Safeguarding/Play Therapy

Safeguarding/Play Therapy: Play, the Creative Arts and Communication: Writing

This has been collated from information from the SCIE (Social Care Institute for Excellence) learning course that I have taken; this information has been re: written in my own words
so copyright has not been infringed.

I wanted to share it with you all so we can all learn effectively and give the best care we can give.

Written word can be used by social workers, teachers or carers in an effective number of ways with children and young people, which can help and aid their emotional development when dealing with complex feelings that they may not be able to communicate clearly through speech. This is relevant in the cases of safeguarding children, supporting them – this follows on from the first blog of

Safeguarding/Play Therapy: Play, the Creative Arts and Communication


This may be safer for some children and young people to communicate their feelings in written form rather than talking. There are a range of ways workers can support them in this:

Key points:

  • Allow them to express their feelings without them worrying about the end production
  • Possibly aid them with important parts to add to their poem or story yet remember not to interfere too much
  • Listen to their views and help if they need help; but most importantly you must be there to listen
  • Respect their work and views

This link may help to understand further:



Diaries have been around for years! I sure remember my diary and all the information, thoughts and feelings I wrote in there… It is a great tool for children to feel like they can express their feelings in a safe, personal way without fear of judgement.

Practitioners or carers could suggest the child to have their own personal book that they can keep in their room in a private place or if it has a lock and key even better!

It gives them the confidence to have their own space where they can let loose and be themselves; giving their intimate feelings and emotions time of day instead of letting them manifest.

If they are more computer literate and at a suitable age to understand the risks of putting personal information onto the world wide web then possibly a blog may be a good, modern and easy method for them to use.



Writing their own life story

This is a great way for children to make sense of events within their life and also encourages them to self reflect and to possible start to order their life

The use of written word acts as an outlet for their thoughts and helps shape and structure these feelings – something that can be very helpful in a world that is so unstructured and blurry.

The use of writing their own life story can aid them to relive difficult experiences with a more detached view and they can express their opinions and thoughts that at the time may have been too difficult to comprehend or too difficult to voice at the time.

From this a more positive idea of the self can be constructed and they can come to terms with situations and when used with visual imagery and illustrations this can deepen the understanding and development of the child.



Poetry has some bad press with young children I think; mostly because it is seen as a difficult and almost pretentious art.

Instead as practitioners we need to open the realms of poetry and discuss with children that the expectations of poetry and the norms associated do not have to be achieved to create a meaningful and beautiful piece of work.

It is much simpler to create a poem when the constraints associated with pattern and rhyme are removed.

By encouraging a child to think of words they enjoy and associate with then the rest can flow…

Children should understand that a poem can express all emotions, all feelings and does not need to have a solid outcome like a story – leaving it open for interpretation and any possible ending – something that children within care can associate with.



As practitioners we don’t just need to ask children to write stories or poems to achieve a significant emotional response. Instead by using stories as an illustration of events can also be a great way to connect with and allows children to understand that they might not be alone within their situations

It is a great tool for those children who may be too young to understand difficult experiences or when being told something that may distress them (e.g. going into care)

By exploring themselves through characters that have already been defined – it can allow the child to experience their emotions within a safe environment and can help them work through their difficult feelings.

Using books, films, soaps or computer games which all hold story lines and characters are good forms of resources

This link may help to understand further:



This is where there are books that are written about specific issues such as bullying or racism allows children to enter the books world and understand the characters by associating themselves with the characters. The symbolism used with Bibliotherapy can cause children to gain a deeper understanding of situations and with this understanding, questions and conversations can arise as they want to make connections with their own world.

This link may help to understand further:


Fairy Stories

Fairy stories are another good source of characters and situations which are metaphors for many universal aspects of human experience. Children find it easy to empathise or identify with, or express negative feelings towards, polarised archetypal characters (hero/villain)

This link may help to understand further:


Personalised Story

Sometimes it is impossible to find a story that matches a childs experiences and so this is where we need to write a story for them so that they can process this new information or situation they are in. A child will also feel very special that they have a book written about or for them and this can aid their self esteem and confidence issues they may have.

When writing this story, the intended audience must be considered and so it should be engaging, special and be in a format that the child can keep it safe and private. The use of drawings and illustrations make it more personal and by reading the story through with the child first before letting them read it by themselves, you can highlight the themes and thoughts they may feel.

This link may help to understand further:



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