Counselling provides the opportunity to talk about things that are of concern, in confidence, with a qualified Counsellor. What is spoken about will depend on the individual, but common themes are stress, relationships, change, loss, and distressing, traumatic events. Our Counsellors are professionally qualified with experience of working with children and young people. They are trained to listen without judging and to help children and young people sort out their thoughts and feelings about whatever is concerning them.
Few of us are able to work well when we are stressed or unhappy. The impact of distressing or difficult situations can be felt even more acutely by children and young people than by adults. Our experience is that young people find counselling useful in the same way as adults. If children and young people are able to receive emotional support from a qualified professional they will have greater opportunity to fulfil their potential. Counselling may be for a few sessions, or longer term, each session lasting 50 minutes. It is reviewed regularly between the Counsellor and the young person.
Just because your child is accessing counselling does not mean that you have failed as a parent/guardian. We all experience occasions when it feels hard to speak to those closest to us about things which are bothering us. Often this can be because we don’t want to worry those we love best, or because we want help thinking things through with someone unbiased. The Counsellor will not be judging you or your child, but looking to help them find their way through whatever is troubling them.
An essential feature of counselling is that the information disclosed is treated confidentially. It enables the young person to open up and share feelings without fear of blame or reprisals. It is also a time when it is acceptable to talk about concerns without fear of them being discussed elsewhere. This includes not discussing the work with parents, unless the young person requests or gives consent for this. We acknowledge that this isn’t an easy situation for parents, and it is quite natural for you to feel anxious about what may be being said in the sessions, but ensuring the confidentiality of the work is crucial for establishing trust so that the young person feels confident to speak openly and freely about what is concerning them. A young person’s right to privacy and confidentiality is legally established in the Human Rights Act 1998 article 8.
Although the contents of the sessions will be confidential within the counselling service, we require the right to breach confidentiality in some specific circumstances:
However, if they appear to be at risk of significant harm it may be appropriate to seek help from other agencies to keep them safe; if appropriate you will be informed of this. The Counsellor would discuss this first with the young person concerned.
Our experience shows that the most helpful thing a parent can do is to show an acceptance of counselling as a normal and useful activity, and to show an interest if their son/daughter wishes to talk about it, but not to press them if they don’t.
All information about the counselling work undertaken is kept on a secure electronic record keeping system, in line with current data protection regulations, which can only be accessed by the Counselling Staff. Notes of the sessions are also kept on this system but only the Counsellor involved has access to these. This information will be held for 7 years and then disposed of in an appropriate manner that ensures the preservation of confidentiality. All records and information remain the property of the counselling service. The service works within the Ethical Framework of the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP). If there is any cause for complaint, you or your child are welcome to contact the Counsellor or the Counselling Manager who will try to resolve any issues of concern.
If after reading this information, you have any more questions please contact us. It is our intention to keep you or the school updated with your child’s progress, within the limits of confidentiality, however you will need to allow a little time for this to happen.