Therapeutic Interventions

As part of our holistic offer at SWA, we offer a range of therapeutic interventions, delivered by a team of trained practioners on a daily basis, to support our students in dealing with emotional issues which are barriers to them engaging in learning.

Our therapeutic interventions include Draw and Talk Therapy, Lego Therapy, ELSA (Emotional Literacy) support, Play therapy, and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT).

Drawing and Talking 

“I enjoyed the group Drawing and Talking, it helped knowing other people feel the same as you and had the same things happening”

Y11 Student

St Wilfrid’s Academy has two fully trained professionals in advanced Drawing and Talking. Drawing and Talking is a safe and easy drawing technique for use with children and young people who have suffered trauma or have underlying emotional difficulties affecting their mental health and well-being. The technique is based on Jungian and Attachment (Bowlby) theories. 

Drawing and Talking therapy supports those who are not realising their full potential either socially or academically.

Drawing and Talking is completed over 12 half an hour sessions, one session per week. It has been a successful intervention so far, with several students benefitting from the course.

Drawing and Talking can also be completed at St Wilfrid’s as part of a group course or sandplay if the practitioner feels it would be more beneficial.

“I enjoyed group Drawing and Talking because it helped me talk about things I hadn’t told anyone else” 

Y10 student



St Wilfrid’s Academy has two fully trained Emotional Literacy Support Assistants that were trained by a team of Educational Psychologists (EP) and who receive ongoing termly supervision from the EP team to support them with their work.

The ELSA programme was originally developed by Educational Psychologist, Shelia Burton. It was designed to support the emotional needs of pupils and recognised that children learn better when they are happier and their emotional needs are being met.

The ELSA programme lasts between 6 – 12 weeks, depending on the need of the student, and aims to support pupils who need help with their emotions, anger management, social skills, resilience, and self-esteem.

LEGO Therapy

LEGO therapy is a social development programme which helps children and young people with autism spectrum disorders and related social communication difficulties. It was created by Clinical Neuropsychologist Dr Dan LeGoff as a way of getting pupils to socialise appropriately.

Not only does it hugely benefit pupils with ASD but it can also be used with other pupils as a way of developing and reinforcing play skills and social skills such as:

  • Verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Joint attention
  • Task focus
  • Sharing and turn-taking
  • Collaborative problem-solving

Play Therapy

“It helped me to open up to someone and made me feel more comfortable talking to people”

St Wilfrid’s academy work with Fortis Therapy & Training: a team of dedicated, qualified therapists, counsellors, and trainers based in Grimsby, Scunthorpe, and Hull. 

“It was good and I felt happier because I had someone to talk to who listened and cared”

There is a full time Fortis Play Therapist, who is registered with PTUK, based at St Wilfrid’s Academy, offering 1:1 and group therapy, as well as brief therapeutic interventions to individuals and groups. PTUK therapists undertake rigorous academic and clinical training before qualifying. To be registered with PTUK, therapists must: have qualified via our university approved postgraduate courses, be Clinically Supervised by an Accredited Supervisor, attend regular accredited professional development courses and have an enhanced DBS check. Our practitioners are registered with the Professional Standards Authority, an independent organisation regulating and monitoring health and social care providers.] 

Play Therapy is a type of therapy where play and art materials are used as the main way for people to express themselves and can be particularly helpful approach for children in need of therapeutic support. Using play in therapy helps people to express themselves in their own way; especially if they are struggling to understand how they are feeling or are finding it hard to put their experiences into words. 

In Play Therapy sessions, they explore their own creativity and express themselves using media such as: drawing and painting, water and clay, sand tray and miniatures, guided imagery and relaxation techniques, drama and puppetry, poetry, movement and music. 

“I look forward to it – it’s nice to have a regular time every week to get things off my chest”

Student feedback on working with the Fortis Therapist

Talking about problems can be hard for children and young people. They may not have the words to describe how they are feeling, or why they are behaving as they do. A child may not be able to recognise what they find difficult or explain it to someone if asked. Play Therapy provides the expertise and time to do this through play. Play Therapy sessions aim to build a child’s ability to develop healthy and resilient relationships, and to work though traumatic experiences which may be preoccupying them. Pre-occupying difficult feeling can make learning at school or managing feelings impossible. Addressing difficult emotions through play provides a layer of story or metaphor to what is being shared and felt. Metaphor can provide a degree of removal from experience for the child. It can feel safer and less intense for a child to express themselves or explore their experiences through play.