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School Based Services

What Are They?

Lisa works in partnership with schools and local authorities to provide specific services that meet the needs of the individual,

the school and the community.  As a Play Therapist she is able to provide individual and group therapeutic interventions.

The main aims of providing school based play therapy are to:

·       Enable children and young people to have a positive experience of accessing emotional support.
·       Safeguard children and young people from harm and/or abuse.
·       Ensure that where a mental health issue is identified there is a clear pathway for them to access appropriate support. 


Play therapy responds to “Every Child Matters” (2003) offering extra support as well as assessing the principles of the National Curriculum inclusion statement:

·       Setting suitable learning challenges
·       Responding to the pupils diverse learning needs
·       Overcoming potential barriers to learning and assessment for the individuals and groups of pupils; (Dfes Standards 2014)
·       Provides support for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties.
·       Strengthens pupil resilience
·       Through assessment play therapy is able to identify those needing extra support.
·       Promotes positive mental health within the school.
·       Supports the need for early intervention.
·       Lisa can also provide small group sessions for children with a focus on developing cognitive skills and positive social behaviour.


Play Therapy also responds to government guidelines (Mental Health & Behaviour, 2016) for early intervention with evidence to support the use of:

• Well-established nurture groups to address emerging social, emotional     and behavioural difficulties. 

• Play-based approaches to developing more positive child/parent relationships or for enabling a child to express themselves.


This service also demonstrates your commitment to the SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) objectives by addressing social and emotional needs.  Furthermore, members of staff will be equipped with practical skills to help support pupils emotional needs through guidance and environmental advice. 


Referral Requirements

The following are common referral issues but are not exclusive:

·       Anxiety
·       Abuse – emotional, physical or sexual
·       Attachment issues
·       Behavioural Difficulties
·       Bereavement
·       Depression
·       Family illness support
·       Phobias
·       School Issues
·       Separation / Divorce /Post-Separation
·       Sexual identity
·       Suicidal feelings
·       Transitional Problems
·       Trauma (Physical, emotional, sexual, situational)

Assessment Services

Child and Adolescent Assessments are provided with parental or care order consent.  Assessments can be performed in school or the home and the service includes a full report of guidance and recommendations once a full understanding of the child is given.  Developmental, environmental and social issues will all be considered when providing assessment services and subsequent feedback to parents and professionals.

Staying Current

PTUK members work under strict ethical guidelines and are required to attend 30 hours of continuous professional development each year.  Lisa is currently examining the effectiveness of Play Therapy group work to reduce school-based anxiety for her MA in Practice Based Play Therapy.

Measuring Outcomes

Changes in a child’s behaviour are recognised by parents, professionals and the play therapist. To clinically measure the effectiveness of play therapy, Lisa uses the Goodman Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). This has been used in two national surveys of the Mental Health of British Children and is highly regarded as a good all-round psychometric instrument. It takes about 10 minutes and is to be completed by the teacher and parent and when age appropriate by the child. 


 Why is play therapy effective?

There are many models of therapies. Most are used with adults and based on talking. However, many children either cannot or will not talk about their problems. Play therapy uses creative arts media as well as other forms of play which access unconscious as well as conscious processing.

The children choose the medium. The therapist is trained to communicate with the child using the chosen medium. On average only seven per cent of the session time is spent by the child in talking. The proportion rises with age to 14 per cent but still only a small percentage.

By taking pre and post-therapy measures, the changes in the pupils' emotional, behaviour and other mental health issues can be measured. The latest analysis of PTUK's national database of more than 25,000 cases shows that 73 per cent of all children show a positive change after they have received therapy delivered to PTUK's standards; 83 per cent of children with severe issues show a positive change ((


How can Play Therapy benefit my school?

Schools should focus on the support that therapy provides in enabling the potential of each pupil to learn, in the broadest sense. This is also fairly straightforward to measure once the school has agreed its therapy-related objectives, such as improved concentration on work, better listening, communication skills, reduced unauthorised absences and a more positive social connection. 



As a benchmark, PTUK's data shows that an average of 12 sessions is required at an average cost of £40 per session – i.e. £480 per pupil – to achieve the outcomes shown above. However, children at risk and who are not capable of functioning normally will potentially need more sessions than average.


Professional Standards

Fortunately for schools there is now a robust method of quality assurance – only use therapists who are on a register overseen by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).

Unfortunately too many examples keep coming to light of unsafe practice in schools. Too many schools are using organisations whose staff are not on an accredited register.  It is not sufficient just to have a Disclosure and Barring Service check, when working with pupils' minds, they must be adequately trained and clinically supervised.

Lisa is registered with the PSA who reports directly to Parliament and oversees all health and social care professions in the UK. In 2012, it was commissioned to produce a new more effective programme of registering health professions using Right Touch Regulation principles. This programme of Accredited Registers (AR) now includes play therapists, counsellors and child psychotherapists. There are a number of standards that an AR must meet and which are checked each year. They include protection of the public, public confidence, good risk-management, financial viability, ability to manage a register, corporate governance, registrant standards of practice, education/training and an effective complaints procedure.

Lisa is a registered member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy found using the following link: -

For referrals please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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