The Purple Elephant Project

Meet a therapist – Charlotte Cowley

How long have you been working as a play therapist at The Purple Elephant Project?

I began working at The Purple Elephant Project as a student when completing my Masters in Play Therapy in 2021. I’ve officially been working for The Purple Elephant Project since September 2022, so around 15 months.

What do you like most about your job?
Having the opportunity to develop relationships with so many different children and to witness the small changes that occur over time. 

Did you always want to be a play therapist, or when you were a child is there a different job you wanted to do?

When I was younger I wanted to be a paediatric doctor. I’ll never forget a conversation I had with the careers advisor at my school about what it was I wanted to achieve working in that field. We figured out I wanted to build relationships with children to support them to thrive in their environments. He quite rightly pointed out to me that most children are in hospitals for short periods of time and are often unwell. Whilst it wasn’t the right environment for me exactly, it did spark my growing interest in children’s wellbeing, eventually leading me down the road of mental health and supporting children in that way. 


What’s your favourite toy/play thing in our play room to use in your work and why?

I love the kinetic sand. It’s amazing how many different ways children can interact and play with it, and I myself find it very calming. 


What did you love to play with when you were a child?

I have many memories of playing teachers with one of my best friends. We would dress up and have folders and books with registers and homework for all the pupils, who were often Bratz dolls. 


What is something that can always make you smile even on a tough day?

Walking through my front door at home and having my dogs run up the stairs to greet me. That unconditional abundance of love is unbeatable. 


Can you tell us something about yourself which would surprise the children you work with?

I did gymnastics for 10 years and can still walk on my hands and do cartwheels. 


Earlier this year you did something amazing to raise money for PEP – can you tell us about it?

Earlier this year I was struggling with a few physical injuries and found that swimming was really helping with recovery. I decided to take on the 5k swim challenge in May to raise money for the Purple Elephant Project. I set a target of £500 but was so grateful to have raised £850 to give back to the Purple Elephant Project. 


If you could tell all children one thing, what would it be?

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss 

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