Cerys Overington - Sandcastles Play Therapy & Counselling Service

Cerys Overington - Sandcastles Play Therapy & Counselling Service

North Yorkshire


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North Yorkshire


About me

What is Play & Creative Arts Therapy?

Play and Creative Arts Therapy uses the child's natural language of play to help children overcome emotional or behavioural challenges.  The Therapist's toolkit consists of carefully selected toys and creative mediums to allow children to express themselves in whichever way they choose.  As a Play & Creative Arts Therapist and Counsellor, I am trained in child-led, creative therapy approaches using play and different creative modalities to support the therapeutic process of the individual children I am working with.  In addition to individual non-directive play therapy and group play therapy, I am also trained in Filial Therapy and Child-Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT). These approaches combine family and play therapy principles and techniques to enhance the parent-child relationship.

Who is Play & Creative Arts Therapy suitable for?

Play and Creative Arts Therapy is suitablefor children between 3-12 years old who have experienced trauma or display emotional or behavioural difficulties.  These might include:

Emotions - Anxiety, Low self-esteem, Difficulties with regulation, Peer difficulties, Low resilience

Behaviours - Aggressive, Withdrawn, Antisocial behaviours, Inattentive, Hyperactive

Environment - Family breakdown, Bullying, Bereavement, Loss, Abuse, Trauma, Military

Play Therapy or Counselling?  What is the difference?

A child's means of communicating varies considerably to that of an adult, and this is no less true when it comes to counselling and therapy as to any other aspect of a young person's life.

What does a Play Therapist do?

As a Play and Creative Arts Therapist, I have receivee extensive training in subjects such as child development and attachment (the bonding process). I am also trained to use play, a child’s natural form of expression, as a means for understanding and communicating with children about feelings, thoughts and behaviour.

I will begin by carefully listening to your concerns about your child and family. I will review their history and find out about the stresses the family have been through so that I can help your child make sense of it.  Imay ask to seek information from school and other significant adults in their lives. An assessment is made of your child’s strengths as well as their difficulties.  I may work as part of a team of other professionals or independently and may suggest a referral for other professional intervention as part of the support. This might include support for you.

As a Play and Creative Arts Therapist, I am qualified in and able to offer traditional talking therapy (counselling) if appropriate but understand that a child's natural form of communication does not rely on talking. Using play and creativity allows a non-verbal way of processing past experiences or traumatic events in a safe, contained therapeutic environment. In childhood, communicating through play may be more effective in accessing a child's emotional world as it is a vital part of growth and development. Even teenagers and adults, moving away from childhood play, can find the use of creative mediums therapeutically valuable.

Play Therapy uses a variety of play and creative arts techniques to alleviate chronic, mild and moderate psychological and emotional conditions in children that are causing behavioural problems and/or are preventing children from realising their potential. This greater depth of skills and experience distinguishes play therapy from those using therapeutic play skills and talking therapies.

Play & Creative Arts Therapy is suitable for children between 3-12 years old who have experienced trauma or display emotional or behavioural difficulties. Children and young people aged 13+ may benefit from either a creative arts therapy or counselling (talking therapy) approach dependant on their developmental ability.

I use sand, puppets, music, movement, role-play, clay, arts & crafts and toys to communicate with children and young people from age 3+. I aim to form a safe and warm therapeutic relationship through playing and talking together in sessions. We explore the young person's emotional world, to help identify, work through and resolve emotional conflicts.

Filial Therapy

Play Therapists sometimes work with parents in the playroom with their child. As a Registered Filial Therapist I can train parents in how to relate better to their child using child-centred techniques . Filial Therapy is a programme for parents/caregivers/guardians. Over a series of sessions (usually 18-20), I would work with the primary caregivers to develop child-orientated play skills to strengthen the attachment between adult and child. Sessions are structured and the carer is supported throughout the therapeutic intervention.(go to http://www.filialtherapy.co.uk for more details)

Further information on play therapy can be found at: www.playtherapy.org.uk/childrensemotionalwellbeing

My experience

I have worked with children and families in a range of settings and roles across Whitby, Redcar and Middlesbrough. My work within the voluntary and charity sector include as a bereavement counsellor with Cruse Bereavement Care in Guisborough and as a child sexual exploitation worker within Redcar Children’s Services. I currently offer short-term individual play therapy for children at WHISH.

I held a variety of therapist positions during my time at Barnardo’s in Middlesbrough. These included working with young carers, children impacted by domestic violence (Gateway Project) and children and young people who have been impacted by sexual abuse and those displaying harmful sexual behaviours (Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) Service/Bridgeway Project). I am trained in Pre-Court Therapy protocol. Prior to becoming a therapist, I served in the military for 23 years.

I continue to work in partnership with primary schools in Redcar and Middlesbrough, this encompasses my continued support to The Bungalow Partnership in Middlesbrough. I am listed as an approved provider of therapy with North Yorkshire Adoption Services and PAC-UK.

How can I access Play & Creative Arts Therapy or Counselling:

If you are a parent/carer who feels your child would benefit from Play & Creative Arts Therapy or Counselling, please either contact me direct.  Making initial contact can sometimes feel overwhelming when your head is so full of the very reasons you are seeking a therapist.  Please be reassured that I will do all I can to offer assistance in making the process as simple as it can be.

Call me on 07528 175058 or email using the link on this page.  If calling and there is no reply, please leave a voicemail message and I will return your call as soon as possible.  We can briefly discuss the reason for your call and set up a meeting date if you feel you want to progress.

At the initial meeting (which normally lasts between 1-1.5 hours) we will discuss:

  • The reasons for referral and behaviours which are causing concern.
  • What you hope to see change from the intervention.
  • An explanation of how I work including the frequency of sessions (usually weekly); venue; session length (this is dependant on the developmental age of the child/young person/adult (up to a maximum of 50 minutes) and duration of the therapy, I have experience of working in both time-limited and longer-term interventions.

There is no obligation to continue after this meeting as it is very important that you choose the right therapist to meet the child's or your needs.

At present, I don't practice from my own playroom/counselling room.  The majority of my work with children is delivered within the school environment, alternative venues can be discussed should you feel this may not suit your needs.  It can be helpful to engage with school staff such as the Headteacher/SENCO to ensure everyone is working together to benefit the child.

If you work at a school and are interested in my services, please contact me to arrange a free consultation.  There are a series of packages available to school which can offer flexibility for either individual sessions or full/half-day services.  I also welcome referrals from fostering agencies, Local Authorities and other agencies.

Training, qualifications & experience


Post Graduate Diploma in Play Therapy - Leeds Beckett University/PTUK (2018)

Level 2 Certificate in Mental Health Awareness - Selby College (2017)

Post Graduate Certificate in Therapeutic Play - Leeds Beckett University/PTUK (2015)

Foundation Degree in Arts - Person-Centred Counselling - Teesside University (2013)

Ascentis Level 2 Awareness in Bereavement Care - Cruse Bereavement Care (2012)

Professional Training

Filial Therapy Training (2018)

Lego: Build to Express - The Nurture Group (2017)

Child-Parent Relationship Therapy - Roehampton University (2016)

Taming the Tiger – The Impact of Trauma on Children and Young People - BTICD (2017)

PREVENT Radicalisation Training (2016)

Mental Health First Aid Training for Young People - Barnardo's (2016)

Level 2 Safeguarding and Child Protection - Barnardo's (2016)

Attachment Training (2016)

Fulcrum Psychological Training – Psychology and Physiology of Addiction; Personality Disorders; Trauma & Vicarious Trauma (2015/2016)

Brain Development & Neuroscience with Dr Bruce Perry (2015)

Understanding Sexual Trauma - LimeCulture (2014)

Court Witness Training (2014)

Member organisations


Accredited register membership


My fees vary according to the type of intervention eg 1:1, family, sibling group etc.

Initial meeting/consultation - £40

Individual Play Therapy/Counselling Session (Self-Referral) -£40

Group Play Therapy (max 6 per group) - Price on request

Filial Therapy/CPRT - Price on request

Local Authority/GP/School Referrals - Price on request

Further information

As a Registered Member of BACP and a Certified Member of PTUK, I am bound by their Ethical Frameworks in working as a therapist. I hold an enhanced DBS with professional indemnity insurance and a full driving licence.

Maps & Directions

Whitby, YO21

Type of session

Online counselling: No
Telephone counselling: No
Face to face counselling: Yes

Practical details

Sign language: No
Other languages: None


Wheelchair access: Unspecified


Monday - Friday, 8.30am - 6pm

Types of client

Young people
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