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Helping Children with Emotional, Literacy, Behaviour and Mental Health Problems

Many children need support in emotional literacy. Others have behaviour or mental health problems at some stage that prevents them from fulfilling their full potential.

Some studies indicate that 20% of children have some form of psychological problem (Venables (1983);Rutter, Cox et al (1975); Jeffers & Fitzgerald (1991); Porteous (1991) etc) and that 70% of these are helped through the use of psychological based therapies such as play and creative arts. In 1999 a British government survey estimated that 10% of children have a mental health problem. PTI’s international experience suggests that most countries that have a developed economy have a similar proportion of children with problems.

It is also essential to realise that mental health, like physical health, is as much about prevention as cure. Conditions (more details HERE) that therapeutic play and play therapy can help – a short check list – ‘Do you know a child who ……. ?’

Parent, carers and others concerned with the welfare of children may contact a PTI Certified Play Therapist for an initial assessment. A measure of the severity of a child’s emotional, behaviour and mental health problems may be obtained by completing a simple questionnaire such as the Goodmans Strengths and Difficulties (SDQ details) questionnaire which has 25 questions. The scoring of the SDQs and completion of the assessment is best carried out by a trained practitioner.

Indications for Referral – This short article is a very useful guide for parents, carers and other lay persons who may be worried about a child’s emotional condition and the desirability of referral for play therapy.

The Play Continuum – shows how different applications of play can deal with a spectrum of children’s emotional, behaviour and mental health problems.