What is Children and Young Persons' Counselling?
Counsellors who work with young people have mostly completed a specialist training in working with this client group in addition to their own initial training. They come from a variety of modalities which include verbal therapies and also art psychotherapy and music therapy, but have been taught the Geldard and Geldard Proactive model which is a way of working with young people in three stages: joining, assessing and addressing. This model encompasses adolescent communication skills, creative and symbolic strategies and is rooted in existentialist and social constructionist philosophy. They have an in depth understanding of child and adolescent development as well as a range of specific legal, ethical and mental health issues and ensure that they offer a reparative relationship, based in attachment and neuroscientific theories at the core of their work.
How does it work?
Counselling with young people can happen over a number of sessions or even in one session, depending upon the young client’s needs and differs from similar interventions with adults. With adolescents, the therapist will use his or her inner adolescent and attune, both physically and emotionally with the client, paralleling adolescent communication styles. This ensures that the client feels heard and acknowledged and feels able to build a trusting relationship with the therapist. Young people generally need a far more proactive way of working and do not often work in a linear fashion but more cyclically. The counsellor needs to be able to use a lot of energy and skills to enable the client to communicate their story and feelings. This entails offering a variety of creative media for use in the session which includes sand trays, puppets, miniatures, clay and other art and craft materials. The counsellor will work with the presenting issues and with those which come out of the assessment stage of the process, ensuring that all work is safely held within an ethical and confidential framework. All counselling is subject to the clinic’s child protection procedures.
What can Children and Young Persons' Counselling be used for?
Therapy with this age group varies enormously. Most adolescents go through a time of great change and in an existential framework, this is normal behaviour and is held by family and peers. However, for some young people, their anxieties are such that they need someone to hear them or work with them more intensively or confidentially. In some cases a client needs his or her story witnessed and in others, the client may have specific worries or anxieties that needs addressing. These commonly include: family issues, peer relationships, social anxiety, eating issues, relationship problems, anxieties over school and/or exams, transitions, self harming, gender and sexuality issues and identity issues.
What can I expect from a therapy session?
Your counsellor or therapist will use his or her skills to make you feel welcome and heard and will use the first session to agree a confidential contract with you and find out a bit about what brings you to counselling. The counsellor will meet you in a room which has a variety of resources, which can include art materials, musical instruments, sandtrays and other craft materials. You will be able to talk to your counsellor about what is troubling you and also to use the resources if you find this easier. However there is no expectation that you will use anything else if this doesn’t feel comfortable. The counsellor will listen and observe what is going on for you and help you to find your own way forward. He/she can also signpost you to other useful organisations if you have specific needs.
For more information or to book a session click on the USW logo.