Early experiences of trauma, chronic stress and ongoing adversity in childhood can have a profound impact on neurophysiological development, leading to emotional and somatic dysregulation, difficulties forming a stable sense of identity and difficulties developing and maintaining healthy relationships. Regular individual sessions with a therapist can help create the emotional safety required to explore how past relational experiences impact on your present, as well as explore your hopes and dreams for the future. The therapist-client relationship is a collaborative safe space, aimed at guiding you in telling your story and understanding your needs. It is important that as part of this therapeutic process you feel valued, heard and supported. Our therapists draw on a range of well-established psychological theories, frameworks and techniques.
The goals of Gottman Method Couples Therapy are to disarm conflicting verbal communication; increase intimacy, respect, and affection; remove barriers that create a feeling of stagnancy; and create a heightened sense of empathy and understanding within the context of the relationship. A trained psychologist utilising Gottman techniques can help couples to identify which of these components their relationship already has, and which need strengthening and development.
Theraplay: Parent-Child Attachment Therapy
Theraplay is a dyadic child and family attachment therapy that has been recognized by the Association of Play Therapy as one of seven seminal psychotherapies for children. Developed over 50 years ago, and practiced around the world, Theraplay was developed to support a healthy child-caregiver attachment bond. Strong attachment between the child and the important adults in their life is the basis of lifelong mental health as well as the pillar of resilience in the face of adversity. Modern brain research and the field of neuroscience have shown that attachment is the way in which children come to understand, trust and thrive in their world.
In treatment, the Theraplay Practitioner guides the caregiver and child through playful therapeutic interactions that meet the child’s attachment needs. Some of these include organising the child’s experience, scaffolding developmentally appropriate challenge and providing tender, nurturing moments of comfort. The very act of engaging each other in this way helps the parent co-regulate the child's behaviour and communicates love, joy, and safety to the child. It helps the child to trust, feel secure, cared for, connected and worthy.
Theraplay interactions focus on four essential qualities found in healthy parent-child relationships:
Structure: The adult, the leader in the relationship, creates organization and predictability for the child which communicates safety
Nurture: The adult provides caring that can calm and soothe the child in a manner that makes them feel good physically and emotionally
Engagement: The adult is present in a manner that the child experiences being seen, heard, felt, and accepted
Challenge: The adult supports the child in the acquisition and mastery of new skills, enhancing the child’s sense of competence and confidence
With the support of the Theraplay practitioner, parents interact with their child in a way that establishes felt safety, increases social engagement, expands arousal regulation, and supports the development of positive self-esteem for both the child and the parent.