POP Schools!

Schools can be such busy places. So many things going on and so many children with needs. How do you know what the children need and who needs Play Therapy?

At POP we aim to answer those questions with a free 15 minute consultation. Further, clinical assessments (using the Goodman’s Strength and Difficulty Questionnaire) will outline what a child is finding difficulty in and the level of concern using the following areas: emotional, conduct, peer and hyperactivity.  Progress of the children can be tracked using these results and measured at regular intervals.

We would love to design a bespoke package for your school with the support you need. 

A new training course has been created in 2023 for non-therapists in well-being roles to support pupils across the school who are in need of wellbeing support. POP Play Skills Sessions are 15 minute bursts of directive work using the wonderful SandStory® Skills Structure and a focus on grounding. A transformational course for Headteachers, Mental Health Leads, ELSA’s to confidentally upskill professionals with a method of providing wellbeing support. Training can be provided for a pastoral team or a few members of staff at a time. click the link above to find out more.

  • 1:1 Play Therapy
  • 1:4 Group Play Therapy
  • Filial Play Coaching
  • INSET Tailored to your schools needs delivered by an experienced trainer. Examples could be An Introduction to Play Therapy (offered free with schools who sign up for a year), How to spot signs of Mental Health issues, Working therapeutically etc.
  • Well-being Workshops (Using creative arts to engage students, parents, families together or staff. Can be adapted to most group sizes).
  • Lunch Time Creative Arts Club
  • After School -POP Family Club

Rates vary depending on therapist from £60-£65 per Play Therapy session. An all-inclusive fee that includes adminitration and meetings of £75-£81. Group Therapy is an additional charge.

It might be that we can support you to apply for funding to support a pilot project and would be really happy to hear from you to discuss opportunities. Contact POP!

The School Referral and Review Cycle: 

1. Complete Referral forms once you’ve chosen the pupil.

2. Person who knows the child best to complete the SENCO/Teacher SDQ (sometimes LSA’s and Class teachers do these together).

3. Send referral forms and SDQ to Mim and book a meeting with Mim to discuss the referral and set SMART targets. It would be brilliant to do this with the class teacher or person who knows the children well, if possible.

4. *Sensitively, contact the parent and let them know that you are considering Play Therapy support. To help with the process, please could they complete the SDQ questionnaire. Send home a Parent SDQ and Parent Permission form. You may also like to include a Play Therapy leaflet (due to be updated) or a link to the website.

*You might want to do this for speed of referral at the same time as 2 but not all parents respond well to the support offered and there are sometimes factors which make Play Therapy not right for a child or family- see below).

5. Book the parent in for a pre-therapy interview with Mim either in school or online via booking page.  Some schools give the parents the leaflet and ask them to get in contact, but for some parents this can then cause a delay in the process.

6. Start the support at an agreed time. Children’s times to stay consistent and also the location of the therapy to support the effectiveness of the therapy. Consistency for a child who has experienced trauma is really important.

7. After week 8-9 of Play Therapy we meet again to review the children’s progress and complete the follow-up SDQ’s.

8. Mim also meets with the parents for a mid-therapy review with follow-up parent SDQs.

9. Using all the information I will make a recommendation and we can meet again to decide if the sessions need to continue or if the work is ready to come to a close.

10. Points 7-9 repeat until therapy is completed and we start again with another child with point 1.

SDQ= Goodman’s Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire.

This is a standardised psychometric assessment which is used by CAMHS and Mental Health Professionals working with children. It is a really helpful in assessing the children’s mental health and breaks into four areas of difficulties (hyperactivity, emotional, peer and conduct). The higher the score the poorer the child’s mental health. The strength score works the opposite way. What I have found is that SDQs are not great for a withdrawn high anxiety child. They don’t always get much of a score and so SDQs are not exclusively the best way to decide who should get support.

I would highly recommend that you get SDQs completed for any child who you have considered for therapy in the school so that we can monitor their scores and see if they are getting worse, or better over the time period that they are waiting for support.  Something to be aware of if it is summer: I would recommend this is done by their teacher before the summer holidays as obviously rapport and getting to know the children in the autumn term can take time. Also, some children may get worse over the holidays and others better so it is a helpful tracker for you.

General things which can affect whether Play Therapy is the right intervention for a child: 

1. Some family situations can be unstable/vulnerable and it may be better to wait until things are more stable.

2. Play Therapy needs both parents permission although, there are of course exceptions. Could this be a barrier?

3. Social Care status. We are unable to work with adopted children at present.

4. Other interventions already taking place. Pupil’s should only have one therapist for their mental health and a gap between therapists is recimmended of atleast 1 month.

5. Parental commitment and attitudes to therapy. It is important that parents are onboard with the work.

6. The purpose of the referral/targets. Is it the right therapy to acheive the targets hoped for?

7. Sibling already getting support from the same therapist. It is best for siblings to have different therapists if there are any difficulties between siblings.