A child psychotherapist helps children make sense of their individual life experiences, emotions and patterns of relating to people. Child and adolescent psychotherapy involves thinking about communication via words, behaviour and play within the context of developmental processes. Psychotherapy primarily aims to improve relationships and self-image.
Sunfield’s resident child and adolescent psychotherapist, Marina Manassei, has a background in therapeutic work in the NHS, the NSPCC and in education, including the National Autistic Society. She offers individual psychotherapy sessions to students, and also meets with parents, staff and professionals.
All young people respond to music, so it can be a valuable way of motivating and engaging them, particularly if they’ve been isolated by a disorder or challenging behaviour. Because music is processed in diverse areas of the brain, a therapist can use music to encourage the simultaneous connection of physical, cognitive and emotional responses.
At Sunfield, our Nordoff Robbins trained music therapist could, for example, use improvised music to nurture shared communication via interactions between the players. Language can be stimulated but the meaning may also be shared without words. As an emotional expression, music can also release feelings and memories, and provide opportunity to safely process emotional problems with a therapist.
Play Therapy provides a way for children to express and explore their experiences and feelings through a natural, self guided, self healing process. Children communicate their experiences and their feelings through playing. Therefore, it becomes an important vehicle for them to know and accept themselves and others.
The outcomes of play therapy may be general, such as a reduction in anxiety and raised self-esteem, or more specific, such as a particular behavioural change and improved relationships with others.