What is Counselling?
Counselling is a way of helping people with different kinds of personal problems. Counsellors work with a wide range of concerns including anxiety, stress, bereavement, self-esteem, relationships, eating problems. Counselling is based on the building of a trusting relationship between the counsellor and their client and it can enable people to talk about their experiences and to make sense of them. It can allow people to express difficult feelings and to learn how to manage them in a helpful way. Counsellors are trained to listen thoughtfully and carefully to people’s problems without judging or criticising them. They do not give advice, but support their clients to make positive decisions for themselves.
Is it confidential?
Anything discussed in the counselling session is treated confidentially. Counselling is a time when it is possible to talk about concerns without fear of them being discussed elsewhere. Ensuring confidentiality of the work is crucial for establishing trust so that children and young people feel confident to speak openly and freely about what is concerning them. This includes not discussing the work with school staff or parents, unless the child or young person requests or gives consent for this and accessing counselling which is also confidential. Good practice involves a partnership with parents and the counsellor will always encourage a young person to explore how they could be supported in informing parents about counselling if this is appropriate and in line with their wishes.
However, if the young person or someone else appears to be in danger of any serious harm, it may be appropriate to seek help from other agencies to keep them safe. The counsellor would aim to discuss this first with the young person concerned.
All professional counsellors receive supervision of their work to ensure the quality of their practice and this is also confidential.
Who is the School Counsellor?
A professionally qualified counsellor with experience of working with children and young people.
How are referrals made to the Counselling service?
Referrals may be made through Mrs C Knott, Senior Leadership Team Link for the School Counselling Service. The request may come from you, a staff member, another professional or your child who can self-refer.
What if I don’t want my child to receive counselling?
If a young person in secondary school requests counselling and is considered to be “Gillick/Frazer competent” then they have the right to access counselling independently. It is always preferable that your support is given for counselling but you may not deny your child access to counselling if they have sufficient maturity and judgement to fully understand what is proposed. Seeing a counsellor is entirely voluntary and therefore it will ultimately be your child’s decision. The counsellor would prefer that you support the work and will be happy to talk with you about any concerns that you may have about the idea of counselling.
What if my child says private things about my family?
It is understandable that you might feel worried about what your child may wish to talk about in their counselling. However, the counsellor is not there to judge you or anyone else in your family, their sole purpose is to help your child to manage their problems in a way that helps them achieve their full potential and build their resilience and self-confidence in a positive way.
Can I ask my child about the counselling sessions?
Experience shows that the most helpful thing a parent/carer can do is to show an acceptance of counselling as a normal and useful activity. The counselling relationship is very private and personal and each child will respond differently to it. Some children may wish to talk about the sessions, while others may wish to keep the content of the sessions to themselves. It is important to be guided by your child and to respect these individual differences. There may be times when your child seems more upset following a counselling session and this may be because they have been talking about painful feelings. Showing sensitivity to their distress, while also respecting their right to privacy is a difficult but important balance for parents or carers to achieve. It is hoped that the counselling relationship will lead to greater openness with parents and families but this can take time to happen.
Can I contact the Counsellor to find out how things are going?
The counsellor has a confidential relationship with your child and has a duty to them not to share any information without their agreement and/or knowledge. If the counsellor has any serious concerns it will have been discussed with your child that the counsellor will have to share that information. If you have any serious concerns, please contact Mrs C Knott, Senior Leadership Team Link for the School Counselling Service, at school.