Newsletter: June 2024


Welcome to our newsletter! We hope as a community we will continue to grow together.

If you have attended any of our courses, introductory or taster sessions your feedback has been gratefully received. As an organsiation we strive to continue to improve our offer to you, please do complete evaluation forms if you are taking part in our courses, your opinions really do matter to us

This months top news

New CPD Courses

Considering our Clients Through Creative Expression of Art and Masks
Web Therapy, supporting familes in crisis.

Coming soon…….

Importance of Messy Play and Playfulness
Dramatic Play

Once upon a Trilogy

We have listened to the feedback. There have been a number of requests to put this training online. As a result we can announce that the following dates have been changed.

Once upon a metaphor will be an online course on the 20th July from 9.00 – 4.30. Cost £88.
Once upon an anti-hero will be an online course on the 5th October 9.00 – 4.30. Cost £88
Once upon an Archetype will be an online course on the 11th January 9.00 – 4.30. Cost £88

Each day is a standalone day. You don’t need to do them all or in any order. They will be continually rolled out through the months.

Coming soon...


Topic: When is a Play Therapist not a Play Therapist
Facilitated by Alun John and Eileen Braham
When 14/06/2024. Time 11.00-12.00pm (UK)
Online: Free


AutPlay® Therapy Training

Delivered by Robert Grant, creator of AutPlay® Therapy for Neurodivergent Children and Young People.
When: 13/07/2024 – 14/07/2024
Time: 9.30-4.30am.
Venue: Box End Park, Box End, Bedford, MK43 8RQ.
For more information visit the website
Delegates attending in person are invited to enjoy a free Sound Bath, after training on 13/07/2024

Once Upon a Trilogy

Once Upon a Metaphor

When: 20/07/24
Time: 9.00 – 4.30
Venue: Online
Cost: £88

Once Upon an Anti-Hero

When: 05/10/24
Time: 9.00 – 4.30
Venue: Online
Cost: £88

Once Upon an Archetype

When: 11/01/24
Time: 9.00 – 4.30
Venue: Online
Cost: £88

One Small Step Forward into Your World of Private Practice.

Facilitated by Jill Cooper
When: 29/06/2024
Time: 9.00-4.00am.
Online: £70.00
CPD Points: 6

Web Therapy: Supporting Families in Crisis

Facilitated by Alun John
When: 07/09/2024 – 08/09/2024
Time: 9.00-4.00pm
Online: £140.00. Early Bird discount applies if booked by 30/06/2024, £125.00
CPD Points: 12

Exploring the Therapeutic Benefits of Clay to Develop Resilience

Facilitated by Eileen Braham
When: 21/09/2024
Time: 9.00-4.00am.
Venue: Eastry Village Hall, High Street Eastry, Kent, CT13 0HE
CPD Points: 6
Early bird rate applies, see website for further details

Considering our Clients Through Creative Expression of Art and Masks

Facilitated by Eileen Braham
When: 18/01/2025
Time: 9.00-4.00am.
Venue: Eastry Village Hall, High Street Eastry, Kent, CT13 0HE
CPD Points: 6
Early bird rate applies, see website for further details

What has been achieved in recent months


This well attended coffee and chat meeting opened up discussions during mental health week focusing on Neurodiversity. It was good to hold such rich discussions about how we are, and can be neuro affirming within our work with clients.
We were delighted to receive such positive feedback,

“I wanted to say thank you for a fantastic hour this morning! It was a great session. I really enjoyed it. The relaxed but safe atmosphere was much appreciated and I took away loads from it”

“I found the subject discussion very informative”.

Something to ponder on...


What is it like to be excluded?
What are the feelings we have when we are rebuffed by others, told we are not needed, left in the cold.
What is it like to be excluded from your school? From your family? From a foster placement that can no longer support you, from an adopted family that promised they would be your “forever family”?
As a therapist looking in on these situations I can recognise that children and young people get excluded from school for justifiable reasons, that foster placements are often not prepared or equipped to deal with the relentless behaviours and lack of support, that adoption is a lot tougher than any adopter can ever anticipate. Very often we are empathetic towards the teachers, parents, foster carers and adopters because they do have a very tough job.
But at the heart of the chaos and destructive behaviour is a child. I have heard some of these challenging children and young people described as Evil, Monstrous, Unbelievable, Hopeless, They are a pain!
Rarely are they described as scared, terrified, sad, lost, damaged or hurt.
The American researcher, Kip Williams, was in a park when a Frisbee rolled next to him. He picked it up and threw it back to the two men who were playing. Without any prompting one of them threw it back to him and he was included suddenly in their game. They played for about two minutes when just as suddenly and without any communication they stopped throwing the Frisbee to him and walked away whilst continuing their game. He was left feeling let down, angry and above all hurt. He started to wonder why he had such big feelings around a game that involved people he had never met or spoken to. Why had he become so invested in the game? He wouldn’t normally choose Frisbee as a game to play. He decided to research it.
He created a computer game that replicated Frisbee that he called Cyber Ball and got volunteers to play it whilst being wired up to an MRI scanner to read brain activity. In the game the participants didn’t know that they were going to be slowly excluded from the game until they were just observers and not participants. They didn’t know any of the other players because there were no other players; it was just a computer programme.
The results showed that when they were excluded from the game, the parts of the brain that were activated were in the pain sensory regions and that what they were feeling as a result of being ostracised was actual pain. It is in our language isn’t it. “You really hurt me”. “You broke my heart”. “It was like a kick in the gut”. Even when the test subjects were told beforehand that it was a computer simulation they still reported feelings of anger and rejection.
When we are excluded we feel pain. It actually hurts. I have experienced this and I’m sure that many of you have experienced the hurt of being isolated and or ostracised.
The brain is an evolved organ. It has learned to prompt us in so many ways that are mostly to do with survival. Being left out hurts. Being given the message that you are no longer needed or worth having around is scary. For tens of thousands of years being excluded from our people or our tribe would almost certainly mean that we would die. Scary stuff! But our brains remember and still react to this most cruel of human behaviours.
Some children and young people are labelled evil, monstrous, unbelievable, hopeless, lost cause, they end up in our care systems, our PRU’s, our special units and nurture groups and eventually in our prisons. They are constantly being given the message that they don’t belong. They don’t belong in their homes, our mainstream schools, foster placements and even adoptive placements. Carers come with good intentions and then go. Social workers come and go. Teachers would rather they were out of the class than in. Permanence is not a familiar thing. To all intent and purpose, they are ostracised. Set apart as not fitting in.
But at their heart they are scared, frightened children who are experiencing real pain. Not just metaphoric but actual, brain induced sensory pain.
These are the ones who can end up in our therapy rooms. They are the children and young people who have developed defence mechanisms that says “I don’t care”. Strategies for survival that include aggressive, destructive behaviours as they put two fingers up at the world and say “I’m HURTING”.
What can we possibly give these children? How can we stop the pain of rejection?
At the risk of simplifying this I recommend the following familiar advice.

1.Develop a warm friendly relationship with the child –in which a good report is established as soon as possible.
2.Accepts the child as he/she is.
3.Establish a feeling of permissiveness in the relationship so the child feels free to express his or her feelings completely
4.Be alert to recognise the feeling the child is expressing and reflects those feelings back to him/her in such a manner the child gains insight into his/her behaviour
5.Maintains a deep respect for the child’s ability to solve his/her problems and gives the child the opportunity to do so. The responsibility to make choices and to institute change is the child’s.
6.Does not attempt to direct the child’s actions or conversations in any manner. The child leads the way the therapist follows.
7.Does not attempt to hurry the therapy along. It is a gradual process and must be recognised as such by the therapist.
8.Establishes those limitations necessary to anchor the therapy to the world or reality and to make the child aware of his/her responsibility in the relationship.

Axline’s principle number two is so important. Accepts the child as he/she is. The word acceptance is so important. When we accept someone we are no longer alienating them. We are no longer excluding them. We are no longer ostracising them.
How often have these children met anyone who fully accepted them? Who fully respected them? Who gives them time? Who is warm and friendly? Who gives them freedom of choice? Who keeps them safe and boundaried.
Rogers talks about “unconditional positive regard”
For these children and young people to be accepted and know that whatever they present will be accepted or at least dealt with in a way that fully accepts them, if not the behaviour, means that we can stop the hurt. It means that they can start to process the things that they need to and can begin to work towards their own self-healing.
To gain the trust of these bruised and hurt children and young people takes time and consistency which is the currency that we deal in

These children are not a pain. They are in pain.

These children are not a pain. They are in pain.


Our friends Clare Beckell and Ceri Seel from Mind and Heartful offer polyvagal informed services. For information contact [email protected]

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Newsletter: July 2024

We are sending a big hearted thank you to you for supporting us in the way you have! Reading our newsletters or emails, joining our training, Elevenses and taster sessions sending us emails or telling friends and colleagues about us! We are so very grateful. …
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