Name: Lydia Farley
Professional Body: PTUK (www.playtherapy.org.uk)
Date of Professional Qualifications: Postgraduate Diploma in Practice Based Play Therapy 2009, Clinical Supervisor 2011
Previous Profession: Primary School Teacher, (13 years experience)
Other Qualifications: BEd (Hons) Primary Education, Postgraduate Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills, Theraplay Practitioner, StoryPlay Practitioner
Based: Mid Cornwall
I come from an Expressive and Creative Arts background, studying at Arts Education Trust in London, prior to moving to Cornwall, many moons ago. My earliest work with children was through Dance, Drama and Music workshops for Pre-school children in the Cornwall Dance Centres. I went on to train to teach primary aged children at Marjon in Plymouth, graduating with Bed (Hons). Since then I have taught primary aged children in mainstream and independent schools, mostly Early Years, here in Cornwall and also Hampshire for over 13 years.
During my time teaching in Hampshire I began my training as a Play Therapist. I felt I needed to find ways to support those children in my class that were struggling emotionally with resulting behavioural difficulties, halting their ability to learn in the classroom. I completed the Post Graduate Diploma in Practice Based Play Therapy in 2009, training through the Academy of Play and Child Psychotherapy, the training body of Play Therapy UK and began practising independently in schools across Cornwall.
At that time little was known about play therapy down here, so it was my passion to spread the word. I continued my training with APAC as a Clinical Supervisor so that I could support trainees, moving towards my aim to be able to train Play Therapists here in Cornwall; whilst the training was well established ‘up country’ there was nothing down here. In 2015 the first Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills, the first part of the MA in Practice Based Play Therapy began and my role as a Course Director for APAC was established here in Cornwall. Since then I have taught 3 Certificate in Cornwall and 2 in Bristol, currently I am teaching a 4th down here. I am pleased to be able to say that in 2017 the further Diploma training began with my colleague Kate Macairt and we now have several newly qualifying Practice Based Play Therapist across Cornwall with over 200 clinical hours behind each one of them.
Regarding my own practice, which is my passion, I didn’t believe you should teach therapeutic play skills, unless you are practicing at the same time and whilst I moved away from teaching in mainstream schools and colleges, my own practice gathered momentum and continues.
During the last 5 years I have worked in post-adoption support, with a number of adopted, fostered and children under special guardianships who have experienced high levels of trauma and abuse. During this time, I continued my professional development by offering Theraplay and StoryPlay to my skills to provide a broader spectrum of support alongside Play Therapy. These children and thereby their families, have found solace in the safety of the sessions, within a trusting relationship, allowing themselves to fully explore and achieve greater understanding of early life experiences, helping them to develop positive relationships with their permanent families and their peer groups, this can be a long journey, but possible given the time they need and the right support for those living their lives together with them.
Play Therapy ‘……offers the individual to be himself, to learn to know himself, to chart his own course openly and above board - to rotate the kaleidoscope so to speak, that he may form a more satisfactory design for living.’ Axline