Centred Play Therapy

Call Kim on 0458747534


176 English Road, Bannockburn, VIC

Hearthwood yoga studio

Play Therapy

Sessions are for 60 minutes.
Cost is $100
Times available
Monday 12pm-6pm
Tuesday 9am-4pm
Wednesday 9am-4pm

Thursday 9am-4pm
Friday 9am-49m
Saturday 10am-3pm

Play is the language of children.
Therefore it is a great way to communicate with children in a fun, safe and inclusive environment.
All sessions are private and confidential, parents/carers can either be in the playroom with us or wait in the sitting room. Siblings are welcome and we have a play area for them as well. At this stage all booking are made my phone and I'm happy to answer any questions you have. I am not registered with NDIS yet but plan to by the end of 2021. I am able to send invoices and receipts for those that are self managed. There is an extra cost for Animal Assisted Play Therapy. Please refer that section for further information.
We are located on a private hobby farm 30 minutes from Geelong which is very peaceful and have dedicated play spaces indoors and outdoors. Please see Location for more information.

Horses and Hounds

For any kids that enjoy being around animals, then adding dogs or horses in the sessions can be a wonderful extra element of playfulness.
Our horses and dogs have been around children as part of the therapeutic riding lessons for several years and are safe, friendly, curious, playful and highly motivated my food and treats.
As part of play therapy sessions we do not offer horse riding as this is a separate program. Please refer to my other website www.heartwoodhorses.com.au
There are many benefits of including animals in sessions are I go into more detail if you follow the more info button below. Not only do many children enjoy being around animals and have fun working with them they find them great company and might even feel safer or mare relaxed with them with a adult/therapist.
Even if your child is wary or even frightened of animals we can help with their concerns and enhance their ability to feel safe and even enjoy being with animals.
Sessions are for 60 mins.
Cost with a dog is $100.
Cost with a horse/pony $130.

Music, Movement & Mindfulness

For any kids that love to move, play music and learn how to be calmer and stiller then I can cater for them as well. I love to play music and have fun dancing. I am learning some African drumming, and I have a fun range of instruments to play with. Movement and music are very good for developing rhythm, co-ordination and balance. The speed can be fast and energising or slow and relaxing.
I am also trained to offer body awareness, breath work, mindfulness and relaxation. If the child has trouble being still, anxious thoughts, relaxing and/or sleeping then I can help.


Play Therapy

 Why use play for therapy?


What exactly is Play? Play is what children do naturally when all their basic needs are being met and they feel safe and cared for. They can then explore the world through play, making friends and learning social skills, develop gross and fine motor skills, co-ordination, language, problem solving, develop imagination, creativity and generally have fun and enjoy themselves. All play is incredibly valuable but the most important type is when it is child initiated and led. Adults are strongly advised to join the play and spend quality time with the children but it is the most developmentally powerful when it is all about what they want to do. They are encouraged to make choices and do what they enjoy the most.
They can use it to express themselves when they don’t have the language skills to do so as they live at a level that is less in the higher thought processes since they brains are still developing. But at a level that is more instinctual, emotional and reactive. They live more in the day to day and can derive pleasure in the simple things and be open to new experiences and ideas.
They spend their whole childhood finding out who they are and understanding what they enjoy doing and what they are naturally good at. Adults in their lives can have an great impact on children as they develop, to help them gain awareness about who they are and guide then in finding a path for adulthood.
But not all children have the same ability to play naturally and not all children grow up in an environment that stimulates play. What is being understood now at a much greater level is the high importance of children to play frequently to help them develop.
Play Therapy can achieve many things.
The first role is to develop a child’s ability to play when this is not something they have been able to do naturally, due to developmental issues or they have not lived in an environment that has enabled a lot of free play. A play therapist can encourage and enhance a child’s ability to play which then helps them with all the skills mentioned previously. Not only is learning how to play encouraging children to have fun its is multi-layered and helps them to develop many of this skills to cope with many other parts of their lives that can be less fun such as education, understanding social skills, emotional regulation, communication, even relaxing and sleeping. Play Therapy can help children in all these areas of their lives in a very fun non-directive way. We find out what the child likes to do and doesn’t find too challenging and we build on those interests and skills. My specialisations are using animals as part of the therapeutic program as well as movement and mindfulness. There is more information about the benefits of these areas in their own sections.
The other wonderful part of play therapy is that children can communicate though their play. Communicating with language is very challenging for children (and many adults) especially difficult experiences, thoughts and emotions. Play is a very non-direct way to communicate. Once the child feels safe and can relax with me and in our play space (and this can take a few sessions) them the children can in their own time and way start to express anything they feel they would like to in a very compassionate and nonjudgmental environment. Direct questions are very limited and we are just open and interested in them as a person and have a deeply held belief that given the right support then can work through what they need to and become happier and healthier little people.


More information for health professionals and families. 

The benefits of play for children has been studied for some time and has developed in a range of modalities. I am trained as a Humanistic Play Therapist with a focus on Child Centred Play Therapy (CCPT). It was found that traditional therapies developed for adults did not work well with children, especially if they were based on a Cognitive understanding of what they had been though or still living as a dependant of adults still. Since health problems, trauma and inappropriate care given affects the child at every level of development but especially as their brain develops, then the therapy they receive must be aimed at where they are developmentally and in their zone of proximal development. 

As play therapy is child led and not focused on the use of language skills, children are still able to connect with and communication with the therapist is a very non=threatening and client centered way. Even developing their play ability develops physical and cognitive development that will enhance many other areas of their life. 

I have been working with children with a variety of needs and experiences for over 10 years in my horse riding school, using the horses as my therapeutic tool with great success which is why I chose to train in Play Therapy. I have also worked in Schools for over 10 years as a lab assistant in a high school and as coordinator of a school outside care program. This required managing and working with a wide range of ages, personalities and skill sets. This is a very play based program and has given we wonderful experience working with primary school aged children in school setting. 

I am also a parent of two adult children with my daughter training to be a Occupational Therapist and assists me from time to time when suitable. I am also a qualified yoga therapist so I am able to work with the children on emotional regulation. I can help them to improve their breathing, improve their ability to relax, improve their proprioception and interoception. I can work on sensory processing  and ability to manage energy levels and over or under activity. 

I have a good understanding of how trauma, neglect etc as well as some of the common psychopathologies  affects the body and the unconscious mind. I understand how they affect brain development and what is normal development and what is affected at certain ages and in certain areas. 

Even though I am only a newly graduated play therapist, I believe that all these skills and experiences allows me to offer a very professional, kind, caring, understanding and effective service for clients and their families. 

Any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me so I can give you more information on what I can offer my clients. 

Horses and Hounds

Horse skills at Heartwood

Why use Hounds and Horses


Many humans enjoy the company of animals and children even more so. Dogs are an accepted and valued member of many families as they provide friendship, companionship and someone to play with and exercise with. In general dogs are very accepting animals that live for the present moment at always seem to find the best in people. They are unassuming, non-judgemental, affectionate, playful, caring and just love positive attention and affection. They are non-verbal so they mostly communicate with body language and most children know the obvious signs such as a wagging tail or an invitation to play. We can include the dog/s in sessions indoors and outdoors and the dogs can just be a passive member of the team, assist in the play or feature in the play.


Costs and Times

Session time: One hour


Cost with a dog/s: $100


Cost with a horse: $130

Horses for healing


Horses have a gentle, peaceful and mindful way of being. They are very emotionally intelligent and can support people both physically emotionally and mentally on your path to better health and wellbeing. Horses have been used to help humans for many thousands of years but more recently is a formal way as therapy assistants. Some of the similarities as working with dogs is that they are living in the present moment, they are also unassuming and non-judgemental. They are als non verbal but as prey animals, they are much more sensitive to body language and energy levels. Horses naturally always live in herds and are always very attuned to every member of the herd. There need to feel safe in the human world is a much more powerful motivator than dogs (who are predators like us) and therefore are very useful when working with issues of safety, self protection, awareness, connection and trust and communication. You have to earn a horses trust where as a dog often offers if from the start. Many humans find a special connection to horses and once a friendship has formed they can be wonderful companions. They can become the protector and the guide. They can also be curious, playful and funny but not until they feel loved, respected and understood. This of course reflects what we offer the children in our care. 




Jet getting scratches

My story

What’s in a name

Why Heartwood?

Trees develop a hard, dense spine-like wood that gives the tree a solid foundation around which to grow; this core is referred to as ‘heartwood’. The heartwood not only gives trees strength and longevity, but also the flexibility to be moulded by the elements. My hope is to help build strong and resilient children that are flexible enough to face life’s battles. 

I have been teaching children to ride for over 10 years and I was finding more and more of my students that were coming had some special needs and were attracted to my style of teaching. I thoroughly enjoy working with these kids and loved seeing the wonderful affects and horses and even the dogs would have on these children. 

This led me on the path the studying Play Therapy which I will complete at the end of 2021. This will give me so much more ability to work with children that need that extra special care and skills.  

The training in Animal Assisted Play Therapy (AAPT) gives me the ability to combine two wonderful therapy tools, Play Therapy and Animals, mainly horses and dogs. 

My understanding of how to heal the body with movement, music and mindfulness are wonderful complimentary skills we can also include in the Play Therapy only recently taking up African drumming. 

I have spend years developing our property so that we have a wonderful facility now with an indoor play room and large outdoor areas, including a large shed, for animal assisted activities. is 


Healthy happy horses

My qualifications

I have a Graduate Diploma in Therapeutic Child Play.

I am studying my Masters of Child Play Therapy at Deakin University and will finish at the end of 2021.

I am also training with the International Institute of Animal Assisted Play Therapy.

I am a registered student at the Australasia Pacific Play Therapy Association (APPTA) and will be registered as a Play Therapist when I complete my studies. 

I am a Qualified Yoga Instructor and Yoga Therapist with     Dru Yoga Australia.

I am a trained Positive Psychology Coach

I Have my Cert IV in Training and Assessment.

Level 2 First Aid Accredited..

Heartwood House

We have a separate house on our farm specially built for play therapy and plenty of room for playing with the dogs and horses outside. 


176 English Road,
VIC 3331

Where we are

Get in touch


Kim Wood
0458 747 534