Play Therapy uses a variety of play and creative arts techniques- the ‘Play Therapy Tool-Kit’ to alleviate chronic, mild and moderate psychological and emotional conditions in children that are causing behavioural problems and/or are preventing children from realising their potential.
The Play Therapist works integratively using a wide range of play and creative arts techniques, mostly responding to the child’s wishes. This distinguishes the Play Therapist from more specialised therapists (Art, Music, Drama etc). The greater depth of skills and experience distinguishes the play therapist from those using therapeutic play skills.
Play therapy may be non-directive, directive (where the therapist leads the way) or a mixture of the two. Play therapy is particularly effective with children who cannot, or do not want to talk about their problems.
Music Therapy is a form of psychotherapy centred around music, or, in a broader way, sound. We use music because music is intrinsically relational and a way of communicating with others; and because engaging in both playing and listening to music is a whole brain activity.
Music is cognitive, social, physical and emotional. It effects our physiology (including heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and both gross and fine motor control), evokes memories and feelings, and it enables us to access and express our unconscious without the need for words. Music is also preverbal and therefore can be powerful in enabling very early experiences to be explored in therapy. These many ways in which we engage with music demonstrate it can be a powerful tool for integrating experience.
In music therapy sessions we use improvisation (spontaneously created music), song writing, and music listening. There is no need for the client to be able to play an instrument as all sounds are communicative and expressive. A broad range of instruments are provided which anyone can sound, which could include tuned and unturned percussion, guitar, keyboard/piano, and music technology. The therapist and client work collaboratively in musical creation, the therapist empathising sensitively and providing musical ‘scaffolding’ for the clients expressive sounds. Music therapists are also trained to talk with clients to explore their feelings and experiences verbally.
Music therapists work in a huge range of ways and with a broad variety of clinical populations, offering individual or group therapy, and tailoring their approach to the specific needs of each client. Music therapists are all registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). As well as at least two years of training at a masters level in music therapy in order to practice, they must have engaged their own process of psychotherapy, and receive ongoing clinical supervision from an accredited practitioner. This is monitored by the HCPC.
Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of communication. It can also be called Art Psychotherapy.
Clients who are referred to an Art Therapist need not have previous experience or skill in art, the art therapist is not primarily concerned with making an aesthetic or diagnostic assessment of the client’s image. The overall aim is to enable a client to effect change and growth on a personal level through the use of art materials in a safe and facilitating environment.
The relationship between the therapist and the client is of central importance, but art therapy differs from other psychological therapies in that it is a three-way process between the client, the therapist and the artwork. Thus it offers the opportunity for expression and communication and can be particularly helpful to people who find it hard to express their thoughts and feelings verbally. This three way communication is the basis for the therapy. The image is able to act as a bridge between the inner and outer world of the client and is able to hold painful material enabling clients to face difficult emotions and move towards insight, awareness, acceptance and integration. Change in the client’s inner state can facilitate change in interaction with the outer world.
Art Therapists are registered with the Health Professions Council (HPC) and the British Association of Art Therapy (BAAT). They have two years of approved training at Masters level and a considerable understanding of art processes underpinned by a sound knowledge of therapeutic practice and have also undergone personal psychotherapy. They can work with both individuals and groups in a variety of residential and community based settings using a variety of modalities and materials according to the needs of the client.