play and Child Psychotherapy (2010-2011) as well as the Professional Development Award in Creative Therapy with Stockport College of Higher & Further Education (2005-2006), and have been undertaking further training in Sandplay Therapy with Temenos Learning Centre and with the Association for Integrative Sandplay Therapists, plus training in Therapeutic Art with the latter association. Additionally I have completed the EMDR Europe accredited training in using Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing specifically for treating trauma in children and young people, specialised CPD workshops in hypnotherapy for children with Lynda Hudson, and also training in Animal Assisted Interventions in Therapeutic Practice with SCAS.

I undertake regular clinical supervision with an experienced psychotherapy supervisor, hold an up-to-date Enhanced DBS (former CRB) Certificate and am fully insured to practise.

Useful downloads

Child Referral Form

Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire


Sources of information & support

Parentlineplus Tel: 0808 800 2222 FREE0808 800 2222

Gingerbread Tel: 0808 802 0925 FREE0808 802 0925. Support, information and advice for single parents.

Play Therapy International Tel: 01825 761 14301825 761 143

Action for Children

Action for Kids supports children and young people with physical and learning disabilities and their families.

Barnardo's

Beat Bullying offers support and information for young people, parents and professionals.

Cyber Mentors is a website offering online support, peer mentoring and counselling for young people who are experiencing bullying and other issues.

Rainbow Trust provides emotional and practical support to families who have a child with a life threatening or terminal illness.

Elisabeth Svendsen Trust supports children with disabilities and special needs through donkey-assisted therapeutic activities.

Stop It Now works to prevent child sexual abuse by encouraging awareness and early recognition of the problem. Tel: 0808 1000 900 FREE0808 1000 900

How Children Cope with Trauma & Ongoing Threat - a very useful article describing different coping styles and strategies in children who suffered trauma.

Recommended books

If you buy any of the books through the links below it will result in me receiving a small commission from Amazon. This will help towards funding discounted treatment for people who cannot afford to pay the full fee.