What is Play and Creative Arts Therapy?

Play and Creative Arts Therapy is a mode of therapy that helps children to explore their feelings, to express themselves and to make sense of their life experiences. 

Play is children's natural medium to learn, communicate and to explore their worlds. Recovery from difficult life experiences can be facilitated by a Play and Creative Arts Therapist allowing a child freedom of expression in a safe and trusting environment.

Conventional talking therapies may be inappropriate for children and young people who struggle to put their feelings into words. Play and Creative Arts Therapy allows children the opportunity to explore and understand these feelings. It can enable them to shift their perspective of difficulty so that they are less likely to internalise blame. The resulting empowerment and increased self-esteem can be the springboard to help the child to cope with difficulties in the real world.

Play and Creative Arts Therapy focuses on the use of the following resources which each allow a different form of expression:

"Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children."
- Walt Disney

  • Art & Crafts – freedom to use creativity
  • Clay – connecting with feelings
  • Masks – internal and external feelings
  • Sandplay – emotional outlet, relationships, turn-taking
  • Puppets – communication and caring for self
  • Dance – enabling freedom of movement
  • Musical Instruments – exploring, turn-taking, improvising
  • Role Play – helps with social relationships
  • Therapeutic Stories – healing

Who can benefit from Play and Creative Arts Therapy?

Play and Creative Arts Therapy is an effective intervention for children with a variety of presenting problems.
Depression - Phobias - Anxiety - Third Culture Kids' Issues
Grief - Illness - Family Change - Behavioural
Difficulties - 
Social Isolation

Is your child not reaching its potential due to:

  • Finding it difficult to concentrate or learn?
  • Has nightmares or disturbed sleep?
  • Being at risk of being or has been excluded from school?
  • Has suffered trauma?
  • Has suffered emotional, physical, or other abuse?
  • Is adopted or fostered?
  • Suffering because of separated/divorced parents?
  • Suffering from anxiety, stress, or phobias?
  • Suffering from a loss or bereavement?
  • Being withdrawn or continually unhappy?
  • Having autistic tendencies?
  • Being ill or disabled?
  • Finding it difficult to make friends?
  • Quarreling frequently with peers or siblings?
  • Bullying others or is bullied themselves?
  • Displaying inappropriate behaviour?
  • Doesn't play?

"One in five children have a psychological problem.
74-83% are helped by Creative Arts Therapy."

What can Play and Creative Arts Therapy do for your child?

  • Develop self-esteem.
  • Encourage greater social awareness.
  • Explore spacial boundaries.
  • Become more responsible for behaviours and develop more successful strategies.
  • Develop new and creative solutions to problems.
  • Develop respect and acceptance of self and others.
  • Learn to experience and express emotion.
  • Cultivate empathy and respect for thoughts and feelings of others.
  • Earn new social skills and relational skills with family.

Play and Creative Arts Therapy can offer children a space in which the feelings these experiences generate can be expressed and contained. It cannot change what has happened but it can promote resilience within each child to enable him or her to discover a more hopeful view of the world.
Play and Creative Arts Therapy is appropriate for children of all ages, but is most often used for children aged between three and ten years. Play and Creative Arts Therapy is for individual children, but can also be for small groups of children.

What happens in Play and Creative Arts Therapy?

At the referral stage, the Play and Creative Arts Therapist will begin by engaging with the parents or others concerned with the welfare of the child and will establish an agreement for the work. Good communication is essential if the intervention is to be supported and meaningful.

Consistency is also important so Play and Creative Arts Therapy sessions usually take place once a week, at the same time, in the therapy room.

Play and Creative Arts Therapy offers a confidential space in which personal issues can be safely explored. Each session follows a similar structure. The Play and Creative Arts Therapist helps the child to make sense of their life experiences and to express difficult feelings through the metaphors of play. Play and Creative Arts Therapy may be a short-term intervention or a process that extends over a longer period, according to each child's needs.



“Through Play and Creative Arts Therapy my 5 year old daughter has gained self-awareness in various areas and is now able to play nicely with her peers and siblings. Dr. Vieira has been a tremendous help and I would like to recommend her services to any family with a child in need of gentle encouragement."
- Parent of Katie, 5, Knightsbridge, London - UK

“My 6 year old son has benefitted tremendously from Dr. Vieira's Play and Creative Arts Therapy services. He's now much more confident in social settings, looks forward to going to school and has made some new friends.”
- Parent of Joshua, 6, Los Angeles, CA - USA

"Our 8 year old son struggled a lot with the changes affected by our divorce. I am grateful that Dr. Vieira was there for him through this period as he's now in a much better place. I can't thank her enough!" 
- Parent of Matthew, 8, Chelsea, London - UK