Children’s and Young People’s Therapy Services

We believe that every child and young person has the capacity to recover from the impact of challenging or negative life experiences; to grow, develop and achieve their full potential. We provide a bespoke therapeutic package based on the individual needs of each child and young person.

“You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter that you think.”
A.A. Milne – Winnie the Pooh


Children’s and Young People’s (CYP) Services at The Retreat

Who is the service for?

We provide a bespoke therapeutic support for children and young people who may have experienced a range of difficulties:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression or low mood
  • Traumatic experiences
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Bereavement
  • Eating difficulties
  • Issues with confidence and self-esteem
  • Stress
  • Panic attacks
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Other issues relating to the child/ young persons to wellbeing


What do we offer?

We offer different based approaches depending on the age, individual needs and choices made by each individual child and young person and their family.

We begin with an assessment session to consider the therapeutic needs of the child/ young person and then decide which approach or combination of approaches is the best way to help.

Our approach is child-centred. This means we support the child/ young person to feel safe and comfortable in their sessions and we help them explore the best way for them to communicate on their therapeutic journey. Some young people may want to simply talk, others my want to use art materials, drama, story or music. Young children usually love to use a range of therapeutic play resources.

For further information about therapeutic approaches that may be used, please scroll further down the page.

The Therapeutic use of Play

 For many young children the natural way for them to communicate about their feelings and experiences is through play rather than words. This helps the child feel understood by their therapist and ultimately their parent/carer. There are different types of play. Sensory play helps help children integrate sensory information; it can be both calming for children who are hyperactive and energising for children who may be quiet and withdrawn. In Projective play children project their emotions onto objects such as puppets, dolls house figures or other play objects such as wizards, dinosaurs, or fairies. Symbolic play helps children create stories in which they are able to explore and process their experiences and create new beginnings in their lives. Sometimes a child’s developmental capacity to play be interrupted or a child who has experienced trauma can present with traumatic or ‘stuck’ play. The therapist interacts with the child though the medium of play in order to meet their particular individual therapeutic needs.

Creative Arts Therapies

We include interventions from art therapy, drama therapy and the use of story. Many young people find when they use artwork, drama, working with stories, song lyrics or poems they can express themselves better than talking alone. Sometimes people may not have the words to communicate or make sense of their experiences. Creative arts therapies can be a way of processing difficult or traumatic experiences.

Everyone if different. We want to help young people feel comfortable, make choices, and find their voice. We use visual Emotions and Relationships cards specifically designed for young people to help them reflect on key emotional and relational experiences in their lives, how they see themselves now and in the future.

Sandtray Therapy

Sandtray therapy is for people of all ages – children, young people and adults. It involves a tray of sand and a choice from a range of sandtray miniatures for the person to place in the sand. The scene created acts as a symbolic representation or self-refection of their person’s life and allows them to become aware of and explore different parts of themselves, their reflections, conflicts, challenges, to overcome obstacles and gain an understanding and acceptance of themselves.

There are different sandtray miniatures for people of different ages. For children the miniatures include people figures, fantasy figures, animals, vehicles, natural world miniatures (eg trees stones and shells,) buildings and fences.  

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Techniques

CBT provides a useful way for children and young people to manage symptoms of anxiety, panic attacks and low mood. It includes learning breathing and relaxation techniques to manage difficult emotions.

This approach helps children and young people who may have developed unhelpful thinking patterns and it enables them to form constructive and realistic ways of thinking. It tends to be goal orientated and there are usually worksheets and tasks to be completed in between sessions.

Parent-Child Therapy

Some children and young people experience problems that are related to earlier experiences in their lives and how this has impacted on their relationship with their parent/ carer. Sometimes people have difficulty regulating their emotions and may feel hurt, anger, or sadness which they communicate externally through their behaviour or internally by withdrawing.

Parent – child therapy involves the child and the parent/ carer each having individual therapy sessions with their therapist to assess their needs and plan tailored therapeutic interventions. For young children we use interactional play activities between the child and therapist to help the child manage their emotions. The therapist can then help the parent/ carer use these interactional play activities with their child and think about other therapeutic interventions to meet their child’s needs. Joint therapy sessions for the child and parent/ carer together to help them interact, communicate and develop their relationship.

Make an enquiry for Children and Young People Services

To submit an enquiry, please download our Children and Young People referral form (PDF document) by clicking the button below

Therapeutic Support for Children and Young People

Download our Therapeutic Support for Children and Young People (4-17 years) document by clicking the button below

Childrens Mental Health Week (Lockdown Q&A)

In conjunction with Children’s Mental Health Week, our children & young people clinical lead, and child and adolescent psychotherapist Jennifer Bailey answers questions relating to lockdown problems for children.

The Children’s Services are not a crisis service. If you are worried that a child may be at risk of harm you can contact the NSPCC Helpline. Telephone 0808 800 5000. Email They have professional counsellors for help, advice and support. If the risk is urgent you will need to call the emergency services.  If you have urgent concerns about your child’s mental health, please contact your GP.

How To Access The Service

All therapies are accessed via our Initial Therapies Assessment. 

To refer yourself to our general therapies service, or just to talk to us about whether we can help, please call us on 0161 445 2099


Contact Us

Why choose The Retreat?


very satisfied with the service they received


Rated their therapy as very helpful

Helping People…

We support people and help them recover, using a wide range of different therapies and assessments.

We also diagnose people with autism, ADHD, eating disorders and psychological trauma.

What is Online/Video Therapy?

Our online therapy service allows us to offer help and support to people not able to access our York-based service face-to-face. Online therapy is a developing area for counselling and psychotherapy, and is also known as webcam counselling, e-therapy, web therapy, internet therapy and distance therapy. This service allows you all the benefits of face-to-face sessions with a therapist, via your personal computer and from the comfort of your home. 

Our skilled counsellors, psychologists and therapists will listen to you in a non-judgmental way in a private, confidential setting. They can help you with your current difficulties, past experiences or anxieties about your future with the aim of helping you improve the quality of your life and relationships.

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Any one of us can experience something that we find traumatic. This could be something recent that has happened to us or it could be from our earlier years. Either way, around 30% of people who experience something traumatic go on to develop symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Traumatic events can vary widely, from road traffic or other accidents, involvement in military combat, near death experiences, or some form of abuse as a child or adult.

PTSD is a name given to a range of symptoms that someone may experience. Often, when we experience a situation that is traumatic, we may at first feel quite numb, but later experience symptoms such as:

  • Nightmares or frightening thoughts
  • Re-living the traumatic event, often termed ‘flashbacks’
  • Avoidance of reminders of the event and of talking about it
  • Irritability or outbursts of anger
  • Hyper vigilance and alertness to possible danger
  • Problems with concentration and memory.

These are all symptoms of PTSD and are usually very distressing to us.

What is Autism?

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them.

It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways.

Some people with autism can live relatively independent lives, but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support.

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a group of behavioural symptoms that include:

  • Inattentiveness – most people with ADHD will have a short attention span and may be easily distracted.
  • Hyperactivity – there is likely to be some restlessness, fidgeting or overactivity. This can also lead to difficulties in sleeping and increased anxiety.
  • Impulsiveness – people with ADHD may do things without thought for the consequences, without very much reflection and without having a plan.

Some adults will have ADHD without it being diagnosed at a younger age. Those who are diagnosed at a young age are likely to continue to experience problems, though the symptoms might reduce.

What therapies do you offer?

We offer a range of individual and group therapies in line with NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidance. All of our therapists are highly trained, experienced and committed to continued professional development. Many therapists have training in more than one therapy modality, and are therefore in the best position to offer tailored, individualised therapy to meet your needs, drawing from the most up to date, evidence-based interventions.

Our therapies are usually delivered face to face, in relaxing therapy rooms. However if you are unable to come to The Retreat for your appointments, whatever the reason, we may be able to offer you an appointment via video link, using a secure platform called VSEE. 

How do I access the service?

All therapies are accessed via our Initial Therapies Assessment. 

To refer yourself to our general therapies service, or just to talk to us about whether we can help, please call us on 0161 445 2099.

Is the service confidential?

All our services are confidential, and our therapists and clinicians follow professional codes of conduct which include principles around confidentiality. This means we will not disclose information about you to a third party without your consent, unless we had significant concern for either your safety or the safety of someone else. We would make every attempt to discuss this with you if the situation arose.

Can I get involved in The Retreat?

We welcome representation from people who have finished their therapy or support within our services. There are a number of ways you can get involved, from joining us at information sharing events, helping us raise the profile of our services through the media, or consulting with us to help develop new service or recruit new staff. Please contact us for more information. 

Get in Touch. Talk to us.

If you need to speak to us, we are here to help. Our team of qualified therapists are at your service in person, or via a video call.

2 Palatine Rd, Withington, Manchester M20 3JA

Call Us: 0161 445 2099