CHILD, ADOLESCENT AND FAMILY THERAPIST
Stephanie Adamson Binnie
I am a child and adolescent counsellor and psychotherapist.
Children can find it hard to express themselves verbally and to make sense of how they feel. They may experience confusion, distress, anxiety, anger or feel they have no control over what is happening. This can occur at times of change, for example divorce or bereavement but sometimes the cause is unknown.
Through play and experiential therapy children can understand and organise their thoughts and feelings in a safe and supported way.
I have worked with children and families for over 35 years. Initially in the field of Social Work which included work in Children’s Homes and an Assessment Centre; in Child Protection; as Unit Leader working directly with children and families preparing for adoption and as an Adoption and Fostering Senior practitioner. This provided invaluable experience of working with complex issues and children in distress. I worked jointly with families towards meeting the child’s needs.
I later trained as a Specialist Teacher and worked in schools with children and adolescents with neurodevelopmental cinditions, for example dyslexia, ADHD and ASD.
I completed a Masters in Child, Adolescent and Family Therapy and now offer counselling and therapeutic support to children, young people, adults and families who are struggling to cope with or understand life events.
DDP level 1 and 2
MA Child Adolescent and Family Psychotherapy
One Year Infant Observational Study
One Year Pre-school Child Observation Study
Diploma Sandplay Studies
Diploma in Special Educational Needs
PGDip Social Work
SCOPE OF WORK
OUTLINE OF WORK
I specialise in working with children and adolescents who are experiencing difficulties. Sometimes family change can cause a child or young person to feel insecure or unsettled; for example, family separation, divorce, illness, loss or bereavement or moving house or school.
On the other hand, a child’s behaviour can change or they are unhappy and parents are unsure why. Similarly the transition into adolescence can be challenging for families and young people.
My aim is to help the child or young person to understand what they feel and make sense of their experiences.
Family separation or divorce
Bereavement and loss
Alcoholism and other addictions
Looked after children
Poor self esteem
Anxiety and stress
Abuse and violence
Relationship and friendship difficulties
Food and eating issues
My Practice is located in Oxted, Surrey. I provide long and short term counselling and psychotherapy for children, adolescents and adults. Although I work primarily with children, I like to meet parents and where appropriate, involve them in the process as family harmony and cohesion is a key principle for my work. It may be decided that this is less applicable, for example for some adolescents.
Depending on the age and developmental stage of the child I use play, arts and crafts, story telling, drama, sand tray work and conversation to enable the child to reveal their inner world and tell their story.
The process of understanding the child's perspective occurs at their pace and in their unique way. They are supported through painful or uncomfortable emotions. They may reveal some falsehoods or unhealthy beliefs which are harmful to their wellbeing. Changing these may be necessary to assist the child’s emotional stability. This can take time and be challenging. A long term aim of therapy is often to facilitate integration between thoughts, emotions and behaviours. Similarly holding a consistent and meaningful narrative about life experiences is crucial to healing and a sense of well-being. This can ultimately improve the child’s confidence.
When working with teenagers it is important to be respectful of their views and the pace at which they want to work. I am open-minded and non-judgemental.
I recognise that young people are under considerable pressure from peer groups, social media, schools and parents and that this can be challenging to negotiate. With this age group my approach and working method will not be the same as for a child.
My hope is that in sessions adolescents can explore their fears and worries and in turn focus on their hopes and dreams and appreciate their personal qualities. I encourage them to discover their ‘true self’ and explore their uniqueness. Psychotherapy can greatly facilitate this process.
For ease of reading and to avoid repetition on this website I sometimes use the generic term ‘child’ to refer to anyone that is aged between 2 and 18 years of age. I appreciate that adolescents are not children and my approach would be adjusted according to the individual’s stage of development.
PARENT/CARER AND CHILD WORK
I have experience of working with families in crisis and understand the impact of developmental trauma. Work can include facilitating parent-child attachments relationships which can be interrupted for example following illness, separation and loss.
I specialise in working with ‘looked after’ children in foster placements and in adoptive families. I have Level 1 and 2 DDP Training and use these principles to repair mis-attunement, that can occur in early life, and to facilitate attachment relationship between child and parent or carer.
Sandplay Therapy is similar to Art Therapy as it can offer an outlet for thoughts and feelings. The process of creating sand trays alone can be therapeutic and can prompt discussion and reflection. On the other hand, some individuals use no words or conversation but prefer deep concentration. Sandplay is used with all age groups and is a window into the world of the unconscious and collective unconscious.
WHAT TO EXPECT
I meet with parents for an initial consultation and together decide if counselling sessions would be useful. This is an opportunity to ask questions and exchange information. Children’s sessions are generally at the same time each week and last 50 minutes. In some cases it may be decided that more frequent sessions are required.
After a period of assessment further sessions with parents may be appropriate. The number of sessions required will depend upon the individual child and the circumstances.