Play Therapy in Wicklow, Ireland

Wayfinding with Wen offers a safe and supportive environment for children struggling with their emotional difficulties often manifesting as behavioural challenges through play therapy

By engaging children through play, the child therapist can help them express themselves, process their emotions, build resilience, and realise their full potential.
Rainbow Wood Portrait
Play therapy is what psychotherapy is for adults. This therapeutic intervention harnesses children's innate need to play, allowing them to express their thoughts and feelings through symbolism and metaphors. Depression, anxiety, aggression and stress related life events such as abuse, bereavement, loss, family breakdown, domestic violence and trauma can be addressed through therapy.
Messy Play
Play therapists use creative approaches, interventions, media, and activities that are appropriate to the age and developmental stage of the client. Such play permits the child to communicate with adults nonverbally, symbolically, and in an action-oriented manner.

"Birds fly, fish swim, and children play."

Gary Landreth

Play Therapy

Hi! I'm Wen

Welcome to Wayfinding with Wen. Play therapy is based on the humanistic premise that a person is more likely to attain their full potential when they are in an environment that provides them with openness, acceptance, and empathy.

A one-size fits all approach does not truly meet a child where they are since we all have our own unique experiences in our lives. An integrative and creative approach to my therapeutic intervention requires me to access different models and methods to explore the client’s experiential world.

Wen Profile 2
Having a background in neuroscience has enabled me to grasp the neurobiology of relationships, brain maturation, and the healing process, in which we can integrate new insights and behaviours.

The role of parents/carers is crucial to the success of the therapeutic intervention since their presence and influence outweigh the therapist. My role is to create and sustain a collaborative and genuine relationship with them so as to achieve their (parent/carer and child's) therapeutic goals.

Behaviour is the communication of a need or want in response to the environment. Challenging behaviour is a way for a child to tell adults that they are overwhelmed and that their needs are not met that they otherwise cannot communicate verbally.

My approach to play therapy

  • 01 A Struggling Child Emotionally

    Recognising a Child’s Difficulties

    When a child shows us they are having a hard time meeting the needs of their environment, it can look and feel like their behaviours are challenging. A child-led perspective would be to trust that this behaviour is a call for connection and it signifies that the needs of the child are not met.

  • 02 Play Therapist Receiving A Phonecall While Sitting


    A referral to a play therapist involves an initial phone consultation (free) to ascertain if this route feels right for both parties. This phone call also allows the therapist to evaluate and formulate a therapeutic plan which she can discuss with both the parent and the child.

  • 03 Family Therapist Seeing A Couple Bright Room

    Intake Process

    The next step is the intake process (in person / online and paid) with only the parents which can take around 1 -3 sessions. Consent from both parents/carers and the child is essential for the validity of the therapeutic process. During this session (approximately 1 hour long) the carers/parents arrive without the child and the therapist can find out more about the child’s past and how he or she is coping currently in their lived world.

  • 04 Therapist Talking To 2 Parents While Child Plays

    Therapeutic Space

    Prior to the first session with the child, the therapist would invite the parent and child to the physical therapeutic space. The therapist would then obtain formal consent in a developmentally appropriate manner from the child after a 20-minute free play session with the parent in the room. 

  • 05 Child In Play Therapy Session From The Back

    Therapeutic Sessions

    These therapeutic sessions can last from 12 sessions to as many as the child and their family system need. Therapy ends when the client and their family system have gained the necessary tools and resilience they require for their own journey ahead. Therapy can also end when the client and/or family system have requested it to conclude.

  • 06 Therapist Providing Feedback

    Review Session

    After the 6th session, I will plan a parent review (without the child) to discuss how things are progressing in their daily lives. I will offer an opportunity for the child to bring up any worries or needs if they want me to on their behalf. The session is confidential for the child and will not be shared with the parent unless there is a safety concern. During the review, parents may receive resourcing, we may discuss more updates about the child and check on the goals set during the intake session. 

  • 07 Very Happy Child From The Back

    Closing Sessions

    Towards the end of the 12th session, there will be another parent review to ascertain if more sessions are needed. Closing a therapeutic journey requires conscientious planning and concrete reasons for doing so. It is to protect the growth and maturation that the child has experienced during their therapeutic journey. 

  • 08 Parents Walking Away With Child In The Middle

    The Collaboration

    If a parent wishes to plan more reviews this can be discussed as well. Parent resource sessions play a critical part in a child’s healing journey. Together we can start finding ways to establish a more connected relationship within the family and get a firm foundation for the client to grow in ways that affect them emotionally, physically and cognitively.

  • About Me

    Who Am I

    I was born in London, grew up in Singapore, and have lived in Ireland since 2006, when I married my Irish husband. Having spent my entire life on islands, living beside the sea is where I am most comfortable. I am a parent of two children, a neuroscientist, a play therapist, and a creative psychotherapist trainee.

    My journey to being a play therapist was spurred by the birth of my first child, Alex, who has Down syndrome. As a parent of a child with additional needs, I needed to evolve and become more attuned, compassionate, empathetic and resilient. Societal pressures made me focus on where Alex should be developmentally, rather than meeting him where he is. This, naturally, created some rifts in our relationship and forced me to reconsider how I wanted to parent.

    As a neuroscientist, my research allowed me to focus on the brain and its impact on behaviour and cognitive functions. Extending this to play therapy led to several insights into how we can better support children and their family systems. In order to feel safe, we must be able to manage our own nervous systems and extend this to support the nervous systems of our children. When we feel safe (seen, heard and understood), we create better relationships, and resiliency and encourage cognitive development.

    wen neuroscientist
    Dr Boon Wan Wang-Whelan PhD, Msci, PGDip
    My approach to life is shaped by several strands of wisdom. The first step is to find pockets of joy when times are tough. Secondly, when in doubt, slow down. Lastly, celebrate success no matter how small. These perspectives allow me to be the mindful, consistent and brave therapist that I am today. It takes courage to work in the field of healing hearts, minds and souls.

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    What Clients Say

  • Wen provided my daughter additional support through play at a tricky time for her. School was causing some behaviour that was difficult for her peers. Pushing, kicking, breaking of Lego.

    My daughter began play therapy and the entire process was positive not just for her but also myself. Wen talked me through the stages. Listened and asked questions about my child and me as a parent. I felt that even before the therapy sessions had begun we were being seen and understood. My daughter LOVED her playtime and was eager to attend. Saying she loved Wen. Since her play therapy there has been no return to the behaviour that was causing concern. I’ve had none of the dreaded notes from school. A resounding success and very positive experience. I’d love for us to attend further play dates with Wen regardless of any issues. Just because it such a wonderful addition to my child’s life. Isad found it empowering and a joy.

    Without hesitation I would recommend Wen to any parent looking to include play therapy in their child’s life.
    Isis Neal
  • Before starting Play-Therapy, Brodie was really struggling with routine and self regulation. Brodie would sometimes find himself in a precarious situation due to the lack of routine and structure he would allow into his day. Brodie struggled with regulating his emotions and expressing them. Brodie started Play therapy with Wen as part of a programme in his Pre-school. Myself and his dad where apprehaensive at the start as we felt there would be no fix to the struggles Brodie has. Wen completely changed our lives as a family unit!

    After a short few weeks of working with Wen in Play therapy, Brodie began structuring his routine, listening more frequently at home and his tantrums and behaviour improved a lot as he was now able to express his emotions verbally which made it easier to understand him and how he is feeling! Brodie is also now able to self regulate and understand his feelings.

    I would recommend Wen and her play therapy sessions to any parent with a child who finds emotional regulation difficult, or appear to be having continuous tantrums. Wen is fantastic at what she does! After a short few weeks of working with Wen in Play therapy, Brodie began structuring his routine, listening more frequently at home and his tantrums and behaviour improved a lot as he was now able to express his emotions verbally which made it easier to understand him and how he is feeling! Brodie is also now able to self regulate and understand his feelings. I would recommend Wen and her play therapy sessions to any parent with a child who finds emotional regulation difficult, or appear to be having continuous tantrums. Wen is fantastic at what she does!
    Michaela McGrath
  • My Son was lucky to avail of 18 play therapy sessions with Wen.

    At the beginning my son lacked in confidence, eye contact & was over stimulated most of the time which resulted in lack of attention in preschool & reckless impulsive behavior &could be a risk to himself at times. I had a meeting with Wen before the first session & discussed my concerns &difficulties.

    Within 2/3 sessions I noticed a difference &he was paying attention more. Wen was a great support coach for myself also &gave advice &guidance with how to deal with certain situations &it was also explained the different stages of play therapy. By the end of the 18 sessions, my son was opening up with his feelings, he was thinking before he acted &engaged in safer fun. Attention improved majorly, alot less meltdowns & when we would have a bad day it was easily resolved. His social ,communication skills &confidence have advanced significantly also.

    Wen regularly checked in with me &we had 2/3 meetings in between sessions with constructive feedback &further guidance. I would highly recommend Wen & will be using her services in the future if needed. Thank you for everything, a very grateful mummy.
    Michelle Kirwan
  • Play therapy sessions have helped not only my son but us as a family to understand and help him. My son has really enjoyed his play therapy sessions and loved to go each week, it was a long journey for him but Wen never rushed him or us as a family. It took over 25 sessions for him but each one meant something and was a step closer to how his life has changed today.

    Wen worked with us as a family and we could express our fears and worries we had knowing that we're all working together was a great help.

    My son went into play therapy full of fear and aniexty not communicating with Wen and not expressing his worries to us his family to now expressing himself having more confidence and being able to use his skills to get his worries across using words instead of being withdrawn and full of aniexty.

    I can't thank Wen enough for all she has done for my son and our family.
    Tara Duffy
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