Philippa Downs Counselling for Children

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Counselling and Play Based Therapy for Children and Young People. PGDip., MBACP

Hello and welcome to my website.


I am a Registered, Integrative Child Counsellor offering Play based Therapy and Counselling for children, young people and families in Wimbledon, South West London. I work with individual children, parents and whole families.

I trained at Post Graduate level and am a registered member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy and I am fully insured.

I use a wide range of approaches including creative materials, play, games and toys, as well as talking where that is preferred. I am friendly, flexible and approachable and work with each family to provide the support which feels most helpful to them.

As well as working with children, I also provide parenting support. This ranges from helping parents gain a deeper understanding of their child's behaviour and emotional needs to developing a parent's capacity to reflect on their own responses to their child and how to improve and strengthen the parent child relationship. Parents are the experts in their own children and I want to enhance your confidence in your ability to know what is right for your child.

I am based in Wimbledon, South West London, but also able to work in schools in Raynes Park, Putney and Wandsworth.

Issues I work with include but are not limited to:

  • Behavioural and Emotional problems at home/school
  • Anxiety/worries
  • Bullying/Friendship issues
  • Divorce/parental conflict
  • Anger
  • Confidence/Resilience
  • Academic worries and Exam stress
  • Transitions and change (eg starting secondary school, moving house/school)
  • Attachment issues
  • Domestic abuse
  • Trauma
  • Bereavement/loss
  • Family communication
  • Parental alcohol or drug use
  • Parental physical or mental ill health
  • Parenting support and advice
  • Strengthening parent/child relationships
  • Parent counselling
  • Parenting support groups

    Child Counselling and Play Based Therapy

    Children and Young People can sometimes struggle with big feelings which are difficult to explain or understand. These feelings can become overwhelming and lead to a variety of problematic behaviours. Whether a child is coping with explosive, upsetting or turbulent feelings, or struggling with debilitating shyness, their ability to concentrate in school, make friends and achieve in all areas of their lives can be affected. The use of play in counselling can help children begin to understand their feelings and put words to their emotions so that they can communicate better with their family and peers. Having a better awareness of their physical and emotional responses to situations means that they are then more likely to be able to control their behaviour.

    There is more information explaining Counselling and Play Based Therapy in the relevant section of this website. There is a message for your child here if you would like them to understand a bit more about counselling and what I do

    How I work with children

    I work with children using play, games, art materials and activities. Some children benefit from the freedom of exploring their feelings in this way, and others prefer to talk. There is no "right" way to work, other than the way that feels most comfortable to your child. My training allows me to be flexible and intuitive, drawing on knowledge of Child Development, Attachment Theory, Psychodynamic, Systemic, CBT and Person Centred approaches.

    How I work with Parents

    I offer a variety of options for parents ranging from a single consultation to more in-depth, ongoing counselling or parenting support. I believe strongly in helping parents increase their understanding of their children's emotions and behaviour and ultimately strengthening the parent-child relationship.

    Resilience and Mental Health

    Even when problems feel completely overwhelming, everyone has their own strengths and resiliences. Part of my role as a counsellor is to support children and parents to utilise their own resources, rediscover and build on what works well in their family.

    School Counsellor

    I have worked as a school counsellor in both primary and secondary schools, working individually with children and also running groups for children with emotional and behavioural issues. I have also facilitated support groups for parents and am used to working with schools and families to ensure that the child gets the best support possible.

    Families affected by Bereavement

    I have worked as a Bereavement Counsellor with children, young people and their families after the loss of a loved one, including complex and traumatic bereavements such as suicide, sudden death and long term illness. I have also facilitated groups for children affected by bereavement and loss.

    Families affected by Parental Drug and Alcohol problems

    I also support children and families affected by parental problems with alcohol or drugs. (The parent does not have to have a diagnosis of an addiction for the family to benefit from this approach.) Despite the many hundreds of thousands of families in the UK struggling with this problem, because of the associated stigma, there is very little support available. Many studies have shown that helping children to understand what is happening, and manage their emotional responses can reduce the potentially huge negative impact which results from this problem. Unsupported, these issues can manifest as anxiety, low self esteem, behavioural problems, academic under achievement, and other long term mental health problems. Please do get in touch if you would like to discuss any of this in complete confidence.


    NHS Helplines is the NHS list of Mental Health Helplines for expert advice and support
    On My Mind is the world renowned Anna Freud Centre's new website supporting the Mental Health of young people and their families
    Stem4 is the website for the Wimbledon based Mental Health charity Stem4, with a wealth of resources for young people and their families
    Young Minds is a website supporting children, young people and parents. Parent support helpline
    The Mix gives honest information and support for young people
    Beat supports young people with eating disorders and their parents
    Gingerbread for support for children whose parents are divorcing
    NACOA for support for children of alcoholics. Website and telephone helpline
    DRUGFAM for support for adult family members affected by another drug or alcohol addiction. Website and telephone helpline 365 days a year
    NSPCC for support and information on what to do if you are worried about a child. Also link to Childline helpline


    The following organisations have registers of therapists and insist on therapists/counsellors attending accredited courses which require them to have their own counselling. This is not a condition in all counselling trainings but in my view it is essential for safe practice. Feel free to ask about the training and development of any therapist you contact, it's very important. Click on the links below for more information

    BACP British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
    UKCP UK Council for Psychotherapy
    BAPT British Association of Play Therapists
    PTUK Play Therapy UK
    BAAT British Association of Art Therapists
    IATE Institue for Arts in Therapy and Education
    AFT Association of Family Therapists

    My practice is in Wimbledon, within easy reach of Merton, Raynes Park, Putney and Wandsworth, South West London

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