Having had my own lived experience of childhood stress and trauma, I know so well the ongoing impact it has one one’s sense of self and identity and their world. Whilst it is only through adversity that we discover our strengths and capabilities, there are times in our childhood where it can feel too much to overcome the challenges we inevitably face and in response to that, we create beliefs about ourselves and the world based on our perception of our experiences, our patterns and coping mechanisms that serve a clever purpose in keeping us alive, safe and connected but unfortunately no longer serve us in adulthood. It wasn’t until I became a mother at 34 when my deep inner personal work began, that took me on a very windy, bumpy but freeing journey of working through some of my difficult sensory and emotional experiences in my childhood that were still hijacking my nervous system whenever I felt overwhelmed or stressed. By bringing in the necessary integration and healing of my unprocessed emotions and feelings that were associated from past experiences, I began moving through the world with greater ease, freedom and empowerment. This was also at the same time I discovered this powerful therapeutic approach called Child Centered Play Therapy, that honoured a child’s own inherent wisdom and capacity to grow and heal from the impact of their challenges by having the right balance of conditions in the therapeutic environment. I soon realised that Play Therapy was an emotional life line for children. An approach I wish I had available to me as a child and for my struggling and overwhelmed parents.
Whether it’s in trauma recovery, building emotional resilience, dealing with attachment disruption, or with milder anxiety or social difficulties, Play Therapy is a special way of engaging and empowering children to learn, grow and heal.
I’m thrilled to have founded Play Therapy Hub, a collective of independent private practice businesses that work to support Play Therapy Hub’s mission of Helping Children Flourish and Strengthen Families. We are not just about changing behaviours in children. We are about honouring children for who they are as they are, whilst at the same time, raising their self awareness and understanding of themselves and growing their internal capacities to feel good about themselves, to enjoy their childhood as much as possible and fulfil their greatest potential. We are also doing our bit to create a new generation where there is greater love, peace and kindness through conscious and connected parenting.
We love what we do for a living and our range of evidence and play-based therapies and support include individual therapy, family therapy, parent education and coaching, facilitated group programs and professional training for early years educators and teachers.
Founder and Director of Play Therapy Hub – Helen Barrett
My experience in psychological and therapeutic services for children, adults and families spans nearly two decades. Beginning my career as a social worker and counsellor, I then trained in child-centered play therapy. It quickly became my primary way of working effectively with children who were struggling emotionally and socially within themselves and in their attachment relationships. It literally transformed the way I parented and worked as a Child and Family Therapist.
What I love about child-centered play therapy is that it’s a therapeutic modality which provides a safe space for the child to explore and feel all of their emotions. We then help them put words to their experiences and become the child’s external regulator, helping the child to feel safe and enter a more regulated state, while supporting the developing brain to build the necessary emotional intelligence skills to cope with future problems and manage their world.
Whether it’s in trauma recovery, building emotional resilience, dealing with attachment issues, or with milder anxiety or social difficulties, I’ve yet to see a counselling approach more responsive, respectful and transformational in building foundational skills in emotional and social intelligence than play therapy for children.
I’m thrilled to have founded Play Therapy Hub, a community of private practices who honour and promote the therapeutic powers of play therapy. Our goal is to help our little people flourish and strengthen families by growing their capacity to be more mindful or conscious in their parenting.
We are excited to offer a range of evidenced and play-based therapies to children and families that also include parent education, parent coaching and support, facilitated groups, workshops and training for early years educators and teachers.
Here’s what our clients had to say about their kids and our play therapy for children services:
I heard about The Play Therapy Hub when looking for a Child Psychologist for my son, who experienced anxiety. I was unsure what to expect from Play Therapy, as I didn’t know much about it. My son attended regularly and always enjoyed the experience and looked forward to going. After several sessions, Tulin was able to share with us some invaluable feedback and strategies. My husband and I feel that Tulin really got to know our son, and we are really grateful for the strategies and insights she has shared, to not only help our son, but all of us as a family. Thank-you Tulin!
Play Therapy Hub kindly ran a parent webinar for our families at Ashley Park Primary School where they presented on how a child’s brain develops, what is anxiety and how do we manage it? What is resilience and how do we work towards it? They were extremely knowledgeable in their presentation and made the information understandable for all who attended. They provided some clear strategies that our families can start to implement in their own homes to build independence in children.
Our son has been going to Play Therapy since late 2019. He loves to play and gets so much positive affirmation during the sessions. His self-confidence has improved significantly over this time and he has also progressed in his ability to self-regulate. He has developed a lovely relationship with Natalie and loves going. He is always quick to get dressed and going on his play therapy day. During the lockdown, his behaviour deteriorated significantly. A testament to the great relationship with Natalie is that despite having difficulty with online communications in most other settings, he loved the online sessions with Natalie and was very excited to be able to show her all his toys at home.
Emma & Grant (Parents)
My child has a trauma background. He’s getting the Play therapy for about 9 months now. I can’t not thank Helen enough for her help and support . It’s been a very hard journey but the result is amazing. He has got great control on his emotions. He is a happy boy now 🙂
Mark & Linda (Parents)
The play therapy and filial therapy Helen Barrett provided our family has been life changing. I couldn’t recommend more highly
We have had a very positive and wonderful experience with Play Hub in this very unusual year! We have felt very supported throughout lockdown as a family during our weekly check in via Zoom. My daughter feels very safe and looks forward to playing with Felicity every week, she comes home and continues her play from the sessions. We highly recommend Felicity for play therapy.
We were desperate to find something to help our 4-year-old with her daily meltdowns when we stumbled across Play based therapy at Play Hub. We made an appointment with Natalie who straight away was reassuring, supportive and understanding of our family’s needs. To say that Natalie has transformed our daughter is an understatement. She has developed our daughter’s confidence, language, and ability to express her emotions and self-regulate. Natalie has equipped us with practical play-based strategies, and we feel more confident to attend to our daughter’s emotional development and help her to self-regulate. She has helped to restore calmness to our home and strengthened our relationship and communication with our children. We are so grateful for Natalie and recommend her to all our friends and family.
Helen taught me how to be empathetic towards my children before we educate them. It’s the empathy that is most vital and it’s not always about fixing the problem. It’s great having someone to talk too about issues your having at home with your Children. The play aspect at home which is 30 mins a week is a great way to connect with your child and have that quality time with them. Thankyou Helen for changing the way I connect with my children.
My daughter had a lot of trauma at the hospital and was hospitalised every month for first year of life and still quite frequently so has developed a phobia of doctors and even a simple scan request, requires sedation. Play therapy has definitely helped her work on that and she loves it that it is just for her and the therapist. My play therapist, Jean, is really great.
We began play therapy hoping that it would be an effective way of breaking the difficult cycle that I was in with my son. Our play therapist, Laura, has a beautiful manner with our son and we have valued her insightful observations about what may be underlying his behaviours.
I want to really thank you Phoebe for all your input and kindness towards us all as a family to support our son in his development. It was the first time he was able to connect with a health professional and accept input. We noticed substantial changes in him and we still have a long journey ahead. You are a wonderful professional and I am sure you will have a brilliant future ahead of you making other families thrive despite all the difficulties.
Elaine and Anthony (Parents)
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