Play Therapy


“Play therapy is the dynamic process between child and Play Therapist in which the child explores at his or her own pace and with his or her own agenda those issues, past and current, conscious and unconscious, that are affecting the child’s life in the present. The child’s inner resources are enabled by the therapeutic alliance to bring about growth and change. Play therapy is child-centred, in which play is the primary medium and speech is the secondary medium.” (British Association of Play Therapists)

Play is a child’s form of communication; the more tools that they have available to them, the richer the vocabulary and the more able they are to explore and express their internal thoughts, challenges and needs.

Play Therapy works with Children and Young People, and can be adapted to working with adults as well. I (Robert Fitzpatrick) specialise in the fields of attachment, trauma and working therapeutically with children diagnosed with learning disabilities having undertaken some considerable work in these areas.

In particular I have worked with teenagers; I have found that Play Therapy is very supportive of children and young people as they do not initially need to verbalise their thoughts and worries to another, but in connecting with creative forms of expression such as art they are able to work through their emotional difficulties in their own way. Talking often comes at a later point within their play therapy when the child/Young Person has gained a deeper insight and awareness of their life challneges and have started to come to terms with this.

In the Therapeutic Play room the child/young person is able to engage within Metaphorical/Symbolic Play. Symbolism is important as it allows children to explore complex emotional difficulties through a parallel story/or object that could be linked in some way, enabling them to explore their thoughts and feelings indirectly, in their own time and at their own speed.

Potential referral concerns may include:

Developmental issues Learning or attention problems (ADHD), Attachment difficulties, Lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities, Inappropriate behavior (for the child’s age), Persistent difficulty in school, From overly outgoing to shy and withdrawn, Being bullied or bullying, Constant anger, Anxiety, Depression, Trouble eating or sleeping, Defiant in the home or school.

Alternative Dimensions work in the Exeter, Mid Devon, and South Devon areas and contact details can be found on the ‘Contacts’ Page.