GET IN TOUCH + 01 296 2115  LOCATION

Child Psychotherapy (Play Therapy)

Child Psychotherapy is a term used to define the use of creative pursuits or activities in a therapeutic process and aim to facilitate well-being, positive mental health, change, interpersonal skills, affect regulation and trauma interventions.  Child therapy is suitable for children between the ages of 4 – 12.

Child psychotherapy differs from adult psychotherapy in that it is not a ‘talking therapy’ per se. A bottom up approach is taken where the child is encouraged to play in the therapy session with whatever medium, toy or object they choose. Creative or expressive therapies can enhance the therapeutic process

“more directly and more immediately than do any of the more traditional verbal therapies” (Zwerling, 1979).

Unlike conventional ‘talk therapy’, which is often unsuitable for very young children or children with learning or speech difficulties, creative therapies promote the child’s self expression through creativity, the use of imagination and kinetic engagement while providing a safe ‘distance’ from the underlying issue itself, allowing the child to communicate inner and outer experiences that words cannot..

Children, attachment and trauma

Child psychotherapy is very well suited to working with children who have experienced attachment disruptions or relational/single blow trauma. Traumatic experiences affect and often impede many areas and functions of the body and brain, for example, the brainstem, which provides for life supporting autonomic functions, including defence mechanisms. These defence mechanisms can reflect early patterns of trauma, giving the therapist clues as to how best attend to the child.

Each individuals capacity for social interaction is shaped by the earliest experiences of synchrony with the primary caregiver, where healthy attachment is formed through physiological and emotional regulation, the harmonic state of homeostasis” (McGrath, p83).

Child psychotherapy does not rely on the client being able to access to the executive functioning cortical area (cognition and rational thinking) of the brain which has only a limited ability to process trauma (van der Kolk, 2015) and is thus suited to even very young children.

If you would like more information please contact John Searson M.I.A.C.P., M.I.A.H.I.P., I.C.P. on
086 8345 876 or email  You can also visit John’s website at