Why is my child being referred to Treetops Therapy?

When children are referred to art therapy, parents and carers often have queries or concerns. They may not understand why their child has been referred or feel concerned that a referral means that something may be 'wrong' with their child. In addition, many parents are not familiar with the therapy process or have questions about how using art in this way can be helpful for their child. 


Children sometimes need additional support

At some point during their time at primary school, most children will experience some difficulty, or face a challenge which they will need to work through in order to be able to concentrate on their work, enjoy school life and reach their academic potential. 

A child may be able to tell their parent if there is something that they find difficult, like making friends or managing their school work. Or their parent may notice that their child seems a bit different at home and ask them what is bothering them. By taking time to talk about the issue or problem together, they will often be able to make sense of what has happened or find a solution that helps the child.

Sometimes the child does not act at all differently at home, but changes or difficulties may be noticed at school. Staff will then usually call a parent in and they will sit down, with the child, to talk about the issue or ask them what is bothering them. 

Talking about feelings or problems can be difficult

When adults are concerned and ask a child what is wrong, they may not always be able to answer. A child may not understand what is upsetting them, they may not recognise the difficulties they have, or they may not be able to find the words to talk about how they feel. At times like these, a referral to Treetops Therapy may be useful

 Some of the things that happen to children can be very upsetting. They may need more time and support in order to be able to reflect on, understand and talk about what has happened, than the teacher is able to offer in the classroom. At times like these, a referral to Treetops Therapy may be useful.

The child may also need the specialist support that a therapist is able to offer, in helping a child to develop good, resilient relationships, or work through traumatic experiences that preoccupy them. At times like these, a referral to Treetops Therapy may be useful.

A referral to Treetops Therapy can be useful, if a child:

  • has been through something difficult (like a bereavement, or a change in their home life), which they have found very upsetting


  • reacts differently, or gets upset about things that didn't used to bother them before


  • often becomes tearful or throws tantrums for no apparent reason


  • has psychosomatic illnesses


  • has difficulty staying on task or taking part in group activities and discussion


  • finds it difficult to conform to classroom rules and routines

  • is finding it difficult to form friendships


  • has low self-esteem and has been a victim of bullies, or becomes a bully themselves


  • is unusually quiet or withdrawn


  • is aggressive and disruptive


  • is excessively attention-seeking, through either negative behaviour or clinginess. 

Why do we use art and play in session?

We use art in all of our Treetops sessions and groups, because we know that working with the art, being creative and using play can help children who are struggling to talk about their feelings or experiences, to be able to express themselves in their own time and in their own way. 

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What to expect:

Once a child is referred to the service, Treetops therapists will liaise with staff and meet parents. Once we have consent from you to work with your child, your child will start therapy, attending a session each week, at the same time and with the same therapist. 

After a few weeks, the consistent space and predictable boundaries will help your child to manage their feelings a bit more, as they begin to trust that they will have this time each week to express themself in their own way. 

The Treetops therapist will invite you to a meeting - at the start of therapy, when reviewing the work each term and at the end of therapy. This is because we have found that ongoing liaison with important people in a child's life, can help us to ensure that our work is appropriate and helpful for the child.

In their sessions, your child will be able to use a range of art materials and play equipment to explore and express any thoughts and feelings that may be troubling them. The therapist will help your child to reflect more fully upon their artwork and to understand and talk about the issues that are expressed through this process. 

Any artwork that a child makes in therapy will be stored safely in the room, until the end of therapy. After therapy ends, your child can choose if they wish to take the artwork home.