Philippa Downs Counselling for Children

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


I am a Registered, Integrative Child Counsellor offering Counselling and Play and Creative Therapy for children and young people. I work with individual children, parents and whole families.

I use a wide range of approaches from the use of, play, games and toys, as well as talking where that is preferred. I am flexible and approachable and work with each family to provide the support which feels most helpful to them. As well as my work with children, I offer various types of support for parents, from individual consultations, to more in-depth work such as counselling for individuals or couples.

I trained at Post Graduate level with the country's leading Children's Mental Health charity and am a registered member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy. I am fully insured, with an enhanced DBS certificate.

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
  • Anger
  • Confidence/Resilience
  • Attachment issues
  • Parental Separation/Divorce
  • Improving communication and reducing conflict within the family
  • Parenting support and advice
  • Parent counselling
  • Domestic abuse
  • Trauma
  • Bereavement
  • Academic worries and Exam stress
  • Transitions and change (eg starting secondary school, moving house/school)
  • Support for children and families where a loved one is drinking too much or taking drugs
  • Supporting families with parental physical or mental ill health

    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can become overwhelming and lead to a variety of problematic behaviours, ranging from anger and aggression, to being withdrawn and difficult to reach. 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. Working with a trained counsellor 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. We use play to help children understand their world and their relationships which can increase their self confidence and resilience and helps them manage worries and anxieties better.

    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 specialise in counselling and therapy with children from aged 4 up to secondary school age and I work either from my practice in Wimbledon or if the school is in agreement, at the child's school. I also work in partnership with schools to ensure that the child and family get the best possible support. I can see children in schools in Wimbledon, Wandsworth, Putney, Raynes Park and other local areas in South West London, depending on my availability.

    I have a wide range of toys, games and art materials for children to use - some benefit from the freedom of exploring their feelings through play, and others prefer to talk. We can work effectively in whatever way suits your child, there is no "right" way to work. My training allows me to be flexible and intuitive, drawing on knowledge of Child Development, Attachment Theory, Psychodynamic, Systemic and Person Centred approaches.

    How I work with Parents

    I offer a variety of options for parents ranging from a single consultation to more indepth, ongoing work. Parents are the most important people in their child's life and supporting parents to gain new insight into their child's behaviour can be incredibly effective at producing long term change in a family.

    Resilience and Mental Health

    Even in difficult times, when problems feel overwhelming, everyone has their own strengths and resiliences, and 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.

    Families affected by Parental Drug and Alcohol problems

    I also support children and families affected by parental problems with drugs or alcohol. This is a very under resourced area and there is limited support for children under 18 affected by this problem, despite evidence showing that many hundreds of thousands of families are living with this situation. Helping children to understand their experiences if a parent has had a problem with drugs or alcohol has been shown in many studies to reduce the potentially negative impact, which can manifest as anxiety, low self esteem, behavioural problems, academic under achievement etc. Simple education, in an age appropriate manner can improve these outcomes and restore resilience in children. Please do get in touch if you would like to discuss any of this in more detail.


    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
    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

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

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