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Therapy with Children

Updated: Sep 10, 2023


What does therapy for children provided by a Mental Health Social Worker at Mindful Life Wellness Clinic look like?

Whilst I work with many adults, the vast majority of my referrals are children aged 4-17yrs. I am the number 1 referral option for many GPs in Doreen and Mernda. I am also the longest practicing Private Mental Health Clinician in the Doreen community, having started my Private Counselling Practice back in April 2011.

My clinic is well set up to work with kids. It has been purpose designed and built for kids therapy and groups. I have extensive experience working with children in a (mental health) therapeutic context; *Over 12yrs in Private Practice *2yrs in Clinical Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) *2yrs in Child Protection *3yrs parenting support work experience via Parentline *And my very first human services role 28yrs ago was Residential Youth Work. *And as a teen I worked in an Early Childhood.

I have been providing therapy to children and adolescence for over a decade in my Private Practice. My work with children involves individual therapy and a range of group programs. Parent work-without the child present is also often a very important part of therapy with children as well. My approach with referred kids is very gentle and holistic. First and foremost, therapy is about engagement, connection and building trust. As a Social Worker and Therapist, I am all about connection and attachment.

Individual therapy with children can take all sorts of shapes and forms. Talking, play, books, art, craft, writing, videos, construction, worksheets, relaxation strategies, Psychoeducation and where appropriate movement and sensory activities. Parental involvement in sessions with the child is usually essential, particularly in the beginning. Over my 12yrs in Private Practice I have worked one on one and in a group context with 100s of children in the Doreen and surrounds community. The vast majority of children present with Anxiety, mood issues, sleep disturbances or behavioural issues. Some children also present with risky behaviours-including suicidal or deliberate self harm behaviours or substance misuse. And in the last 5yrs I have also begun to see NDIS clients. 1:1 sessions with this client group are predominantly skills based. With the aim to build capacity and interpersonal skills, with the overall goal being to assist these clients to develop a range of skills to improve daily function and overall well-being. These sessions encompass Psycho-social support along with skills building. Skill building is focused on; communication, social skills, self regulation skills, confidence and independence.

In May 2022, 12 month old Therapy Dog Tilly also joined the team. Together Tilly and I provide Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) to adults and kids. Tilly is particularly helpful in my work with kids. Tilly’s presence in sessions may help children feel relaxed, safe and loved, helping them feel comfortable to open up and engage. Tilly’s role in working with kids both in groups and individually may include providing calm, comfort and affection. Assisting children with Anxiety and in particular Separation Anxiety. Teaching kids to play respectfully with others or how to work through problems when frustrated. Therapy Dog Tilly can also assist kids to self-regulate and find a comfortable place in their own bodies.

I also run a range of groups for kids. My therapeutic groupwork program-Kids Mindfulness was founded in mid 2018. Since it’s creation I have put over 170 children through at least one term of Kids Mindfulness. This program is a CBT/Mindfulness Program. Referred children have a range of pathologies including ADHD, ASD, Anxiety, Sleep Disorders, PTSD, Depression, Trauma and a range of behavioural issues. Some participants have no pathology. This program has had incredible success in helping children learn to self regulate, self soothe and self manage stress, emotions, behaviour and regulate sleep. I have also recently added a number of other group programs and workshops for girls- including CALM Girls Program-Anxiety specifc support. And the SHINE and ROAR Workshops-positive psychology, resilience building. I also hope in the near future to create and begin to deliver a Teen CBT/Mindfulness Program.

In February 2023, I will be completing Theraplay Training to further build on my skills and knowledge in working with children with a particular focus on play in a therapeutic context. Stay tuned for info on specific Theraplay sessions in 2023.

All services with children attract a Medicare rebate with a GP Mental Health Care Plan. This significantly reduces session fees (by around 50-55%) I am also able to provide services to children with NDIS funding (Plan and Self Managed)

Demand for mental health support services for children currently is unprecedented. As a result I have no evening counselling availability for the remainder of 2022. However, I am able to offer day time counselling appointments-wait times vary from 2-4wks. Kids Mindfulness runs to school term and has limited vacancies.

Please get in touch to find out more More info also via the website

And of course check out the socials under the handle Mindful Life Wellness

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