As part of our Enhancement Week Portobello Institute were delighted to welcome Play Therapist Dearbhail from Midlands Play Therapy into the college to speak with our Montessori and Early Years students.  Dearbhail has been working with children and families since 1996 as a Social Worker and Play Therapist and is very passionate about the use of play in a therapy setting.  The use of Play Therapy and Therapeutic Play Skills has increased in popularity over the years.  From simple every day scenarios such as a child not integrating with their peers in the school yard through to larger significant life changing scenarios such as bullying, bereavement or divorce which could all play a part in social regression for an individual, Therapeutic Play can aide in addressing and managing these issues in babies, young children and adolescents.  Using a number of play based interventions to address the needs of children experiencing such scenarios can create a safe environment for them to deal with simple or larger problematic issues.

Dearbhail started off the workshop with an introduction to the principles and practice of child-centred play therapy.  As a group Dearbhai and the students discussed the many benefits of play and the theoretical framework which underpins child-centred play therapy.    To really understand the process a demonstration using toys and materials was given.  Role play further cemented the use of materials in play therapy and how various situation with children may be resolved.  The students got a great insight into how children use these toys and materials to explore, express and recover from difficult feelings and experiences.  Once the students had a good understanding of the principles of Play Therapy Dearbhail shared a number of case studies she had worked on that benefited from the use of Play Therapy