Expressive Therapy South Australia
Creatively building resilience
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Expressive Therapy SA is a service providing child-centered expressive therapy, art therapy, play therapy and counselling for early and primary years children in Adelaide and across South Australia.

Worried about your child?

Expressive Therapy could be the answer

Expressive therapy is a form of psychotherapy, which helps children express their thoughts and feelings through the creative medium of art, music, movement, drama, play and sandplay – tapping into your child’s natural way of communicating and expressing feelings.

Expressive therapy is a well-recognised approach, specifically suited to children with a developmental age of 3-12 yrs. Through creativity and play the child is able to identify, work through, and resolve emotional conflicts that are too painful or too difficult to express verbally, or that may in fact be outside conscious awareness.

An Expressive Therapist helps children explore their feelings and process their experiences, enabling them to cope better in the future. Expressive therapy can help children feel happier, resolve complicated feelings, develop emotional literacy, improve self-confidence and resilience and build positive relationships. Expressive Therapy helps children communicate feelings or experiences they may find hard to put into words.

• Express feelings • Improve mood • Resolve conflict • Resist peer pressure • Control emotions • Improve communication • Think flexibly • Build resilience
• Express feelings • Improve mood • Resolve conflict • Resist peer pressure • Control emotions • Improve communication • Think flexibly • Build resilience
Children enjoying painting, playing with sand and playing musical instruments
A child playing with blocks

Why choose Expressive Therapy?

Sometimes children need extra support to manage difficult times or a traumatic event or a developmental delay. Expressive Therapy can help children in a similar way that counselling can help adults.

Children enjoying painting, playing with sand and playing musical instruments

Expressive Therapy can help with:

Big behaviours, anger, tantrums
Trauma, family violence, accidents.
Non / less verbal children, selective mutism
Divorce, bereavement, illness
Self-harming behaviours
School stress, bullying
Autism, sensory modulation, ADHD

A child dancing

How we work

Expressive Therapy involves using creative activities in a therapeutic environment, with the support of a registered and trained professional. Your child does not need to have done these activities before, or have any particular skills or knowledge.

Although sessions may look like play, Expressive Therapists are registered psychotherapists, here to help resolve emotional distress and achieve optimal mental wellness. Children often do enjoy Expressive Therapy sessions, even though they may be working through difficult issues.

As a registered NDIS provider, we support NDIS  participants that are self, plan & NDIA managed
Children dancing and playing with blocks
Meet Paula

Paula Gillespie-Fotheringham is the founder of Expressive Therapy SA. She has over 15 years’ experience working in the field of mental health and social care, gaining experience in children’s residential services, CAHMS and adult in-patient units. As an art psychotherapist Paula has worked extensively with both children and adults; specializing in issues of self-harm, attachment and developmental trauma.

Originally from the UK, Paula founded Manchester Art Psychotherapy Services in 2011. MAPS provided art psychotherapy services to schools and government agencies across the North of England and creative therapy training in Europe. She also held the post of Head of Therapy at Cygnet Hospital, a 65 bed private hospital specialising in providing care for individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

In June 2014 Paula relocated to Australia to take up the role of Head of Creative Therapies at the Ikon Institute, and in 2016 moved into the role of Coordinator for the Graduate Program in Counselling and Psychotherapy at the University of Adelaide, where she currently lectures in Expressive Therapies.

Paula’s previous clinical experience includes CAMHS, children’s residential units, fostering and adoption services, adult psychiatry, adult forensic settings and establishing creative therapy services in mainstream education. She has worked extensively with the asylum seeking and refugee community and clients whose primarily mode of communication is not spoken language.

Paula completed her Art Psychotherapy MA at Leeds Metropolitan University and Postgraduate Diploma in Art Psychotherapy at Latrobe University in Melbourne. She also holds a Bachelor in Fine Art from Kingston University in the UK, and is currently continuing her studies at Doctorate level.

Her professional training has included studying Family Systems and Family Therapy, Emotional Freedom Technique, EMDR and CBT and she is an approved clinical supervisor.

Paula balances her professional life by painting and cycling.

Paula Gillespie-Fotheringham

How can we help?

Wondering how you can access Expressive Therapy for your child? Get in touch and we would be happy to help.

Phone: 0451 616 152

NDIS Registered Provider

Registered provider

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