through play


Bsc(Hons), Dip SW, CPW PG 
Child Centred Play Therapy

About Melanie 

Melanie is passionate about supporting children and their families. She specialises in using child centred play therapy. Play Therapy offers children a safe space to express their thoughts, feelings and behaviours at their own pace and developmental level for optimal healing, growth, and development.

Melanie has over 20 years experience working with children and families in the social services and health sectors. Alongside her private practice, Melanie is a child and family therapist within the health sector.

Melanie holds a BSc (hons) degree in Social Sciences /Social Work and a CPW Post Graduate Certificate in Child Centred Play Therapy. She is registered with the Social Work Board and ACC. Melanie is a member of the Association of Social Work, the Association for Play Therapy and the Bay of Plenty Therapy Foundation.

Melanie is from the UK and has enjoyed living in the Bay of Plenty for the past 16 years with her husband, teenage daughters and their dog Daisy.

What is Play Therapy?

Play Therapy is a specialised form of therapy/counselling for children. It is a well-established and evidenced based model which draws upon many psychological theories. As adults, we talk through our problems, exploring our thoughts and feelings to find new ways of managing situations or coming to terms with things we cannot change. Play Therapy recognises that play is children’s natural mode of communication and learning.

In the process of growing up, children can at times experience difficulties coping. Play Therapy can offer children a safe non-intrusive method to assist them in making sense of their worlds and to recover from common distressing events as well as major traumas.

Play Therapy can help children to cope with a number of events that might happen to or be effecting them. These include:

- Parental separation/divorce

- Bereavement within the family
- Illness or injury (their own or within their family)

- Additions to their family (siblings, blended families, re-marriage

- Family conflict and violence

- Separation and school anxiety

- Behavioral and social difficulties

- Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse and neglect

- Catastrophic events or natural disasters 

Through Play Therapy children are better able to understand their experiences, emotions and 
behaviours and find their own inner resources for optimal healing, growth and development .




Play Therapy

Parent/caregiver initial assessment

An initial meeting is held with the parents/caregivers to obtain a full assessment of the child’s history and family circumstances.

Individual Play therapy sessions (45 minutes)

Play therapy sessions provide a confidential space where the child has the freedom to express his/herself within safe boundaries. Children can play through situations that have been causing them to feel sad, angry, anxious, or afraid. Through this process children gain a better understanding of their experiences, emotions and behaviours and find their own inner resources for optimal growth and development.

The child and therapist work together in a room where the child has access to toys for dramatic play, art supplies, dress up for role plays, and a sand tray.

“Toys are like the child’s words and play is the language” Dr Garry Landreth.


Research has shown that 15-16 sessions provide optimal outcomes. However, in some cases short term therapy can be provided within 10 sessions.

Working with parents/caregivers

Parents and caregivers are a crucial part of the child’s healing and therapeutic process. The therapist works with the family through regular review meetings where information is shared, and the goals of therapy are worked towards in partnership.

Strengthening Child and Parent relationship sessions

A separate therapy process may be offered for both parents and child in the play room to help strengthen the relationship together.

Sibling sessions

These may be offered where appropriate, for siblings to work through shared experiences together or where there are issues to be worked through, within the sibling relationships.



The standard session fee is $110 per session. A sliding scale based on income is available for families who find this fee difficult. Some clients may be eligible for sessions to be funded by WINZ or from other sources, depending on family circumstances. Fees are discussed and agreed prior to the first session. Fees are due within two working days of session, and sessions not attended without 24 hours’ notice may be charged 50% of the session fee.

Helpful links
“Birds fly, Fish swim...
Children Play”
- Dr Garry Landreth.

Play Therapy Tauranga offers a confidential and supportive service to families.

Contact me to discuss your child’s needs and whether Play Therapy may be beneficial to them.

P 021 036 4644
E melanie@playtherapytauranga.co.nz

9 Brookfield Terrace,
Brookfield, Tauranga


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