2021/04/01 Thinking Creatively – The Power of Play Therapy
Counselling Care: Skye and Lochalsh (CCSL) are delighted to have received a grant from Calmac to purchase “play therapy boxes” for primary schools across Skye. There is no doubt that the pandemic has had a significant impact on the mental health and well-being of local children and young people. The pressures of lockdown, home schooling and not being able to see or meet up with family and friends, have left many local children feeling anxious, stressed and unable to cope with the daily challenges they face. Throughout this very difficult time CCSL has always been there, providing a much-needed professional local counselling service to all of the children and young people who needed our help.
Covid restrictions have meant some big changes in the ways in which the counsellors in our Children and Young Peoples service needed to work, however. As a result, we have had to move a lot of our counselling sessions on-line, using video links to connect with our young clients. Much of the counselling support which we provide to primary school children involves “play therapy” in which drawing, making things from play dough and playing with dolls and other objects forms an important part of a counselling session. Before the pandemic, our counsellors took a box of these items along with them, when visiting schools. The move to on-line counselling meant that this was no longer possible, so we had to think creatively about how we could still provide play-based therapy in these very different circumstances. The solution, we thought, would be to provide each school with an easily sanitized “therapy play box” for young clients to use during video-based counselling sessions. To avoid any chance of covid contamination, it was clear that the items in the play boxes could also only ever be used by one child, meaning that these would also need to be regularly replaced.
As a small local charity with limited financial resources, the cost of providing the play boxes and replacement items to all of the local primary schools, clearly presented us with a financial challenge. We were therefore very happy, to learn our grant application to Calmac to purchase these had been successful. As a result, primary school children across the area will now still be able to continue to receive counselling sessions based on play therapy, the type of therapy that is the most appropriate to their age group.
Even when face to face counselling sessions in school can resume, which we hope will be in the near future, the play boxes will still provide a very important counselling resource, so thanks again Calmac for helping us to continue to help local children. As a result, primary school children across the area will continue to receive the type of professional counselling support they most need to improve their mental health and well-being and to enable them to cope better with the many challenges that the post-lockdown era is also likely to present.