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Deciding what to do if a child has an emotional or behaviour problem

The following guidelines may help you to decide what to do if you know a child or children with emotional, behaviour or mental health problems.

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If you are responsible for a child as a parent or carer
If you work with children
If you manage a school, home, care centre etc


Parent or carer

Does the child have an emotional or behaviour problem? No - allow the child plenty of time to play
Yes - how severe are the problem(s)?
Slight or Mild Is the child under 3?

Between 3 and 14?
Consider filial play

Consider therapeutic play or play therapy
Moderate or a number of mild problems Over 3 years?

Over 14 years?
Consider play therapy

Consider counselling - talking therapy
Severe Over 3 years and under 14 See your doctor for a referral to a child psychotherapist etc


If you work with children

Do you wish to acquire therapeutic play skills or become a play therapist? Personal Qualities Required

Look at the PTI Career Development Map

Look at details of approved courses

Consider becoming a member of PTUK

If you manage a school, home, social services or a centre for children?

If you work in: Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom or the United States contact your local
PTI organisation. For other countries contact the PTI Head Office for advice.

Ask PTI about ways of introducing or extending an emotional support service to supplement academic and behaviour support services. See also professional support services.

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