Ariella Levy is a trained play therapist for children and a women’s mentor, supporting women from before and during birth and throughout their children’s school years.
“The key to what I do is to try to inspire and offer support. Whether that is through empowering children’s growth and development, or by helping women through their birthing experience. I try to help them get listened to, so that they are able to assert themselves and gain awareness.”
Originally from Philadelphia, Ariella has lived in the UK for the past 11 years. As the Rebbetzen of communities in Bristol and Hertfordshire, she set up parenting workshops as well as mother and daughter classes. Now living in northwest London, she runs Rainbow Play Therapy. She has been a qualified play therapist for the past year, and she has been working with children for 25 years and with women for 10 years.
Rainbow Play Therapy uses creative play, a child’s natural way of learning, as an alternative means of communication. Ariella runs therapy sessions for children aged 4 -11 years old to help them deal with these issues and problems. Children going through traumatic experiences often need support, as they cannot always express their feelings with words. Through creative play, which can include sand play, puppets, art, and role play, Ariella helps children and their families make sense of the situation and encourages them to express their thoughts and feelings.
“I believe deeply in a child’s capacity to heal, and I am passionate about providing support for families to grow together.”
As well as helping children and families through play therapy, she also offers help and support to women and couples as a mentor and doula, through all stages of the birthing experience. For many the prospect of childbirth can seem stressful and traumatic, but Ariella aims to try to create a positive environment for each woman she works with.
“From about 11 years old, I loved the idea of children but never ever wanted to have any of my own. The main issue I had was with giving birth. It was only when I was pregnant with my first child that I had to face my fears. I did some visualisation and found someone whom I respected and trusted to help me through it. The whole experience was very dignified, and I came out of it wanting to do it again.”
Having had four children of her own, she now runs sessions for women and couples to help with the whole birthing experience, from pregnancy through to the labour, and also post-pregnancy support if required. The sessions can be one to one or in small groups, or even via Skype for couples based in Israel. She believes that the birthing experience can significantly affect both the mother and child, making it difficult to bond and connect. This can often impact on them in later life and can have far-reaching consequences.
“By making this experience as positive as possible for both parties, this can help create a connection early on, which will last throughout their relationship.”
Ariella feels that for some people there is still a stigma towards the idea of therapy, and many avoid seeking help, choosing to try to deal with things on their own – or ignoring the problem entirely. This is something that she thinks needs to addressed, so people can gain a better understanding of what therapy actually is.
“For me, having therapy for your mental wellbeing is no different to seeing a doctor for help and advice for your physical health. The mind and body are linked, and both need to be looked after.”
Ariella’s main piece of advice for anyone wanting to start their own business is to make sure that you have a clear mission of what you want to achieve and set yourself realistic goals in order to attain that.
“My mission is to help people get through difficult experiences and to emerge stronger than before. Have a clear idea of what you are aiming for, and set yourself goals, whether they are short-term goals or looking at the bigger picture. Be determined if it is something you believe in, and don’t let things get in the way.”
If you would like to contact Ariella about play therapy or birthing support, please contact her on:
phone: 07903 669 166