What is counselling?
Counselling is a way of helping people. Counsellors work with a wide range of concerns including anxiety, depression, bereavement, loneliness, self-esteem, difficulties in relationships, self-injury and 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. Counselling can also 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.
What if my child says private things about my family?
It is important that your child feels free to talk about experiences in the family that may be troubling or confusing. It matters that you give approval to your child to talk to the counsellor. It is understandable that you might feel worried about what your child may wish to talk about in their counselling. However, you should bear in mind that the strict code of ethics that counsellors follow includes clauses about confidentiality. I am not here to judge you or anyone else in your family, my sole purpose is to help your child to manage their problems and to try to resolve them in a positive way.
Can I ask my child about the counselling sessions?
The counselling relationship is very private and personal, and each child will respond differently to it. Some children may wish to talk to their parents about the sessions, while others, especially teenagers, 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.
Can I ask my child’s counsellor how the sessions are going?
It is natural that you will want to know how your child is getting on in their counselling. I can arrange to meet with you periodically to review progress, but I will only do this with your child’s consent and knowledge of what is to be discussed. It is important to remember that I will have agreed to a confidential relationship with your child and have a duty to safeguard confidentiality. The only very rare exception to this would be if I thought that your child was at serious risk of harming themselves or others.
How long will my child need to see a counsellor for?
The time period is usually decided at the end of the first meeting between the counsellor and their client. I work with the child for a minimum of 8 sessions but this can be re-negotiated during the counselling sessions.
“The ending of a relationship is as mysterious as its beginning.”
Moore – 1994:191