COUNSELLING INFORMATION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

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I've worked in schools, community centres, alternative education settings and for specialist youth counselling organisations, for the past 15 years.  I'm committed to playing my part in providing solid jargon-free support for young people when it's needed.  I know relationships with adults can be tricky though ... so it can seem a bit of a jump to consider talking to one.

Timing is very important and I won't work with anyone unless they decide themselves that they want to do so.  Therefore, if a parent or someone who cares for you contacts me to make an enquiry I will always meet with you first.  We would also set up an agreement about keeping what we speak about private, unless you tell me you are in danger, and this is explained to your parents or other adults who are involved with you as well.  You can ask questions about the therapy during a planned phone call in advance of a first meeting too, if you would prefer.  

If you are under the age of 16 and you make contact with me yourself you will need to involve a parent or appropriate adult. This is because it is helpful for you to have support from another adult outside the counselling - someone who is aware you are attending and who can offer you additional help. 

If you decide to work with me, we’ll be focusing on your goals and going at your pace.  I don’t tell people what to do and I don’t pretend to be an “expert”.  I listen well and I try to understand things from your point of view.  Basically, I offer you the opportunity to talk to someone outside of your normal life about whatever feels ok for you to talk about at that point and time.  Trust takes time to develop but the theory is that through having this space on a regular basis to talk to someone who is tuned in, accepting and understanding of you, things will gradually begin to change.  This includes how you feel about yourself, how you deal with your relationships, your moods, behaviour, your ability to cope, and lots more. 

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Sometimes people don’t like to talk, find it too difficult or feel concerned that they won’t know what to say for a whole session. I understand this – every time I meet with someone new that’s a whole new relationship and we will work together to find a way to communicate.  It’s not all about the words, and sometimes just getting yourself into the counselling room is the hardest thing about it. 

If you think you might be interested in a non-talking type of therapy you might like to consider sandplay.  Just to clarify in case you are put off by the “play”, this is not just for kids and does not involve actually playing with toys.  It’s just the name Dora Kalff, the person who founded it, gave to it.  In sandplay you set up pictures in a big rectangular box of sand, using miniature figures and objects.  The process of actually doing this is often peaceful and calming, and the beauty of it is that you don’t need to explain or even understand yourself what it’s about.  Carl Jung, a famous psychoanalyst whose theories greatly influence sandplay and who worked closely with Dora Kalff said, “The hands know how to solve a riddle with which the intellect has wrestled in vain.”   

I hope this has answered some of your questions about counselling.  Some other sources of help for young people which I can recommend are:

https://www.childline.org.uk/ Info, advice and support on many issues such as friends, bullying, family, health, sex, feelings, school

https://youngminds.org.uk/ Advice and support for mental health and wellbeing

http://start360.org/how-can-we-help-you  Support with health, drugs & alcohol, jobs

http://hopeagain.org.uk/   Support for bereavement

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