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Maria Rousseau | Healing Thru Art and PlayWelcome!

I am a certified specialist counsellor, specialising in art-making and play therapy in Claremont, in the Southern Suburbs. I work with children aged 3 and up, teenagers and adults. With regards to adults, I provide process-art transformational workshops in a variety of areas: parents, teachers, child-care workers and those interested in general creative transformation.

About me

I received my Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Fine Art and Psychology from Rhodes University. I went on to complete my HDE (PgP) at the University of Cape Town and from there on taught art for over 15 years. During this time, I encountered many children with behavioural issues and my drive and passion to find creative solutions that would effectively address the needs of children dealing with a wide range of psychological and emotional challenges, led me to further my knowledge in this highly specialised field. While working part-time, I went on to obtain my Honours in Psychology (BPsych equiv) through the University of South Africa, as well as my MA in Psychology, specialising in Gestalt Play Therapy through the University of the North West.

I have a wealth of practical experience with over twenty years in education, art and play therapy. This diverse knowledge base includes: teaching art at Westcott Primary School, SACS and at Micklefield Girl’s School; lecturing visual arts to the dance and HDE students for 5 years at UCT; facilitating visual art workshops in Saudi Arabia to teachers and pupils, conducting a host of transformation art workshops aimed at both children and adults alike, community work at Red Cross Children’s Hospital and Garden Village School; and the supervision of play therapy internship students. I also facilitate therapeutic art workshops for NGO’s and children’s homes.


How I Work

Children come into therapy for a number of reasons. Some of these issues include:

  • Fear and anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Chronic illness
  • Loss and bereavement
  • Shyness and low self-esteem
  • Bullying
  • Abuse
  • Divorce
  • Sleep problems
  • Anger and aggression

I work fairly eclectically and according to the needs of each unique child and in so doing, I use a combination of directive and non-directive techniques. I place great emphasis on the development of a solid therapeutic relationship between myself and the child.

The first 3-4 sessions of therapy are assessment-based, after which time I will see the parent(s) to gain a more detailed follow-up history, to discuss feedback and the way forward. Sessions are 50 minutes long and take place at the same time and day each week. The length of therapy varies between each child and can be as brief as 10 sessions or up to a year or longer.


Why Choose Art-making & Play Therapy?

Art and play are the child’s natural form of language and expression. Used as therapeutic modalities, they therefore provide children with the opportunity to experience growth and healing under the most natural of conditions. Where adults are able to use words to express themselves and their experiences, children do this through art and play.

Art-making and play therapy are shown to have many therapeutic benefits that can treat a host of psychological and emotional challenges that many children face today. As an artist and play therapist I am able to help children deal with many of these challenges, by drawing on an extensive combination of knowledge and experience.


If you have any questions or concerns then please feel free to contact me!

Maria Rousseau

BA Fine Art & Psychology Rhodes, 
Hons (Psychology) UNISA,
MA (Psychology-Play Therapy) NWU