Children Coping with Loss

Counselling through Play Therapy

What is play therapy?

Play therapy is a way of helping children make sense of painful experiences as they explore difficult emotions and learn new coping skills.

Play is a natural, non-verbal form of expression for a child.  Using a range of creative interventions - toys/games, art, storytelling, writing/poetry, sand, puppets etc - play therapists use play to help children express their feelings, thoughts and experiences.

Play therapy enables children to communicate at their own level and at their own pace in a way that is safe and comfortable for them.

Play Therapy at the Aisling Centre

Is available to children who are:-

  • experiencing loss through bereavement, family seperation or long-term illness
  • aged 5+ and currently attending primary school

Priority will be given to

  • children coping with recent loss (ie within the last 3-years)
  • children experiencing the loss of an immediate family member or a significant other
  • older children (ie children in primary 7)

What does the Aisling Centre offer?

At the Aisling Centre we have a qualified, experienced team of therapists.  They are dedicated to supporting you wherever you are on life’s journey.

In a safe and welcoming space your child can communicate freely and in confidence about the things that are troubling them over a period of weekly one hour sessions.

Parents/caregivers are the most important people in the lives of children and we encourage you to play a supportive part in the process.   We will hold regular review meetings with you to ensure the best possible outcomes for your child.

Play therapy is available at the Aisling Centre and from some outreach venues including schools and GP Practices.

Would play therapy help my child?

Feeling broken hearted is as common in infants and children as in adults.

Through play therapy children can:-

  • Receive emotional support
  • Feel listened to and have their loss acknowledged
  • Learn to better understand and express their thoughts, emotions and feelings
  • Begin to make sense of difficult life experiences
  • Develop new coping skills
  • Experience reduction in anxiety and increased self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Implement changes in behaviour
  • Enjoy improved family and social relationships

How do I make an appointment?

Drop in to reception at the Centre, telephone, email or click on this request form link, print it out, complete and send in.  All queries will be answered promptly and you will be invited to fill in a simple counselling request form.

Sometimes your child’s teacher or your GP or other professional may suggest play therapy for your child.  They can make a referral with your permission, on your behalf.

Once we receive your request for play therapy for your child we will write to you.  Appointments are offered as quickly as possible but there may be a waiting list at busy times.

What happens next?

First your child will be given an appointment for an initial interview.  At the initial interview you and your child will meet with the play therapist.  Here you will have an opportunity to discuss your child’s needs and problems and to talk about what it is that has brought you to the Aisling Centre.

We understand that both child and parent/caregiver can find the initial interview daunting and we will endeavour to ensure that it is a positive experience for both of you.  During the interview the therapist will help you decided if play therapy at the Aisling Centre is the best option for your child at this time.  If not, we will work with you to find more appropriate support. If we agree that play therapy is appropriate and may benefit your child, the therapist will arrange a regular appointment time with you.  Play therapy sessions are normally once a week for an agreed number of weeks.

Download     Aisling Centre Referral Form.pdf

Support for parents/caregivers

Parents/caregivers sometimes find that they can benefit from the additional support of the various services provided at the Aisling Centre.  This can be discussed with the play therapist.

Support for schools

It can be difficult for schools to meet the needs of children dealing with the emotional difficulties that some children may experience as a result of loss.  Aisling Centre can help by working onsite to offer care and support through play therapy to children experiencing loss. 


The Aisling Centre adheres to the BACP (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy) ethical framework for good practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

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Counselling through play


Review of Children Coping with Loss-Counselling through Play Therapy. Mary Daly

BACP Registration No - 101666