Having been working with children and adolescents over the last 20 years, I am aware of how important it is for this population to have access to a safe, trusting, creative and confidential place in which to have a voice and to be able to express and work through their fears, worries and hopes and to gain an understanding of their world. When children are worried, anxious or hurt they may communicate this by their behaviour, which is often aggressive, challenging or withdrawn. A cycle of behaviour and punishment develops, affecting emotional development and regulation. Therapy can help to interupt this cycle and develop a better capactiy for self regulation.
I am very sad to learn that primary aged children are being excluded from school. This was not happening 10 years ago. I am also very sad that due to funding cuts, schools in the local area are unable to provide a counselling service within their schools.
I am currently working with schools to link them up with the Child Psychotherapy training institutes and with Hertfordshire University to provide placements for the trainee child therapists and trainee art therapists. This means that a school can have a psychotherapist working in their school 1 or 2 days per week throughout the academic year with little or no cost to the school. The Practice absorbs any administration costs, provides the art and play therapy materials and provides Clinical Supervision. I am working voluntarily on this project, regularly meeting with the parents of the primary aged children.
The Practice has piloted this initiative, CAFSSIS (Child & Family Support Service in Schools) since January 2018, providing a Child & Family Support Service in Schools to Chater Junior School and have just signed a contract to continue until July 2019. In January 2019 we will be working with Parmiters Secondary School, Watford who are providing a placement to a Master Degree Art Therapy Student. This will be a 2 year placement, with the student working 1 or 2 days per week throughout the academic year.
I have been leading The Practice for about 10 years and it is a great feeling to be able to put back into and support the local schools and community.
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