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Little Hearts Play Therapy

Play and Creative Arts Therapy for children

Little Hearts Playtherapy provides creative child led therapeutic interventions for young people who are struggling emotionally, socially, behaviourally and  personally.

play therapy
creative play therapy

The Therapeutic Sessions

How much does it cost? How many sessions are recommended? What is your cancellation policy?

Sessions are 45 minutes, and it is decided at the intake meeting how many sessions your child may need. Usually a block of at least 12 sessions is recommended,  but this is flexible according to needs, and  is discussed at a review with the parent after the 7th session. I charge 60 euros for each session payable after each session. If less than 24 hours notice of non attendance is given,there is a 30 euro fee for the missed session.

A variety of creative methods are used during sessions. The child can work through music, movement, dance, drama, puppetry, clay, sand play, art and crafts as well as creative visualisation, therapeutic story telling, relaxation and meditation exercises to process difficult feelings. Sessions are individual sessions,with child and therapist working together in the playtherapy room.

The hands of a child playing with a slime_edited_edited_edited_edited.jpg

About  Me

Deirdre Dunne play therapist

Accredited Play and Creative Arts Therapist

I hold a B Ed Hons Degree, a Post Graduate Cert in Therapeutic Play Level 9, a Post Graduate Diploma in Play and Creative Arts Therapy Level 9 (both from APAC and NUIG). I am on the  Register of  Play and Creative Arts Therapists that has been accredited by the Professional Standards Authority.

I also hold a Post Graduate Cert in Special Education from Mary I.

I have completed many in-service training courses on difficult behaviour ,sensory processing issues, sensory play, ASD, ADHD with the NCSE. I have been trained in The Incredible Years Programme and Zippy's friends social programme. I recently completed a Certificate in Neuro Dramatic Play with Dr. Sue Jennings, and now have achieved  my Diploma in Neuro Dramatic play, an attachment based play intervention.

I recently completed an introduction to DIR floortime. DIR floortime has become most widely known as an approach to support children with ASD.

I have been teaching 37 years, both in Special Education, and in mainstream classes.

I am a Certified PCAP practitioner. PCAP, or parent child attachment play helps parents to strengthen the relationship between themselves and their children through dedicated weekly play times to reduce emotional and behavioural challenges.

I have a passion for children's mental and emotional well-being, and am delighted to have the opportunity to work with children and their parents at Little Hearts.

I am constantly researching, upskilling and engaging in CPD to improve my service for my clients. As I am on the register of Play and Creative arts therapists managed by PTUK and accredited by the PSA I am committed to high professional standards, enhancing safety and delivering a better service. I am also on the accredited register of IPTCA and uphold the high standards of practice required by them.

I am passionate about being a play therapist and am very proud of the beautiful play therapy room that I have in Holycross.

I feel that it is very important to have open, constructive communication with client's parents and I operate a service where connection with the client's parent is very important in helping a child to work through his or her difficulty.

Please click on the Logos below to bring you to their web pages for more information.

messy play therapeutic


Neuroscience is the gateway into the future of playtherapy

Neural Plasticity

Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to grow and change in response to life challenges and experiences. The brain changes most during childhood. Play therapy builds new neural pathways by releasing chemicals in the brain. When a child is helped to think about their feelings anti-anxiety chemicals called GABA are released in the brain which help to modify trauma. Research has shown that the use of metaphor in Play therapy causes more brain centers to light up than any other form of human communication around emotions, which in turn builds new neural pathways.

The importance of neuroplasticity

The importance of neuroplasticity is paramount as it enables us to constantly develop and change our patterns of thinking and behaving to develop new skills, new abilities and new ways of responding to difficulties. Nerve cells actually respond to stimulation  by generating new tendrils which connect to other nerve cells, called synapses. This enables us to develop our capacity for learning, memory , flexible thinking and behaviour. As we record new experiences both good and bad, new neural pathways form in the brain. Through symbolic play and we can build and strengthen these pathways, and also assist the brain to release feel good chemicals which give a feeling of calm and well being.

 Play therapy has potential to create new neural pathways

Mirror neuron's in the brain help the child to mimic the therapist's nervous system so that they are enabled to regulate difficult feelings. The same mirror neurons help the child to gain a deeper understanding of himself or herself. Play is the work and language of the child and also is the primary language of the brain. The 'talking' part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, does not usually develop until we are in our mid twenties so talk therapies are not developmentally appropriate for children and teens. Play  therapy can help a child who is 'out of control' by calming the reptillian brain, so that logic, reasoning and reflection can begin to happen for the child.

nesting dolls play therapy

Who is Play Therapy for?

At Little Hearts Play Therapy, we aim to try to give your child strategies to cope with difficulties and challenges that they may face in life. Play Therapy can help with children experiencing the following

  • Low self esteem

  • anxiety

  • withdrawal

  • communication difficulties

  • bereavement/loss

  • separation/divorce

  • bullying or being bullied

  • trauma

  • illness

  • behaviour issues

  • anger

  • abuse

  • autism

  • attachment issues

  • ADHD

  • nightmares

Play Therapy uses a range of play and creative techniques to help your child work through any struggles he or she may be having. Children, like adults, experience many stresses which can affect their well-being. Unlike adults, children don't have the ability to say how they feel. Using the medium of play children can work through their difficulties using a mixture of directive and non directive ways. By being safely enabled to play out these feelings a child can 'bring them to the surface, get them out in the open, face them, learn to control them or ultimately abandon them'. Axline,1974

At Little Hearts Play Therapy our goal is to help your child to get to know his or her strengths and weaknesses, and to develop resilience and coping skills, in a safe, non- judgemental , supportive, nurturing space.

Welcome to our Instagram 

You will find lots of pictures information and video clips on our Instagram account. Have a look and see what's new.

Little hearts playtherapy

Child centered therapeutic support to children using creative modalities.

Hands on Slime play therapy

Contact Us

We’re here for you when you need us. Call us to schedule an appointment or use the contact form below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Galbertstown,Holycross, Co. Tipperary, Ireland


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sandtray play therapy
play therapy sand therapy

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What Did You Think?

Recent Client testimonial May 22

We recently requested Deirdre to offer her support and expertise for our two children as a result of a recent family trauma. Both children (aged 10 and 12) had experienced this bereavement from two very dirrerent perspectives. From the first meeting with Deirdre through to the exit meeting I can honestly say she worked in a truly empathetic,professional and fun manner, thus allowing the children to become so relaxed in her company and fun surroundings it enabled her to 'work her magic'.We had a review meeting at the half way point to discuss progress both at home and with her.Little by little over the weeks we started to see the light at the end of the tunnel where both children were able to communicate their fears and worries to us and use the tools she gave them to cope with those unexpected waves of grief....There was never a day when either child refused  to go to a session and it was lovely to see them leave each week 'full of beans'......The plate smashing was the best I'm told..we are so grateful that Deirdre was bale to identify and unlock those huge worries and fears they had at a time of great loss and to show how it can be communicated and worked through at home. Deirdre, you are a super star . We can't thank you enough.

My daughter has attended Deirdre over the past year for severe PTSD. Deirdre has helped her to overcome her fears after huge trauma in her life. She is now able to regulate herself when she becomes stressed or overwhelmed. Her confidence is finally coming back. When we started she wouldnt get out of the car to go into Deirdre, and now she runs in. It has become her favourite day of the week. Deirdre has been fantastic in supporting her through such a difficult time. I would highly recommend her services. 

My daughter started playtherapy over one year ago with Deirdre. She has enjoyed every second of it. My daughter has learned to control her emotions and feelings a lot better since starting. She has less meltdowns and has really grown in confidence and self esteem. She has become more independent and has settled a lot better in school with the tools Deirdre gave her. I also find her sleep has improved immensely. I would highly recommend her services.

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