Zainab was a 5 year old little girl who was struggling with self-expression. Zainab had selective mutism, and would only speak to adults that she really trusted. This made it difficult for her to take part in lessons and she would frequently hide under the table when an adult tried to talk to her directly.

It was obvious that Zainab was very mistrusting of adults due to her past experiences of having parents with substance abuse issues. It took Zainab a while working with her Therapist before she felt ready and able to come to her Play & Creative Arts Therapy sessions. The Therapist had to work very hard to be as consistent and trustworthy as possible to help Zainab participate in the sessions.

Zainab enjoyed playing with the doll’s house in the play room, and acting out some of the things that she had witnessed at home. She spent a lot of time looking after the baby dolls in the Therapists toolkit and nurturing them by pretending to feed them from a bottle.

Zainab gradually grew in confidence in those sessions. Where she didn’t have the words to articulate what she was feeling, she was able to show it through her play. Her Therapist was able to be there alongside her while she worked through her therapeutic process, and as she played she grew in confidence.

After her Play Therapy intervention, Zainab was able to start opening up to other adults in school. She no longer hid under the table in class, and when she felt too uncomfortable to partake in a classroom activity she was able to tell the teacher who allowed her to sit out when she was struggling.

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“Zainab is more willing to speak with children and adults that she doesn’t know. She will come and ask if she is stuck or if she is upset.” – Teacher