About me How I work Who I work with Get in touch

I put children first because early childhood growing-up experiences impact on and influence who we are as adults.

Providing space, time and playful encounter to explore together what it means to be oneself, thinking together when developmental pathways feel blocked or hard and finding ways to feel better.

Offering sensitive, safe, warm attachment-based presence to feel properly seen and heard who they are on the inside.

Working relationally, with a developmentally informed and trauma aware approach using empathy, understanding and safety where feelings can be felt, worries can be listened to and troubles can be talked about.

Who I am

I am an integrative, trauma informed Child Psychotherapist, that means I adapt my way of working to each child’s specific needs and ways of being.

For example...

Children can feel troubled inside which negatively affects school experiences. I focus on how children and young people feel about and understand themselves, how acceptance feels, how it feels to be acknowledged to help children feel happier, better about themselves and more able to develop, grow and learn.

Difference and often subtle aspects of being unique is human. I provide a quiet, safe space with the possibility of using a variety of resources for young people to explore, grow and develop understandings of themselves, significant others and the world around them.

I have a supervisor with whom I discuss my work, and I regularly attend workshops and training to further develop my practice

How I work

A child’s experience in the room is their own. The space becomes their unique space where each young person choses to be as they feel they need to be.

For example...

Drawing, fiddling, sand tray play, combining materials, ball-play, clay, plasticine, Playdoh or simply talking, whatever helps to create feelings of openness and rightness in simply being.

I offer experiences of simply being in therapeutic relationship with another. A fluid, caring, low-key being together where the past is remembered and understood with helpful, comforting understanding and thoughts about outside relationships.

Areas of Expertise

How Therapy Starts

An initial meeting to understand worries and concerns with parents, carers, SENCO, or teacher, helps all parties explore the suitability, to understand and think through the child’s presenting needs and difficulties.

A parental consent form is signed and parameters around safe-guarding and child protection are discussed and agreed.

Sessions are held initially over three consecutive weeks for everyone involved to get a feel of ongoing therapy. The assessment period is time to sense if therapy is suitable for the child or whether the nature of the child’s needs and difficulties require differential treatment and risk management. The child too has time and space to meet and get to know me, become used the room and parents have time to think about whether they feel therapy is suitable for their child.

All parties involved including the child (where appropriate) participate collaboratively to decide the therapeutic plan. For example, the child’s presenting needs, everyone’s role within the plan, hoped for outcomes and outcome expectations.

Maintaining a commitment to the regularity of therapy is important. Essential aspects of a good therapeutic outcome are regular, evenly spaced, time-bounded sessions with explicit discussions around goals, clear limits and endings.

Who I work with

Children and Young People

I regard psychotherapy as a way of looking after ourselves, much in the same way we might do exercise for our physical health.

All development is on a continuum, with more support and understanding at times useful in helping the young person, their family and school come to a clearer understanding of what might be going on.

I work in partnership (if necessary) with both the young person and the school to try to understand underlying reasons for behaviour and state of mind changes. Collaboratively we develop new ways of expressing difficult thoughts and feelings and build resilience and self-esteem.

The teenage years can be a difficult time for the young person and their parents, due to intense physiological and psychological changes. Communication can dramatically reduce and as a result both parties can feel stuck. I work with feelings of low self-worth, obsessive thoughts and behaviours, the onset of eating disorders and self-harming. There are a myriad of ways that adolescents can demonstrate that they are struggling and it is my passion to help young people discover, perhaps for the first time, a true sense of who they are.

I support young people to develop skills and coping strategies for the future. It is important to note that a young person needs to want to take the first step towards change in order for a therapeutic relationship to work. Sometimes whilst waiting for this to happen, play-based engagement work can be a helpful first step towards trusting the process.

Schools

I offer two types of therapies within the school environment:

One-to-one therapeutic counselling

A self-employed peripatetic counselling service, coming into schools on an agreed, regular basis for one-to-one therapy with children and young people through either school or parent or a child’s self-referral.

Confidential state of mind assessments, multi-disciplinary reports and transition letters where needed.

Where necessary I work cross-sector across the community.

Group Therapy

Group therapy for up to 8 children dealing with low mood, anxiety and behavioural difficulties, where children participate relationally to develop the capacity to auto regulate emotional states and think about worries and hurt in themselves in relation to others.

I believe the key to group therapy is a feeling of safety and playful interaction between group members and the therapist. Where the therapeutic goal is co-created, evidence informed, with focused outcomes.

Testimonial

“Thank you so very much for all you have done for our most vulnerable children over the time you have been with us. You have always been so prepared to go above and beyond for them which shows how dedicated you are to the work you do. We have been so lucky to have you.”
Primary School, Trowbridge

Parents

Reflective, nurturing and consistent relationships have a significant impact on children’s self-esteem and confidence with positive impact on learning, developing relationships, building resilience and being happy.

Shared connection around the child is key to engendering feelings of safety where children can feel properly seen and heard who they are on the inside and feel thought about, safe and understood. To that end I try to humbly hold understanding of the child’s thoughts and feelings; to balance therapeutic confidentiality with linked-up, safe support.

Openly communicating and working with parents, carers, teachers and outside organisations in trust to ensure developmental needs are sensitively understood. As an integral part of my therapeutic provision for each child I offer one to one parent consultations on an individually agreed basis.

Testimonial

“I want to report how ecstatic my daughter was at having someone to talk to who ‘really understands’ and ‘really, REALLY cares’ and who told her things that she’d 'been waiting her whole life to hear’. It was incredibly moving to hear, and so positive. I am very grateful for the ‘magic’ you worked.”
Parent, Bath

Possible outcomes for children and Young People

To create the possibility of shift from shared outside understandings of their needs to internalising their own ability to validate themselves as unique with their own needs.

To trust they will be listened to, thought about and acknowledged by loved ones and key workers.

To nurture a sense of a developing self with meaning and agency.

To begin building a personalised story of themselves and their experiences.

If you have a concern about a child or young person please get in touch.

Catherine Van de Steen

Openings
Centre for Counselling & Psychotherapy
2 Princes Buildings
George Street
Bath
BA1 2ED

Email: childtherapy@icloud.com

Call: 07966 429 599

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