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…”.