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PLAY THERAPY FOR PRE-SCHOOL CHILDREN - back to top

 

Pre-schoolers often display unacceptable behavioural issues like hitting other children, choosing to be socially isolated from their peers or displaying emotional irregularities like temper tantrums, showing unwarranted fears and anxieties, or having bouts of crying. Teachers and parents alike are also often concerned about children displaying signs of learning difficulties. Poor socio-emotional development is yet another area of concern that interferes with the child’s Emotional Quotient (EQ) development and socialisation process. Parents are encouraged to seek early intervention in order to boost their child’s confidence and help him/her navigate pre-school.

CHALLENGES OF PRE-SCHOOL CHILDREN:

 Developmental issues: Learning difficulties, dyslexia and autism.

 Adjustment issues: Unhappy to go to school, complaints of stomach headache.

 Specific socialisation issues: Isolated play, no friends at school.

 Interpersonal Issues: sibling rivalry, non-friendly towards classmates.

 Wider socialisation issues: Difficulty adjusting to a new culture, environment or country

 Emotional distress: Teary or easily cries over small things at home / class.

 Separation anxiety: Fearful in class or whenever separated from parents.

 Self -esteem: Inability to speak up due to low self-confidence.

 Behavioural issues: Temper tantrums, diffused aggression and poor conduct.

 Academic Issues: Poor retention, dislikes doing work, lacks motivation, difficulty following instructions of teachers.

 Special Needs: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD); Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder(ADHD); Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Global Developmental Delays (GDD).

Trained and accredited therapists at and AppleTree Counselling adopt art, play, symbol work and sand-tray therapy to address pre-schooler’s socio-emotional & developmental challenges. Other forms of expressive therapies includes clay/paint/drawing/Mandela art, while a specific form of body movement therapy is used for trauma work. Play therapy is soothing for children as it creates an atmosphere of safety which then allows them to express their greatest fears, emotional distress, unhappiness or sadness in a way that is non-threatening for them.

COUNSELLING FOR CHILDREN, YOUTH & FAMILIES - back to top

 

Many children display adjustment challenges when they transit from kindergarten to primary school. Some show signs of separation anxiety, others fear class assessments and a small group of children experience bullying. The good news is that most children eventually settle down, make friends, have fun with sports and social activities. In general, when children experience positive experiences in school they are happier while negative experiences leads to rejection and an inferiority complex. The core focus of therapy for these group of children is to help them focus and build on their positive experiences, while helping them learn strategies to cope with negative experiences.

 

CHILDREN WHO ARE DIFFERENTLY ABLED ARE SPECIAL:

 Physical Disabilities: Poor Vision or hearing impairment, can learn as well.

 Autism: Social and emotional behaviours can be learnt.

 Dyslexia: Intelligent children with reading and writing disability.

 Global Developmental Delays: Delayed milestones does not mean cannot learn.

 Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) lacks concentrating abilities and are often restless & over-active but they can learn relaxation techniques to help them focus.

PRIMARY SCHOOL CHALLENGES:

 Adjustment issues: Feels unsettled & complaints of headache, stomach ache.

 Emotional distress: Anxious, teary and upset over small matters.

 Bullying: Nightmares or disturbed sleep and sudden temper outbursts.

 Social challenges: Withdrawn, aloof with peers and complains of no friends.

 Anger Management: May stem from sibling rivalry, jealousy, stress.

 Lacks motivation: Shows disinterest in school/home work with poor results.

 

SECONDARY SCHOOL CHALLENGES:

Today's adolescents experience many challenges as they go through situational vulnerabilities like identity building versus role confusion, transitional adjustment to secondary school, peer pressures and the demands of socialising while dealing with the rigour of the academics and managing the expectations of parents. These challenges can manifest in at-risk behaviours such as smoking, truancy, lack of motivation and poor grades conduct.

Common challenges of youths during adolescence:

 Growing pains: Feeling of apathy, listlessness and unhappiness.

 Self-image: Poor self-worth, self-esteem and confidence.

 Generalised fears: Due to bullying or deliberate social isolation by peers.

 Socialisation: Inter-personal challenges (not liked by peers).

 Body dysmorphic disorder: Image dissatisfactions that can lead to eating disorders.

 High risk: Self-harm, suicidal tendencies /ideations resulting in unhealthy coping mechanisms.

 Boy-Girl Relationships: Sex and sexuality boundaries surrounding relationships.

 Mental Health: Stress, anxiety, mild depression with the presence of mood disorders.

 Performance: Academic challenges due to the lack of motivation and focus.

 Screen Addictions: Gaming and over-usage of phone time affecting focus and academic achievements.

 

PARENTING & FAMILY THERAPY: 

Family systems are complex as each family has a differential view about lifestyles, cultural values and practices. It becomes more complicated when children come into the picture as parents have to juggle work as well as a whole new array of parenting challenges.

Parenting & family challenges:

 Boundary setting: Parents are confused about the limit on partying, late nights.

 Additions: Parents worry about access phone/computer/iPad usage, smoking, gaming.

 Conflicted parenting: Parents fighting as teens behave badly.

 Money matters: Settling pocket money issues.

 Communication: No or limited communication from teens.

 Studies: Frustrated with the youths attitude towards studies.

 Career Path: Different views about future / education pathways.

 

To help individuals overcome these challenges, AppleTree Counselling will work with clients to formulate effective and implementable solutions. The techniques used in therapy are drawn from Family systemic therapy (FST), Integrated family therapy (IST) and Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). Using these approaches we can deliver effective outcomes for the individuals and family members( by helping them to identify the cause of  distress, strengthen their relationship and heighten mutual understanding.

COUNSELLING FOR YOUNG ADULTS AND INDIVIDUALS - back to top

 

Enlistment in the army, pursuing polytechnic / university education are big leaps that young adults have to face as they enter their late teens and early adulthood. During this period they often start thinking about their careers and job opportunities as some may even contemplate marriage or starting a family. Some young adults even begin physical intimate relationship as they get confused between love and sex, while others worry about abandonment, sexual satisfaction, relationship sustenance, work and financial stability.

Common challenges of young adults:

 High-risk behaviour: Suicidal ideations / attempts and self-harming behaviours.

 Mental health issues: Anxiety, mild depression with the presence of mood disorders.

 Irregular mood : General feeling of apathy, listlessness and unhappiness.

 Relationship issues: Break-ups, infidelity, lack of self-worth, esteem and confidence.

 Generalised fears: About results, relationships, studies, job & future.

 Academic stress: Assignment overload & poor time management,

 Socialisation: Inability to form and sustain meaningful relationships with friends / partners.

 Self-image: Body dissatisfactions resulting in self-harm and eating disorders.

 Sex & sexuality: Managing sexual relations and its consequences.

 Addiction: Drinking, smoking, excess gaming affecting general well-being.

 

Such factors often make young adults feel overwhelmed, insecure and confused as their own self-doubt may reign over their sense of self confidence and self-efficacy. At AppleTree Counselling, the therapists are trained to support both locals and expatriate as they make life's transitions and assume various responsibilities that come with being a young adult.

COUPLE AND MARITAL THERAPY - back to top

 

Marriage is the oldest institution - common to all societies, cultures and the world! However, marriage is a very complex journey that spans over many different phases of ones life (e.g. children, parenting, job, health issues or even relocation to a new country).

Challenges that couples face:

 Intermittent conflict: Disagreements over issues like household chores, finances, managing in-laws, when to have children.

 Intimacy matters: Feeling emotionally disconnected from your partner, sexual intimacy issues after menopause/andropause.

 Unmet personal goals: Feeling restricted in chasing own personal goals such as new job opportunities/meeting your own friends/taking time for yourself.

 Impact of parenthood on marriage: Feeling burdened by children, conflict arising from differing parental styles and goals.

 Violence: Emotional or physical abuse by either a husband or wife.

 

If you are feeling overwhelmed or tired by the demands of marriage, it may be time to give a boost to enhance and strengthen your marriage. Our trained marital and couple therapists can help you communicate your vulnerabilities and expectations in a safe space, and in doing so, inject new dimensions and strength into your marriage.

MARRIAGE PREPRATION:

Irrespective of the different traditions and cultural connotations given to marriage, it remains a fundamentally complex institution. Before entering into a marriage many couple ponder and struggle with the unknown, often wondering ‘should I get marry or not?’. There is no straightforward answer to this question because only the couple themselves will be able to make that call for themselves.

Potential issues in the lead up to marriage:

 Misaligned expectations: Issues around the wedding and living arrangement, roles and responsibilities after marriage, managing in-laws.

 Unmet personal goals: Feeling restricted in chasing own personal goals such as new job opportunities/meeting your own friends/taking time for yourself.

 Managing competing demands: Planning for a wedding/marriage while experiencing high levels of work/ family stress

 Managing one another’s family expectations: Regarding parenthood and social norms especially for those planning to marry outside their ethnicity or even country.

COUPLES IN TENSION: DIVORCING & DIVORCED COUPLES

Divorces are becoming common as more couples are finding it hard to remain in a marital union. Tensions in marriages can stem from a fixed source (e.g. infidelity) or a more diffuse and complex source (feeling overlooked as a stay at home mother). It must be noted that while some couples experience marital tension immediately after marriage, others remain happily married for a good number of years. However when they do start drifting apart, partners begin to feel unappreciated, financially burdened and disrespected.

MARRIAGE ON THE ROCKS

 Infidelity: One or both partners are having an extra-marital affair

 Estranged relationship: Usually brought on by excessive arguing and emotional violence.

 Disagreements about parenting: Having differing goals and styles of parenting, may result in children “using” one parent to manipulate the other.

 Pressure from in-laws: Undue pressure to care for them/produce grandchildren, financially contribute to them.

 Blame Game: Couple blame each other about financial issues, children’s issues,

 Addiction: Drinking, gambling, smoking or sexual addictions.

 Domestic abuse: Physical, emotional, verbal and/or sexual violence

 Financial and Power Imbalance: Where one partner feels like they need to be subservient to the “stronger” partner.

 

At AppleTree Counselling we adopt a holistic approach when working with divorce or divorcing couples. Besides focusing on the couple’s challenges, great consideration is given to the mental and emotional well-being of the voiceless children who are often most impacted by their parents' on-going conflict or divorce. We prioritise helping divorcing parents find a solution that will deliver the best outcome for the children. Depending on the families need, we facilitate mediation or individual counselling alongside couples therapy. Please note that couples can seek marital therapy even if they are exploring the possibility of reconciliation or simply because they want to work on improving their relationship after a divorce, for the sake of their children. A stronger union between parents will mean a better physical, emotional and mental health for themselves, as well as their children and the wider families.

 
 
 
 

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