THERAPEUTIC ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN WITH MENTAL HEALTH

By Veronica Mercer, Mental Health Accredited Social Worker

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Children's mental health. Child health.

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Tags: Children’s mental health. Child health.

“Animals are such agreeable friends—they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.” – George Eliot

A therapeutic approach is the lens through which counsellors address their clients’ problems. Broadly speaking, the therapeutic approaches of counsellors fall into two categories: behavioural and psychodynamic. Behavioural approaches are usually short-term and address the behaviour and thought patterns. The approach that I utilise is an integrative one, where I tend to blend of complementary theories.

I consider this to be flexible which allows me to tailor my approach to meet the specific needs of the individual. I always work with a client-centred framework. A few years back, I was involved with an adventure camp program for children. We took the children on camps and they were involved in activities like, surfing, flying fox, high ropes and abseiling. The motivation for the children was “Who can do this?” “I can!”. We witnessed amazing transitions with many of the children.

Children's mental health. Child health.When working with Children, therapy should incorporate emphasizing positive development, but still addressing negative issues and symptoms. Therapy sessions can focus on working toward an optimistic future, positive coping methods, and boosting the self-esteem, self-confidence, and other positive states and traits in children.

Counselling with children is best explained as;

  • Talk – Talking is a healthy way to express feelings.
  • Play and draw – Therapists use games that teach things like taking your time on schoolwork or other tasks.
  • Do activities – Therapists might teach lessons about feelings, coping skills, or facing fears.
  • Practice new skills.
  • Solve problems.

Children's mental health. Child health.

Some of the activities that I like to use with younger people are Art Therapy, Play Therapy, Music Therapy, Animal Therapy and other activities that assist in building self-esteem and confidence. These two aspects are always adversely affected in people who experience a mental health issue, child or adult. I recently took a few of my young client’s horse riding with the aim of building upon their confidence and to put in place the coping strategies, which we had been working on during counselling.

Animal therapy is widely recognised as having huge benefits for children emotional, mentally, physically and socially. I recently held a HUGE Garage Sale to raise fund to allow me to undertake more activities with children who are experiencing anxiety and depression. I had some much donated my garage and yard were overflowing. I would like to thank all those amazing people who donated and turned up on the day and bought items and tickets in the raffles.

A huge thank you to Natasha, Gary, Thomas and Rianna Barwick for their help and support, I could not have done it without them. We raised a large amount of money, which will be used to provide therapeutic activities to the young people I work with and who are experiencing a mental health issue. Cheers Veronica

“One man’s trash, can be another man’s treasure” – Unknown


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A highly successful sales and leadership career working in a number of different and very competitive industries. Engaging with decision makers at all levels in business and government. Three decades employed by corporations, SME businesses in senior roles and almost twelve years operating as a freelance contractor has equipped me well for all aspects of business. Whether leading and mentoring sales teams, or in a direct sales role I enjoy the challenge to meet and exceed expectations. Making a real and tangible difference in either a team environment or as an individual is an important personal goal I have consistently achieved throughout my career. In all of my business and personal dealings over the years there is one issue that stands out above all others - communication. Excellent communication skills creates trust, helps with mutually beneficial outcomes and above all cements long lasting positive relationships. I strive everyday to communicate effectively with the people I encounter.