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Welcome to Victoria's blog - Here I'll post articles and thoughts you may find useful.

By Victoria, Feb 14 2021 08:26PM

I recently attended a fantastic conference through Pesi UK based on the need for creativity and imagination, especially in relation to healing trauma and providing wellness to us all, regardless of our backgrounds.


Presenters of the conference included Lemn Sissay and Bessel van der Kolk. Lemn discussed how creativity had literally ’saved my life’ and talked about how we can build children’s sense of self worth through the very act of creating. Art enables children to feel seen and be witnessed.


This is not about the end result and critiquing what has been made.


Instead, the healing and self-worth comes from engaging in the process, the ‘doing’ the art, the experimentation and the use of the imagination. Despite what may come at the end.


I am thinking about how crucial creativity and imagination is for children, particularly at this time. Helping children to access their creative spirit and artful connections is key to the therapy that I offer, however, this can take place in any setting - such as making use of what is available at home or looking to nature to encourage the imagination.


For more ideas feel free to get in touch.


I am a child psychotherapist (UKCP Registered); a counsellor; arts and play therapist, covering Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire. You can contact me here.




By Victoria, Jan 15 2021 01:00AM

At this time I am offering consultation and therapy sessions online, such as through Zoom and over the telephone.


Please get in touch to organise distanced therapy or for a conversation regarding your concerns for your child.


Wishing you a peaceful and healthy 2021.


I am a child psychotherapist (UKCP Registered); a counsellor; arts and play therapist, covering Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire. You can contact me here.



By Victoria, Jan 4 2021 12:00PM

In this day and age it can be more difficult for children to value and accept themselves. Social media is making it harder for young people to fully embrace who they are, it is highlighting a blemish-free, filtered, edited ‘ideal’. Therefore, more than ever it is important that we empower young people with the knowledge that we are all different and the things that make us unique ought to be embraced and cherished.


If this is a particular issue for your child, Childline have a very useful video ‘Nobody is Normal’ on their website regarding how we are all different, this may be helpful for children and young people who are struggling with their self esteem and identity



I am a child psychotherapist (UKCP Registered); a counsellor; arts and play therapist, covering Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire. You can contact me here.



By Victoria, Dec 18 2020 08:49AM

If you are reading this over the Christmas period it’s probable that you are experiencing difficult feelings either for yourself and/or about someone else.


It must feel really difficult. You are not alone. Generally speaking we are not very good at sharing the hard parts of our lives, so if it seems better for everyone else, chances are they too have problems. Social media presents us all with an ideal, but it has been an especially tricky year and it’s okay to feel all the negative feelings that you may have. You won’t always feel this way, try to hold on to that.


It might help to share how you are feeling with someone. Can you think of someone now you can go and talk to? Sometimes writing a text or letter might be easier to start a conversation…


However, if you are here, reading this, the chances are you might not feel you can turn to someone you know. Sometimes we need someone not involved to give us a hand. There are services still open over Christmas.


Firstly, if you are in immediate danger to yourself please do call the Police 999 or Samaritans 116 123. You can also email the Samaritans [email protected], there is also a self-help app on the website that might be useful. You do not have to be in a crisis or suicidal to access the Samaritans, this is explained on the website - please see here.


Perhaps you are feeling overwhelmed and it would help to share this, or you might be a parent experiencing difficult behaviours from your child, so time to talk confidentially to someone over the phone may help at this time.


If you are a child, you can call childline for free, the number is 0800 1111, there is a really helpful website too. If you are scared or in danger call the Police - 999. You will not get into trouble from the Police for doing this.


If you are in an abusive situation and need to alert the Police, you can do so discreetly by following the steps outlined here involving ’55: Silent Solution’.


If it’s all feeling too much and you just need a breather, see if you can do some mindfulness or breathing exercises, or go for a walk if possible. You might want to listen to some calming music, YouTube has a lot of videos with beautiful scenery alongside restful music, such as Maravillosa. The world is a beautiful place, don’t forget to dream big, where do you want to go when the pandemic subsides? What would you love to see in nature? What places would be calming or inspiring to visit?



I am a child psychotherapist (UKCP Registered); a counsellor; arts and play therapist, covering Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire. You can contact me here.




By Victoria, Nov 30 2020 08:28AM

I hope you are keeping well at this time. This week the government released their policy paper on staying mentally well this winter. This addressed plans to increase NHS funding next year as part of an aim to shorten the waiting times for mental health services, whilst providing increased support so that more people can be seen through the NHS.


Whilst this sounds promising, clearly the health priority currently remains focused on Covid-19 with treatments towards fighting the pandemic.


Rishi Sunak has also pledged to increase the budget within schools next year, with a focus on disadvantaged young people.


I am a child psychotherapist (UKCP Registered); a counsellor; arts and play therapist, covering Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire. You can contact me here.




By Victoria, Sep 2 2020 08:08PM

Today with the return to schools, the BBC published an article regarding the anxieties of children returning to school - please read this article here


Unlike the usual September worries of a new school uniform, new classes, move to a different school, etc, this year it is also the parents who are particularly anxious. It has been a long and strange year, where the levels of anxiety throughout the world have dramatically increased.


If you are feeling particularly worried, try to remember that we have a great education system and the teachers are as prepared as possible for the term. If not already, talk through your concerns with your child’s teacher (you may find the class teacher is too busy on drop-off as they have so much to do, therefore it may be worth booking in a time or seeing a senior member of staff).


It’s important that we talk about what is happening and share this strange burden of Covid-19 and it’s impact. Remember also, that you are not the only one and that anxiety seeks out anxiety - so being overly anxious in front of your child will likely increase their fears too, better to book in some time to talk to your friends or other parents at school when you can. Try to talk your worries through face-to-face over a cup of tea rather than messaging online if possible as face-to-face conversation holds more benefits.


Strange as it sounds, children will on the most part have benefitted from all the time at home -initial studies have shown a reduction in anxiety for teenagers over the last six months and research highlights the importance of play and relaxation in developing the pre-frontal cortex part of the brain responsible for learning and relating. It might be that in the next months and year to follow we see results suggesting that the impact of lockdown was less detrimental on learning than imagined.




I am a child psychotherapist (UKCP Registered); a counsellor; arts and play therapist, covering Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire. You can contact me here.



By Victoria, Jul 14 2020 07:58PM

Well, I don’t think we will forget 2020 in a hurry. If you are reading this, it’s likely you have come to the website for some support in relation to your child/ren. Firstly, take some time just to think about the extra-ordinary circumstances we have all been in, how many extra stresses Covid-19 has brought into our awareness, some of which we are already used to, but nevertheless managing a pandemic and helping children through it at the same time is not like anything else we have encountered before and you have done so well just to get through it, whatever that looks like.


Take time now, just to be amazed that you are getting your family through it, however hard it has been, however arduous these months have been, despite the emotions that are running high, you are managing in your own way, like we all are and that’s pretty epic.


Try your best to turn away from what you think others may or may not be managing with their children. Try to see that your child is managing in their own way and this is good enough. We truly never know what other people are really feeling and thinking, those that look like they are coping very well may actually be the ones needing the most support.


Now take time to know it’s going to be okay. This crazy time will pass, children will go back to school and our amazing education system will enable them to catch up. Do you know how much a child’s brain develops through cosy times with loved ones? Bonding and simple pleasures at home provide the basis for synaptic connections in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, so whilst you may feel all has been lost and wasted this term, in fact the very opposite is taking place, your child’s brain will be in a good place to take on new information, provided they are having (mostly!) relaxing, fun and playful interactions at home, therefore if there are heightened emotions, try to keep things as calm as possible, even if this means making some changes/overlooking some of the rules that you may not usually do. Your child is having time to live, to just ‘be’ and make the most of the world, as was the case generations ago and they survived pretty well through other tough times.


Try to feel accomplishment in what you have gotten through, because I think we can all agree that surviving a pandemic is a significant life achievement. Like any major crisis or life event, we may come out looking like we’ve seen better days, but that’s because we have!


If the anxiety about September is looming, try to focus on the now. What can you do for yourself to put that anxiety away until the start of term, how can you help your child to do this? Mindfulness is a really worthwhile practice and making the most of the present can help leave the anxious times until the moment when they actually happen (and they may not even be as bad as we expected).


You might try a mindfulness walk with your child/ren, what five things can they see? What four things can they hear? What three things can they smell? What two things can they feel? What one thing can they taste?


It might help to create a journal to document the summer break, how they are feeling or what they are grateful for. Other mindful activities are below:-


Mindfulness activities for children:-

https://biglifejournal-uk.co.uk/blogs/blog/5-fun-mindfulness-activities-children-breathing-exercises



Summer activities to do at home:-

https://www.happinessishomemade.net/quick-easy-kids-crafts-anyone-can-make/


https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/craft-ideas/how-to/g1389/diy-kids-activities/


https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/30-fun-things-home.html


I am a child psychotherapist (UKCP Registered); a counsellor; arts and play therapist, covering Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire. You can contact me here.



By Victoria, Jul 14 2020 07:55PM

Thank you for all that our schools have done over this year, it has been amazing to go back into schools this term and see all that you have put into place to help keep schools a safe and happy sanctuary for children. I know you have all worked so hard in these far from ordinary times, thank you.


I am a child psychotherapist (UKCP Registered); a counsellor; arts and play therapist, covering Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire. You can contact me here.





By Victoria, May 21 2020 12:40PM

This week is Mental Health Awareness week and now more than ever it’s essential we look after our mental health. The unprecedented challenges we have faced lately have perhaps forced us into survival mode, where we focus on the basics, the essentials day-to-day and can easily overlook what is going on at a deeper level. Seeing the world suffer the Covid-19 Pandemic is both shocking and frightening, it may take time for us all to fully come to terms with what has happened and what it represents.


Keep checking with yourself what is it that you need? What would help you the most? If that isn’t available to you, what steps can you take that might help in a different way? The focus on self-care means that the care for others will be able to come more readily, perhaps this is particularly important for parents who have seen their role of parenting challenged by becoming a teacher overnight and having to manage this expectation as well as their own anxieties.


What three nice things can you do for yourself today?


I am a child psychotherapist (UKCP Registered); a counsellor; arts and play therapist, covering Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire. You can contact me here.



By Victoria, Apr 5 2020 09:27AM

Donate towards wellbeing support and therapy for our NHS Staff


In addition to clapping in thanks to our National Health Service tonight, you can also donate here over the coming weeks and months to help towards providing NHS Staff with wellbeing support, such as CBT therapists; Psychotherapists; Mindfulness teachers; Meditation experts; Breath-work experts; Homeopaths; Immunologists; Nutrition coaches; Hypnotherapists and Healers.


https://www.dutytocare.info/

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