Kirsten McLeod – Partner / Child Counsellor and Well-being Coach for children

B.Soc.Sc (Cum Laude) (UFS) Honors Degree (Psychology) (UCT) Mindfulness Teacher (ChilledoutChild)

Kirsten McLeod

My Background

I completed my Honours Degree in Psychology at The University of Cape Town in 2013. I studied my Undergraduate Degree in Social Sciences at the University of the Free State. I have also completed an advanced certificate in counselling through the South African Colllege of Applied Psychology as well as Advanced Play Therapy Courses through Dr. Hannie Schoemann, who has a Phd in the field.

 

I have been in private practice for the last 4 years, focussing specifically on the young child between the ages of 5 to 12 years old at Foundations for life in Plumstead. Previously, I worked as a Primary School Counsellor for 2 years. I am currently working in private practice and within schools supporting the emotional well-being of children, families and teachers. I help children unpack their feelings world and develop a greater self-awareness. Children learn that feelings are visitors that come and go. When children are taught that all feelings are important they begin to form a different relationship with their feelings. They learn that they are not their feelings and discover who they really are. Through this process children (and parents) learn to become less reactive and more conscious of whats going on within and around them, allowing for greater understanding. An opportunity then arises to reframe challenging situations and begin to see clearly as to what a more skilful and compassionate response is for themselves and/or towards others. Children begin to feel empowered and more accepting of themselves helping them grow into more emotionally intelligent individuals.

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My Interests

I specialise in play therapy techniques for children and family counselling. Mindfulness is an integral part of my daily living and counselling process. Mindfulness helps us to slow down, quiet our minds and external noise so that we aren’t pulled away by distractions. We develop the capacity to enjoy the here and now, to be present, to be alive and live authentically. I am also a social & emotional skills practitioner, teaching children EQ skills.

My Services

PLAY THERAPY / COUNSELLING FOR CHILDREN

I specialise in play therapy techniques for children. Play Therapy is thought to be one of the most beneficial ways of helping children who are experiencing emotional or behavioural challenges. I provide children with a warm and safe place to express and explore their inner worlds through play and toys. Exploring coping mechanisms for them to access when they need it the most.

 

My style of counselling is a combination of Gestalt Therapy and Person-Centered approach.

 

-Gestalt focuses attention on our senses, the body and emotions. The approach is very natural with children as it helps them become aware of what they are doing, how they are doing it and how they can change behaviour.

-The Person-Centered approach aims to help the child explore their own “narrative” and experiences in a way that makes sense to them. An adaptable response to each child’s way of exploring is important to me as is gives us a chance to form a real relationship and work through play.

 

PARENT SUPPORT

There is a growing need for parents to gain information, tools and resources on coping with the various demands of parenting their children. I offer support and guidance to empower and educate parents in order that they can manage day to day challenges and understand their child’s social, emotional and cognitive developmental stage. Parents and carers are vital to the process of counselling as it has a positive effect on the outcome but also reinforces family relationships and the role of the parent or carer.

 

SOCIAL & EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING GROUPS

This programme provides children with a warm and nurturing environment that teaches them how to cope with life’s obstacles, foster healthy and positive relationships and boosts self-esteem. The development of social and emotional skills promote’s children’s ability to have an awareness of their feelings, cope with difficulties, manage themselves, relate to others and resolve conflict. In this way teaching children these practical skills also promotes resilience – the capacity to cope in spite of the negative things that happen through life. When children are taught specific strategies for recognising and responding to feelings, thinking through challenging situations and communicating effectively, they are less likely to act out frustrations. By working in a group setting children develop a sense of belonging and discover they aren’t alone and this can be very empowering. Group counselling enables them to share and learn from each other through social interaction. Thus, group work can serve as a supportive medium for a child. This programme is 8 weeks.