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Deciding what to do if a child has an emotional or behaviour problem
The following guidelines may help you to decide what to do if you know a child or children with emotional, behaviour or mental health problems.

If you are responsible for a child
If you work with children
If you manage a school, home, care centre etc

Parent or carer

Does the child have an emotional or behaviour problem? No - allow the child plenty of time to play

Yes - how severe are the problem(s)?
Slight or Mild Is the child under 3?

Between 3 and 14?
Consider filial therapy

Consider therapeutic play or play therapy
Moderate or a number of mild problems Over 3 years?

Over 14 years?
Consider play therapy

Consider counselling - talking therapy
Severe Over 3 years and under 14 See your doctor for a referral to a child psychotherapist etc

How to identify the severity of a problem (guidelines)

See also Guidelines for Referral based on observation of play (PTUK web site)


Do you wish to acquire therapeutic play skills or become a play therapist? Personal Qualities Required
Look at - the PTIrl Career Development Map
Look at details of accredited courses 
Consider becoming a member of PTIrl


If you manage a school, home or centre for children
Ask PTIrl about ways of introducing or extending an emotional support service to supplement academic and behaviour support services. See the latest research results in our news page. Also professional support services.

Alternatively ask your local Play Therapist, or PTIrl about our informative workshops for setting up managed play therapy services and corporate membership. Email: contact@ptirl.org


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