Ellen Stevens

Play Therapist

I am a Play Therapist registered with the British Association of Play Therapists (BAPT) which is a member of the Professional Standards Authority. I specialise in psychodynamic, non-directive and child-centred play therapy with children between the ages of 3 and 11.


  • Master of Science (MSc) in Play Therapy: Queen Margaret University
  • Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Skills for Working with Children: Place2Be
  • Level 2 Award in Counselling Skills for Working with Children: Place2Be
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA Hons) in Writing, Directing and Performance: University of York

My Experience

I began working with children in 2013 following my undergraduate degree in theatre. My focus here was on using drama skills and improvisation games to support children in developing their sense of self, confidence and creative expression. My interest in playfulness and its capacity for supporting children’s growth and development began here and led me to pursue training in therapeutic interventions for children.

I have worked extensively in primary schools since the beginning of my training in 2018, providing 1-to-1 play therapy to children both long-term and shorter-term. In these environments I have supported children with a range of support needs such as anxiety, difficulties with emotional regulation, ADHD, autism, communication difficulties, experience of bullying and self-esteem challenges.

I also have experience working for a charity supporting children aged 4 and under and their families. This has involved facilitating groups for young children and their parents in the community and providing support sessions to help parents participate in their child’s development.

My Therapeutic Approach

The play therapy I provide with children is non-directive and child-centred, which means the child leads the way in their play and chooses toys and activities as they wish. They do not need to verbally explain what they’re doing and this establishes a feeling of permission in the relationship so that the child feels free to express themselves completely. I respond to the child’s lead in a non-judgemental and attuned way to help further and deepen their exploration of their inner-world through play. I also provide clear and appropriate boundaries to support children with self-regulation and safety.

I appreciate the importance of parental and family relationships for children and therefore meet with parents/caregivers before starting sessions with the child. I also meet with parents/caregivers throughout the therapeutic process and provide tailored support for family relationships. This can be in a variety of forms depending on each family’s needs.

I believe in the importance of the therapeutic relationship and accepting the child where they’re at for the therapy to be effective. At the initial appointment I will assess whether play therapy is the best intervention for a child at the current time.