I am the founder of Olive Branch Therapies. I am a qualified Play Therapist accredited by the British Association of Play Therapists (BAPT) and my practice adheres to the BAPT code of ethics. I have experience working in schools one-to-one with children and in areas including (but not limited to): low self-esteem, anxiety, attachment difficulties, divorce and separation, bereavement and loss, and behavioral concerns. I have also been trained to deliver Child-Parent Relationship Therapy.
Play, according to Garry Landreth (2012), is a child's most natural form of communication, and impacts all of the child's abilities: motor, cognitive, sensory, emotional, and social.
"Play not only reflects a child's development and inner world, but contributes to his or her development as an active, dynamic and open-ended process that continually challenges and facilitates growth, development and individual competence." (Stagnitti & Cooper, 2009, p. 16)
The outdoors offer multi-sensory experiences that help to grow neural pathways in the developing brain and reduce the amount of cortisol - a stress hormone - in the body. This being the case, the outdoors can be an effective space for the Play Therapy process to take place.
"Evidence indicates that experiences in the natural world may reduce the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, serve as a buffer to depression and anxiety, help prevent or reduce obesity and myopia, boost the immune system, and offer many other psychological and physical health benefits. Time spent in nature may also improve social bonding and reduce social violence, stimulate learning and creativity [...] and even help raise standardized test scores." (Louv, 2016, p. xiv)
Chown, A. (2018). A Practical Guide to Play Therapy in the Outdoors. London & New York: Routledge.
Landreth, G. (2012). Play therapy: The art of the relationship (3rd ed.). New York & London: Routledge.
Louv, R. (2016). Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life. London: Atlantic Books.
Robb, M., Mew, V., & Richardson, A. (2015). Learning with Nature: A how-to Guide to Inspiring Children through Outdoor Games and Activities. Cambridge: Green Books.
Stagnitti, K., & Cooper, R. (2009). Preface. In Stagnitti, K., & Cooper, R. (Eds.), Play as therapy. London & Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.