Child and Family therapeutic support services in Newry and the surrounding area has received a boost, with the opening of a new counselling and mental health facility in the City.

The Play Therapies Centre Ltd opened its doors in October 2020 in the town and offers a range of Play Therapy services and family support to clients of all ages, treating a variety of  complex social, emotional and behavioural needs.

Play Therapy Centre Director Sinead Doherty
Play Therapy Centre Director Sinead Doherty

Established in 2011 as Play Therapy Northern Ireland, the aim of the organisation is to support children to heal and grow form any emotional difficulties they may be experiencing.  Play Therapy allows a child to have the freedom to be themselves and express their inner struggles and joys. This can facilitate the resolution of their pain, create hope for the future and unlock the potential for self growth and self healing.  Play Therapy is suitable for children age 3 into adolescence.

With services already established in both Belfast and Derry the new Newry Centre based at Hill Street in the city is a welcome boost.

Reflecting on the mental health aspects of the Coronavirus pandemic, Play Therapy Centre Director Sinead Doherty said "Setting up a new service in the midst of this pandemic was a no brainer for us.  We at The Play Therapies Centre are passionate about supporting children’s emotional wellbeing and that of their families. This pandemic will have the biggest impact upon those who were already the most vulnerable in society. For some children existing inequalities or trauma will be exacerbated, while others may be experiencing mental health challenges, domestic violence or poverty for the first time. We know from existing research that without early intervention, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and trauma  can have a long term impact on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people. 

"As a society we cannot place new requirements and challenges on an already stretched system and expect it to cope with increased demand. We need to think outside the box and understand that creative therapeutic interventions for children and young people are the way to go“

co clinical director is Sile O'Loughlin
Play Therapy Centre co clinical director is Sile O'Loughlin

“Quick fixes or a ‘return to normality’ without suitable and targeted support will fail our children. This is an opportunity to re-imagine how we deliver child mental health services in the Southern Trust, and put children at the heart of our community”.

 The opening of this centre in Newry is timely as it’s coming on the back of the Children’s commissioner Koulla Yiasouma calling out last month for children in rural areas not to be ‘forgotten’, The Play Therapies Centre will be within easy access of more rural communities in the Southern Trust area in order to target children and families who might not otherwise be able to access such support.

To find out more about The Play Therapies Centre Limited and what services they offer, contact them on 028 90 923337, or by email at or find them on WWW.THEPLAYTHERAPIESCENTRE.CO.UK

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