Melissa Bell

  • Professional Title: Play Therapist
  • Qualifications:  PTUK accredited, PGCert in Play Therapy, BA (Hons), IBDip
  • Clinic location: Southville Clinic


Melissa is a Play Therapist who gained her professional qualification in Play Therapy in 2015. Melissa is registered with Play Therapy United Kingdom (PTUK).

Melissa specialises in working therapeutically and creatively with children and adolescents across Bristol and Bath, experiencing a wide range of emotional and behavioural difficulties. Melissa has previous experience of working in the NHS as an Assistant Psychologist for 6 years working across a number of ‘Community Learning Disability Teams’ in the South West of England before leaving in 2018 to move forward in her private practice. Within her NHS roles Melisa has worked with young people aged 16+ with a variety of neurodevelopmental conditions, including Learning Disabilities, Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as well as a range of co-occurring mental health difficulties

Areas of Specialist Experience

Melissa provides Play Therapy to children aged 3 to 16 years facing a variety of challenges. These have included parents separating, bereavement and loss, low mood, withdrawal, hyperactivity, child abuse, self-esteem issues, identity issues, anger (and general emotional regulation difficulties). Melissa has experience in providing assessment and treatment for the emotional and behavioural needs of children and adolescents.

Melissa also provides support to adults with mild to moderate learning disabilities offering creative therapy sessions and a variety of psychoeducational training groups relating to mental health and emotional well-being.

Therapeutic Approach

Melissa’s primary therapeutic approach is Play Therapy. Play therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses a variety of Play and Creative Art techniques. This will often include; drawing, clay work, sand tray therapy, music, movement, dance, drama, role play. Play Therapists will work systemically with the client, meaning that they will take into consideration the wider social and environmental factors of the client, such as school, siblings, peers and family.

Melissa feels passionately about the therapeutic benefits of Play Therapy and the way this approach offers children a wider range of ways to communicate their needs, allowing for both conscious and unconscious thoughts and feelings to arise. Children don’t always have the right words to use when expressing themselves or may feel held back in other ways from communicating freely. Play Therapy allows the use of toys and other creative materials that engender free expression. Children are able, with the help of the therapist, to begin to make sense of their experiences and process their feelings.

Melissa uses a variety of additional therapeutic approaches according to the clients needs (and preferences) which allows for a more holistic way of working with an individual and their difficulties. Alongside Play Therapy, she may integrate a variety of psychological approaches such as; Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to offer psychoeducation about understanding and managing the clients mental health, Narrative Therapy to offer different perspectives on the clients current situation alongside Mindfulness & Relaxation techniques in helping clients to regulate their emotions more effectively.