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Northgate Primary School

Northgate Primary School

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Play Therapy

What is Play Therapy?


Play Therapy is a type of therapy where children use play and art materials to express themselves. Sometimes children don’t have the words to describe how they are feeling, or why they are behaving the way they have been.  Using play means that they can explore thoughts and feelings in creative ways, without having to use words to explain. Play Therapy can help children understand what has been going on for them. 


What does a Play Therapist do?


Play Therapists are trained to work with children to help them understand what has been happening for them, how they are feeling, and what that means.  They use a wide range of art and play materials, so that there is no need to talk if children don’t want to, and no need to be asked questions.



Sarah James, Pupil Well-being lead & trainee Play Therapist


My main role in the school is the Pupil Well-being lead.  In this role, I work with children on a 1:1 basis, talking to children about how they are feeling, helping them to understand their emotions, work through any friendship issues, feelings of anxiety and providing support for their general well-being and mental health. 

I am also training to become a Play Therapist for Northgate Primary School.  I am in my second year of a 3-year apprenticeship course and as part of the training, I work 1:1 with children at Northgate, using Play Therapy.  Each session is 40 minutes long and children can choose what to play with, what to do and what to say. At the beginning of the sessions, I will explain that it is important that children stay safe, by not hurting themselves, the therapist or the things around them. 


I am grateful to have the opportunity to work in this way with the children at Northgate.  I believe in the ethos of Northgate and that focusing on children's mental well-being helps them to learn effectively, build and enjoy positive relationships with others, cope with day-to-day challenges, and develop into resilient young people.  

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