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Story of trust lies behind teaching children to live again

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Play therapist Anndrea Clear from the Canberra Hospital sings twinkle twinkle little star with 2 yr old Katie Morris, Canberra.

Play therapist Anndrea Clear from the Canberra Hospital sings twinkle twinkle little star with 2 yr old Katie Morris, Canberra. Photo: Colleen Petch

ANNDREA Clear, play therapist, can stop a lifetime of recurring trauma.

It is her job to talk chronically sick children through medical procedures.

With the new $90 million Women's and Children's section of Canberra hospital open, Mrs Clear is a trusted face among the changes to the buildings.

A few of the patients she started the job with 14 years ago are still turning up at the hospital for monthly medication and check-ups.

Some of them die.

''It's tough but it's a job I love doing,'' she said.

''The children begin to trust you.''

Many of her young patients have needle phobias and she teaches them simple techniques to work through the fear, such as counting to three.

She has noticed an increase in youngsters she deals with, probably because of increasing demand on the hospital.

Many more are now being dealt with as outpatients.

''It's much better for the families that way,'' she said.

PHILLIP THOMSON

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