Finding Our Way

We have recently recruited lots of new of counsellors and therapists to join our team – we’re gradually adding their details to our Associate Therapists page!

During this process, we learned some important things about how we see ourselves as an organisation and what we value in other therapists. We had a set of official recruitment criteria, to ensure that we provide a safe and robust service and that we cater to the diverse needs of our clients. We also discovered that the the successful applicants, the therapists who will be part of the Apple Tree Centre, shared some less tangible qualities which we had not known we were looking for, but which are essential to the relationships we want to have with our clients, their families, and the local community.

red apple

Sounds through a wall

Yesterday’s workshop, “Using Puppets in Therapy”, was fully booked. I surrendered my own place, and was here in the capacity of receptionist and administrator.

I came back from the post office to find a hushed silence, the occasional murmur drifting down the stairs. Then a door opened, a flurry of footsteps, and a collective gasp of delight as the puppets were revealed for the first time.


Bearing Witness

We, The Apple Tree Centre, have launched ourselves excitedly into the arena of providing Continuing Professional Development! We have a programme of interesting and creative workshops for practitioners to come and learn and experience and play. My workshop: ‘Introduction to Play Therapy Skills and Principles’ took place in our training room with fifteen professionals a few weeks ago. It was a big step across my comfort boundary and I felt exposed. I had however, chosen this, I was in the lead, I had the clicker for the presentation and I was in control (of the clicker, at least).


The Importance of Cake

I spent much of last Sunday preparing to make gluten-free cakes for our first CPD training event. My kitchen has never been so clean before.

I made a joke to my partner about focusing all my anxiety on this detail, but when he agreed too whole-heartedly, I realised how important this was to me. The cake, and the accompanying cleaning of the kitchen, are more than just an irrelevant detail, a magic spell to make the training a success. They represent important qualities in my work as a therapist, and in the Apple Tree Centre.

small cake

Mapping Therapy

Several of my clients have recently made comments which seem to lead back to the same big questions: What do I know about them, and how do I understand what’s happening in counselling?

As a child, I lived and breathed Arthur Ransome’s “Swallows and Amazons” books. I loved the idea of setting out with a pile of sketched maps, a pencil and a bottle of ink, to explore uncharted waters.


Creating Therapeutic Space

Photograph of a bird on one of the wall stickers at  The Apple Tree Centre

We had a big project on our hands. We needed to transform an adult psychotherapy centre, painted in dark rich, (and at times womb-like) tones into a therapy and wellbeing centre for children and young people. We felt ourselves lighten emotionally as we painstakingly covered the dark walls with pale paint, took down the heavy curtains, let the light in…

Understanding Elephants

The process of play therapy can be very hard to explain in a way which has any meaning for people who haven’t experienced it. Often, though, those people ask great questions which go to the roots of what play therapy is about and how it works. I’d like to use this blog, among other things, to answer some of those questions.

So, today’s question (from a medical student): “Do you ever worry that you don’t know what a child’s play is about?”

Imagine that a child is using their therapy session to make a story about an elephant. Making a story can happen in lots of ways: they might be drawing a picture (and describing it, or not), or moving figures around in the sand tray, or putting on a puppet show, or pretending to be the elephant, or telling me to play the elephant, or just talking: “my friend Elliot, the Elephant, he said…”.