It is important that every young person is treated as an individual, we work in a way that meets each young person’s needs while also working at their own pace. As with adults, counselling young people also provides them with a safe space, where they are free to explore their thoughts and feelings free from judgement.
Just because a young person receives counselling does not mean that anyone has failed or that you will be judged as a 'bad parent'. The reality is that sometimes children and young people are unable to understand what is going on for themselves so find it even harder to explain their thoughts and feeling to the adults in their life; it can often be that they don’t want to worry the people that they love the most. Experience says that children and young people find counselling useful in the same way as adults, being able to talk to someone who is not a family member, friend or teacher makes it easier to explore thoughts, feeling and emotions in a safe, secure and supported environment. If children and young people are able to receive emotional support from a qualified professional then they will have greater opportunity to fulfil their potential. It is our role to help children and young people find their way through whatever is troubling them and give them the tools, confidence and resilience to tackle future obstacles.
Although we are still offering counselling to children and young people during this time it will be determined during the assessment appointment if your child would be suitable for either on-line or telephone counselling due to their age. A risk assessment will be carried out by the counsellor as there are other factors to consider working in this way such as confidentiality and safeguarding. Many young people are happy to work over the phone and some are happy on-line. However, we also understand that some may prefer to wait until face to face is appointments are available again, unfortunately we do not know when this will be.
If you do have any questions feel free to contact us.
Counselling can be very beneficial to children and young people who are experiencing a range of issues such are anxiety, low mood, anger, bereavement, low self-esteem, low self-confidence, difficulty with relationships either with family or friends and bullying. Counselling not only builds self-esteem, confidence and resilience it encourages self-awareness and the development of positive mental health coping strategies.
It is important to understand that counselling will not offer a diagnosis for your child, although issues may come to light during counselling that require a referral to a specialist service. This would be the case if your child is suffering from a serious mental health condition such as an eating disorder or psychosis. We would advise that you contact your G.P to gain specific support although we will continue to support you during this time.
As with adult’s, children counselling sessions are 50 minutes and usually happen weekly. After the initial assessment if you and your child would like to proceed we usually recommend 6 – 12 sessions although counselling can be stopped at any time, a review is usually carried out after 6 weeks to see how things are going and if further sessions are required.
This appointment is also 50 minutes and is an opportunity for your child to tell us in their own words what is going on for them. Parents are welcome to sit in on this appointment if this is their wish however, we would encourage that the young person attends alone. It may be that you sit in on the first 10 minutes of the session if you both feel this would be beneficial. We will ask them to tell us in their own words what is going on for them and ask a number of questions to find out a little more about their life. They are free to be as open and honest as they want and only if they feel comfortable.
It is at the end of this appointment where we will decide if counselling is appropriate and if this is something they wish to do. We will also make some time at the end of the assessment appointment for any questions you may have and to arrange a convenient date and time for your child’s counselling to begin.
Counselling is one to one and it is important that your child can have privacy during this time. The therapeutic relationship is based on trust so that they can discuss anything that is on their mind free of judgement and without fear of reprisal. Some parents fear their child may say bad things about them, as we are also parents we understand that family relationships can be difficult and young people can feel negatively at times towards their parents or other family members. As counsellors we listen without judgement or bias and we understand the importance of having a safe space for them to explore their thoughts, feeling and emotions. If issues are family related having that time to express these feelings could help your child to understand their emotions and improve relationships with their loved ones. As long as a safeguarding issue has not been raised we will always support your child with their family issues with discretion and sensitivity.
As all counselling sessions are unique, some young people know how they want to spend their time and are happy to sit and talk. Others may talk a little time to open up and would prefer a more creative way of working such as drawing or colouring in, completing work sheets about feeling or emotions, playing board games or even playing with toy figures, stones or shells in the sand tray. All of these ways of working are different yet they offer a young person the opportunity to explore what is going on for them in a way that they feel comfortable.
As counselling sessions are one to one and based on trust within the therapeutic relationship will not discuss with you what your child has talked about as we adhere to strict rules of confidentiality. We always encourage young people to talk to their parents if that is their wish, but please try not to ask too many questions after a session as they may need time to process. We are happy to talk to you about something your child brings during a session if that is their wish and they need help from us to talk to you. If a safeguarding issue is raised we will talk to you as long as it is safe and appropriate to do so. Please be assured your child and their safety is our priority.
Safeguarding children and young people is of the utmost importance to us. Counsellors are fully committed to the safety and wellbeing of all client’s which includes being fully qualified, DBS checked (enhanced), ensured and BACP registered. Any counsellor working with children and young people has completed safeguarding training including Child Protection & Safeguarding in Education, Awareness of Child Abuse and Neglect, Safeguarding & Child Protection for the Children’s Workforce, Prevent and Female Genital Mutilation. We are committed to ongoing training for all areas of our work; attend monthly supervision to ensure we are working both safely and ethically in the best interests of our clients. Should there be a safeguarding concern will adhere strictly to our safeguarding procedure.