"You can discover more about a person in an
hour of play than in a year of conversation."
As a caregiver, your role as a partner in the therapeutic process is key. Depending upon the plan and goals established with you, you may join all sessions or some sessions so that work and goals may be continued in the home, using the attachment and connection you have with your child to assist in progress.
With adolescents, a plan is established with them, depending upon their wishes, to communicate with and involve family as needed, with health and safety being a priority.
"Play is crucial to children's mental health."
Donna is also available as a guest speaker or for workshops. Please call or contact through the website for more information.
Play and Talk Therapy
for children and adolescents
Donna Starling, MSW, RSW, CPT-S
Registered Social Worker
Certified Play Therapist and Supervisor
"Play is a child's natural medium for self-expression."
Donna Starling is a Registered Social Worker through the Ontario College of Social Workers, and a Certified Play Therapist through the Canadian Association for Play Therapy. Since graduating from McGill University with a Master's Degree in Social Work in 1997, Donna has been doing therapeutic work with children and adolescents in a variety of settings in Canada and the United States. While working in Detroit, Donna trained with Bill Steele of the Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children. It was in the Detroit area that Donna was part of a Crisis Response Team and also worked with children and adolescents in a research program called The Opportunity Center within The Guidance Center. The Opportunity Center combined therapy with experiential interventions. The necessity of using play in therapy to connect with children and adolescents, and to further their abilities to truly communicate their emotions and experiences became obvious. Moving to the Guelph area, Donna completed her formal training as a Certified Play Therapist with CAPT, training with supervisors Lorie Walton and Greg Lubimiv. Donna is now a Certified Play Therapy Supervisor, training new play therapists.
Wonder. Play and Talk Therapy
Donna started Wonder in 2012 out of a hope to work in a strength-based environment, to team with children and their parents and with adolescents to promote mental health and well-being. It is also the belief at Wonder, that a variety of tools to express emotions and experiences are needed. Verbal expression is not always easy or possible.
Working with younger children, Donna believes that the role of the caregiver both inside and outside of the therapeutic setting is key to reaching goals. Working with adolescents, Donna defines their support system with them and helps them to draw on their defined supports to assist them to reach their goals.