SAIF's Child Play Therapy Pilot Program
Charlie's Story is what gave us the inspiration to raise funds for a child play therapy program at SAIF. We have long known the need for such a program existed, but we just couldn't find the funding to make it a reality. Thanks in part to the generosity of our local community, we are now able to offer this program to children residing in our service area.
Our children's counselling program is based on the play therapy model where children express themselves and their feelings through play. This is short term counselling, provided free of charge, to support and provide play based interventions for children who have been impacted by family violence and abuse. We offer this program to children (ages 5-11) of all genders. In order to receive this service for your child, we do require that at least 1 parent/guardian participate in the program to work towards counselling goals together.
Our programs are open to residents of St Albert, Sturgeon County & the surrounding rural areas. If your child has been impacted by family violence or bullying, we're happy to talk with you.
Please note: not everyone is ready for our counselling programs. If your child is in crisis or needs emergency mental health support, please call 911 or a 24/7 mental health service. Please note, our intakes are not conducted everyday. When you call or email us, we schedule a 15 minute pre-screen over the phone. If counselling services are requested & appropriate for your situation, we'll schedule an in-person 1 hour intake with our child play therapist.
We accept referrals from other organizations, medical professionals as well as individuals calling about services for their own children.
Because of the nature of play based therapy, sessions need to be done in person. We do have strict Covid-19 protocols in place and intakes are being conducted now. Unfortunately, we cannot offer this service via video or over the phone.
"Play is your child's most natural form of expression" - anonymous
We have a 2 step intake process. We start with a phone consult to ask about your child, your particular situation and to answer any questions. If your child is eligible, we schedule an in person intake to ensure your child will be able to benefit from the services we provide, and offer referrals for local supports when appropriate, Spaces are limited and there is no guarantee that all children who go through our intake process will be able to receive child play therapy with us.
It is critical that at least 1 parent/ guardian participates in the program to help their child meet counselling goals. This may involve additional in person sessions with parents as well as 'homework' including identifying behaviours, trying play based interventions, and supporting their child's therapy in other ways in the home. This is a mandatory aspect of the program and if parents are unable to commit, we will not be able to offer this service to your child.
Short Term Counselling
We are able to offer a max. of 10 sessions of play based therapy. Often, parents would like additional supports and we do our best to recommend other professionals who may be able to offer similar services to support your child (given that few agencies provide free play therapy, referrals may often be private and will require paying out of pocket). Our therapists are not available for private services (as outlined in our counselling agreements).
"It is an opportunity which is given to the child to 'play out' his feelings and problems just as, in certain types of adult therapy, an individual 'talks out' his difficulties." V. Axline
We do not accept
With a small team, we are simply not staffed to meet the needs of drop in clients. Please call or email to make an appointment with an intake worker. Thank you.
Appointments to access our services
The best and most direct way to access our services is to call or email us. We do require informed consent which we share with you during our intake process.
Who can we offer services to?
We serve residents of St Albert, Sturgeon County, Parkland County & the surrounding areas. At this time, we are not able to provide counselling services to Edmonton , Spruce Grove, & Stony Plain residents.