Running a Play Therapy Practice from home

Play therapy garden studio

In 2019 Sarah Zehetmayr-McCall purchased a garden log cabin to move her work as a play therapist to a comfortable space that she could make her own. Four years later, we caught up with Sarah in her garden cabin to see how the additional space has impacted her work and life.

The client:

Sarah is an Integrative Play Therapist with over 20 years of experience working with children, young people, adults and families as a social worker and therapist. Registered with both the British Association for Counsellors & Psychotherapists and the British Association of Play Therapists, Sarah holds various professional qualifications listed on the Trinity Psychotherapy Services website.

Sarah provides play therapy services both face-to-face and online from her garden therapy studio in Chippenham.

What is play therapy?

“Play Therapy is a form of child psychotherapy that is child-led using play as the primary way to communicate. Play Therapy helps children who have had difficult and upsetting experiences to resolve emotional and behavioural problems and achieve optimal growth and development. Play Therapy can help not only the child but also their family because Play Therapists provide support and work closely with children's parents/carers.” – Sarah Zehetmayr-McCall of Trinity Psychotherapy Services.

The Challenge

In searching for a new workspace, Sarah's priorities were:

  • A calming, home-like atmosphere.
  • Plenty of seating, shelving, and floor space.
  • Separation from her home for professional boundaries.
  • Insulation to see clients all year round.
  • A suitable space for children to express themselves creatively.

Additionally, the building needed to support an air conditioning unit to keep the room comfortable during sessions as doors and windows would have to be closed for client confidentiality.

With limited commercial spaces available, Sarah struggled to find a space that met all her needs.

The solution

A fully bespoke, 4.5m x 3m insulated log cabin in her very own garden.

Painted log cabin in the garden
4.5m x 3m Painted Log Cabin

We worked with Sarah to create a design that suited her garden, ideas, and requirements. Working with children, we needed to ensure that the room had temperature control, and privacy and was sturdy enough for the sometimes chaotic nature of children’s play.

The building was positioned within close proximity to Sarah's back garden gate – enabling private access for clients to maintain separation from the main house.

When asked why Sarah chose to work with us, she replied “We liked the customer service, quality, and local organisation”.

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The cabin features:

  • 68mm thick timber walls to:
    • reduce noise travel
    • Increase natural insulation
    • Prevent moisture build-up.
  • Sturdy timber walls and floor – capable of dealing with impact.
  • Toughened glass in the doors and windows
  • Easy clean laminate flooring

The custom build also features a lower than standard height letterbox window to enable children to peek out as they wait for parents to drive up the road.

“Works really well, big enough space for play therapy” Sarah commented. “Many people come in and go wow, what an amazing space”.

Additionally, the cabin is situated in Sarah's garden surrounded by trees and hedges providing a serene nature backdrop. Just steps outside her backdoor, but separate from the main house, it provides a perfect balance.

inside of a garden log cabin
Inside a Log Cabin play therapy studio

The process

Once the design had been confirmed and the order placed, we set to work laying a concrete base to the exact footprint of the cabin. By making the base the same size as the building, we reduced the chance of pooling water seeping underneath the pressure-treated timber base beams.

hiab delivery offloading a garden building

Due to Sarah's access, we took the decision to deliver the palletised building on a Hiab lorry with crane offload. The pallets were delivered to the site and assembly could begin.

Assembling a timber log cabin
Assembling a 4.5m x 3m Log Cabin

Our expert team of in-house installers assembled the tongue and groove timber construction in a matter of days. Starting with the walls, doors and windows, onto the roof joists and ceiling, EPDM rubber roof covering and finally the sturdy timber floor.

timber garden studio
4.5m x 3m Log Cabin Studio

The Impact

Speaking with Sarah four years after construction, we learnt how the additional space had impacted her work and home life. “It changed my life as I moved to working for myself which means that I am more at home and able to be around when the kids are home from school. I have also had greater earning capacity because I have been able to work more flexibly.” – Sarah Zehetmayr-McCall of Trinity Psychotherapy Services.

Sarah commented on how the space had changed from its original intention and adapted to her changing needs. The global pandemic of 2020 led to Sarah operating solely online and needing space for a computer setup – something that she hadn’t initially prioritised. When asked about her practice during the pandemic, Sarah commented “absolute godsend, so lucky to have the space”.

Inside a garden log cabin
Log Cabin Play Therapy Studio

The cabin had been well maintained with updated paintwork on the interior and exterior and when asked about the suitability of the solid timber cabin for children’s play, Sarah commented: “The room has held up really well, for children who are messy and play chaotically”.

By investing in a custom garden cabin, Sarah found the perfect solution to grow her integrative play therapy practice whilst maintaining a healthy work/life balance.

To learn more about Sarah's services, click here to view the Trinity Psychotherapy Services website.

Interested in setting up your own therapy studio at home?

Talk to the experts at Garden Affairs about how to create additional space for your very own practice, office studio and more.

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