Emotional support for children and young people

It can be difficult for children and young people to use words to express how they’re feeling so at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices we offer a variety of creative therapies allowing children and young people a new way to express and understand their feelings.

A wide range of children may benefit from creative therapies including those who have been bereaved, children who are living with a disabled or ill sibling or children who may be ill themselves.

How do creative therapies help?

    • Provides a child a way to express their feelings not necessarily having to find words.
    • Helps develop confidence and self-esteem.
    • Improves emotional well-being and reduces anxiety.
    • Provides the opportunity to be in control, be seen and listened to.
    • Provides a way to think about difficult as well as happy feelings, and address them in a confidential, secure way.
    • Helps the child come to terms with past trauma and move on.

Music therapy

Music therapy offers a safe, secure space where children are not under instruction but maybe helped to use all their capabilities for making sounds, encouraging new ways of communicating their needs and feelings.

Accessible musical instruments are chosen and arranged with a particular child in mind. Rather than teaching the child to sing or play an instrument, the therapist allows the child the freedom to express themselves through sounds, gestures and words.

Any form of communication is responded to and supported with music or words, thereby creating a musical dialogue. By observing, listening and playing with the child, insight is sought into how the child seems to be feeling. These insights form the basis to the therapy process.

Art therapy

Art therapy is a form of therapy for children and young people that uses art materials and artistic expression to help awareness, understanding and expression of feelings in a way they may not be able to do using just words and thoughts.

The art therapist isn’t an art teacher. Rather than teaching how to draw and paint, the therapist allows the child the freedom to express themselves through choice of medium, use of colour, symbolism and making a mess if they want to.

No matter the ability of the child, the art therapist will always let them create what they feel they want to.


Dramatherapy focuses on the therapeutic aspects of drama and theatre, respecting the child’s pace and potential. Activities and techniques are introduced in relation to the needs of the child, exploring verbal and non-verbal ways of communication.

Storytelling, enactment, role-play, improvisation and games are some examples of how dramatherapy can be used with children living with a life-limiting condition. It does not require any prior experience in theatre and helps to facilitate creativity, insight and growth.

Dramatherapy can include individual sessions, group sessions and parent and child sessions.

If you would like to find out more, or would like information on being referred for counselling, please contact our Family Support Line by either phoning 01483 230 974 or emailing familysupport@shootingstar.org.uk 9am-4pm Monday to Friday.