Our Work

Our therapists work in a variety of ways, tailored to meet the needs of our clients. These include:

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Art therapy

"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance."

Sometimes it is very difficult to say what we want to, or maybe we just can not think of the right words. This can often be the case if what we need to say feels awkward or embarrassing. Despite this, children and young people can be extremely resourceful in expressing themselves through art, when talking about difficult feelings seems too hard. Occasionally, a piece of creative work may reveal hidden feelings that were hiding under the surface of awareness. Once they can be seen and recognised, work can begin to think about those feelings, what they mean and how they affect us.

The roles of the Art Therapist are multiple. The first is to develop a trusting relationship with the client, so that thoughts and feelings can be explored in a safe place. The second is to find a media where the young person feels able to express themselves and to nurture this expression and encourage creativity. The third is to explore their work and creations and discover their hidden meanings, helping the client to make sense of their thoughts and feelings as they arise.

Art therapists are qualified firstly as artists in their own right and secondly in the theory and practice of counselling skills. Art therapy can be challenging and demands flexibility, sensitivity and a deep understanding of therapeutic practice. Children and young people often respond and engage well with art therapy, particularly if they have struggled with more traditional approaches.

This link will open an explanatory flyer from the British Association of Art Therapists

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Dance Movement Therapy

'Dance Movement Psychotherapy (DMP) recognises body movement as an implicit and expressive instrument of communication and expression. DMP is a relational process in which client/s and therapist engage in an empathic creative process using body movement and dance to assist integration of emotional, cognitive, physical, social and spiritual aspects of self. DMP is practiced as individual and group therapy in settings such as health, education, social services and in private practice. The profession is continually informed by research and by initiatives and projects that open up and extend the field of DMP practice'

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Drama & Movement Therapy

The Sesame Approach to Dramatherapy draws on the healing potential of Drama and Movement, using these to explore issues indirectly and in a non-confrontational way. This creative way of working provides an opportunity to explore deeply buried feelings and emotions which the client may not feel ready or able to express verbally. This can be especially useful when working with clients who have experienced trauma or where difficult experiences have taken place during early infancy, at a pre verbal stage. Working through the mediums of Drama and Movement can also help to provide a firm container for the work and a sense of safety and distance from the self.

Dramatherapy is client led so the therapist works in the moment, adapting the material to meet the changing needs of the client/s. Session content varies depending upon client needs but sessions can include:

• Movement
• Movement with Touch and Sound
• Story Creation and Enactment
• Work with Myth and Fairytale
• Play
• Drama
• Puppetry
• Art Work
• Cloth
• The Natural World
• Talking

Dramatherapy uses a circular session structure. This helps to create a sense of safety and containment. Dramatherapy can be used with groups, in family therapy or in a 1:1 setting. It is appropriate for all age ranges.

The Sesame Approach is informed by Jungian Psychology, Human Development Theory, Laban Movement Analysis and Marian Lindqvist’s Movement with Touch and Sound.

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Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy

Over the past twelve years Dr Dan Hughes has actively worked to develop a model of treatment and parenting for children with problems secondary to abuse, neglect, and multiple placements.

Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy is based on the premise that the development of children and youth is dependent upon and highly influenced by the nature of the parent-child relationship. Such a relationship, especially with regard to the child's attachment security and emotional development, requires ongoing, dyadic (reciprocal) experiences between parent and child.

When a child's early attachment history consists of abuse, neglect, and / or multiple placements, s/he has failed to experience the dyadic interaction that are necessary for normal development and s/he often has a reduced readiness and ability to participate in such experiences. Many children, when placed in a foster or adoptive home that provides appropriate parenting, are able to learn, day by day, how to engage in and benefit from the he dyadic experiences provided by the new parent. Other children, have been much more traumatised and compromised in those aspects of their development that require these dyadic experiences, have much greater difficulty responding to their new parents. For these children, specialised parenting and treatment is often required. (From http://www.danielhughes.org )

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The giant from St Michael's Mount walked through the woods and trampled on the homes of the little forest people. The CLEAR group were assigned the task of building new homes for them using what materials they could find.

This dwelling was constructed by a ten year old boy who himself had been force do move from home to home with his mum to avoid an abusive father.

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EMDR stands for for 'Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing'. It is a specialist form of psychotherapy that can be used to help children and young people, or adults, who have experienced frightening or otherwise traumatic events.

When someone experiences a distressing or violent event, the memory of this is stored in the brain along with any concurrent sensations such as sounds, smell, taste or visual images. Normally these memories are processed and if recalled, become less intense and distressing over time. Occasionally, the memories remain “raw” and when the person is “triggered” by a familiar situation, sound, smell or taste, the unpleasant feelings can return and be overwhelming. The impact is so distressing that the person will often try to avoid anything that could remind them of the original event.

EMDR was developed by Dr Francine Shapiro, an American clinical psychologist, who used alternating left and right eye movements, sounds or taps to stimulate the brain rather like the the same movements that occur during normal REM sleep. This appears to help the brain to process the raw memories, reducing the intensity and distress they cause when recalled.

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Music Therapy

Music therapy is an accessible tool of communication. A safe and trusting relationship is formed within the boundaries of a therapeutic space in which emotions and behaviours can be expressed and managed through music making. No musical skill is required and there is no right or wrong within music therapy. The emphasis lies on the opportunity for free expression. Using an array of instruments, from a piano and guitar to hand held drums and shakers I encourage children to make up music and songs with me, not only do these activities help to express very difficult feelings and memories they also help build up confidence and a positive sense of self.

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Narrative Therapy

Narrative therapy is sometimes known as involving ‘re-authoring’ or ‘re-storying’ conversations. As these descriptions suggest, stories are central to an understanding of narrative ways of working.
The word ‘story’ has different associations and understandings for different people. For narrative therapists, stories consist of:
• events
• linked in sequence
• across time
• according to a plot
As humans, we are interpreting beings. We all have daily experiences of events that we seek to make meaningful. The stories we have about our lives are created through linking certain events together in a particular sequence across a time period, and finding a way of explaining or making sense of them. This meaning forms the plot of the story. We give meanings to our experiences constantly as we live our lives. A narrative is like a thread that weaves the events together, forming a story.
We all have many stories about our lives and relationships, occurring simultaneously. For example, we have stories about ourselves, our abilities, our struggles, our competencies, our actions, our desires, our relationships, our work, our interests, our conquests, our achievements, our failures. The way we have developed these stories is determined by how we have linked certain events together in a sequence and by the meaning we have attributed to them.

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Person Centred Therapy

Person-centred counselling recognises the importance of the client as the locus for change during therapy. The role of the therapist is to be available to the young person as someone who is absolutely trustworthy, able to empathise with the feelings they are experiencing whilst remaining non-judgemental, irrespective of what is shared.

Carl Rogers, considered to be the father of person-centred therapy stated "it is the client who knows what hurts, what directions to go, what problems are crucial, what experiences have been deeply buried."

The therapist will listen carefully to their client, never leading them or offering solutions but gently encouraging them to explore the feelings that they experience when talking about their difficulties. Through a greater understanding of their past and present experiences and how these have impacted on their understanding of themselves, the young person begins to develop the capacity to adjust their behaviours and repair their damaged self-esteem, leading to greater fulfilment and happiness.

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Psychoanalytical Therapy

Therapy provides a troubled child a place safe from physical and psychological harm, where she can let her guard down sufficiently to explore her thoughts, feelings, and life. This type of therapy believes, along with the child-centered approach, that simply coming to know what she truly feels, thinks, and does can help a child to feel and function better, that is, to live in a more authentic way. But looking in the mirror with the lights on is difficult. By proving ourselves safe and trustworthy over time, we steadily convince the child that she has found someone with whom she can pursue and share this self-exploration.

But establishing a safe and accepting atmosphere isn’t enough. The psychoanalytic play therapist strives to “therapeutically hold” the child. Parallel to the way that a mother holds her baby, the therapist holds the patient—not physically, but psychologically. The therapist absorbs the excite- ment and distress that the child’s mind and body cannot bear on its own. Moment by moment the therapist confirms the child’s experience. This witnessing fosters the child’s trust in what she herself feels and perceives, leading to her evolving a more genuine self, a keystone of psychological health. The therapist’s noticing and admiring the child’s steps forward renews enthusiasm and joy for her own growth and the risk-taking it requires.

Most of all, the therapist empathically listens and responds to the child. Being understood deeply, having your perspective heard, is itself one of the most powerfully moving experiences you can have and counters the painful, if common, sense of being unheard and ignored. In addition to being reparative in itself, the therapist’s empathic stance facilitates clinical interventions that acutely meet the patient just where she is emotionally, neither falling flat nor overwhelming her.

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Sand Tray Therapy

Children love to play with sand, it is something that they are used to and offers tactile as well as visual stimulation. Children who have experienced abuse, neglect or violence are often unable to talk about past unpleasant experiences or how they feel when they think about them. The familiarity of sand offers an interface that does not threaten them and exhibits sensory comfort and visual security. Bad things can be buried in the sand or brought to the surface.

Using simple objects in the sand the young person is able to re-create their inner world and play out past events without fear of harm or retaliation. Through independent play they become able to recognise and describe their feelings and develop a better understanding of what has happened to them as part of a journey towards healing.