Working with Children and Young People
Being a child is not always fun. If there are issues happening in the family home, with extended family members or friends at school, children can feel unhappy, confused, fearful and anxious. Often they don’t know what they are feeling or how to express their emotions. Because they are confused by their feelings or fearful, this can be expressed through ‘acting out’ behaviour, where they may show anger. Equally they may become withdrawn or tearful or they may develop obsessive behaviours, such as rituals, in an attempt to feel safe and normalise their feelings. I can offer a therapeutic space where I will help your child express and understand what they are feeling and to look for healthy coping strategies. With small children I often use play therapy as a channel for them to explore and understand, at their age appropriate level, what is going on for them. ( for example, media such as art, clay, sand, miniature objects, puppets etc.
Adolescence can be an exciting time, those hedonistic years with your whole life ahead of you hopefully full of exciting opportunities, but it can also be a time of great confusion and pressure and questions of ‘Who am I?' ‘What do I want?' ‘What’s it all about’ etc., It’s a time of huge developmental changes – cognitive, physical and psychological. If we throw on top of all that, issues such as parental separation, divorce, illness, bereavement, friendship/relationship difficulties, feeling under pressure, peer pressure, pressure from media and social media, issues around body image and self esteem then it can be a very challenging and confusing time.
Any issues that are getting in the way of our emotional happiness and school, social and family life can benefit from counselling.
Therapy can offer you a confidential, non-judgemental, comfortable, space where you can explore your concerns or problems, your feelings, thoughts and behaviours with someone who doesn’t know you and is not emotionally connected to you or involved in your everyday life. This means that a counsellor can help you look at and understand things objectively.
I will always believe you and support you in the best way I can. Sometimes we will just talk, other times I may use creative strategies to help you to make sense of and express your emotions. Sometimes I use CBT strategies to look at and challenge our deep rooted patterns of thinking and behaving and unhealthy beliefs.
The therapy I offer is a collaborative process where we work together at your pace and if there are deep, painful issues, only if and when you are ready will I help you express them. The process is client led, so you never have to talk about anything you are uncomfortable with. I am here to support you in the best way for you and I recognise that everyone is an individual. It can be very powerful and therapeutic just having a confidential space away from your daily life, and people in it, to say out loud thoughts and feelings. It can help you make sense of them and to unravel any confusion.
What it isn't
It isn’t somewhere you can be made to go against your will. Family, school staff, friends etc. can recommend it but ultimately it is your choice. In the counselling process you won’t be told what to do – we will look at ways forward and coping strategies together. All Counsellors have to have their own therapy whilst training so I know how it feels to sit in the opposite chair.
Life is a journey and all of us sometimes face bumps along that journey. We all at times feel down, worried, stressed, anxious, angry or sad. We may have times where we are full of self doubt or questioning many things.
If we were physically unwell we accept that and see a doctor or other health professional when necessary. Our emotional and mental health ( and mental health includes any of the above – stress, anxiety etc.) is just as important – and BOTH ARE LINKED e.g. often if we are under stress or feel depressed we encounter headaches or bad backs or necks etc., We may have stomach problems or feel sick, problems with sleeping which can deplete our immune system leading to virus’s etc., EQUALLY – if we have a physical illness it can lead to anxiety, worry, depression etc.
When feelings and worries are kept inside they sit there like a poison, weighing us down, increasing anxiety and stress. We may try to keep busy and ignore them, but if they are not expressed and worked through, eventually the poison bubbles up to the surface and leaks out in other ways e.g. depression, anger, insomnia, anxiety, self harming, eating issues.
You have to feel ready to talk to a counsellor and to feel you have a choice in the process.
Young people can see a counsellor for any issues however big or small. Some people come long term, others just want a one off session. It depends on the issue causing your worry or concern. Generally we would meet for six sessions and then review. We may have set some goals you want to achieve or you may feel you have achieved what you wanted and feel more able to cope.
Ultimately I will offer you a confidential space to explore what may be preventing you from feeling happy and not being able to cope with life’s challenges and to look at blocks to your living your life happily and fully.