As much as we may want to support and help children and young people to thrive and live their best lives, sometimes life gets difficult and we are ill-equipped to support the young person in the most helpful way.
This is when reaching out for counselling to support them may be the best course of action for them.
Counselling children and young people is very different to adult counselling and it's important to find the right counsellor for the situation. Additional training for the purpose of working with young people is usually an extra qualification in addition to the adult counselling qualification.
This is to ensure that the legal and safeguarding framework is robust when working with children and young people and it's different to working with adults.
What can you expect from CYP counselling?
Age depending, the sessions can help the child/young person to navigate their own feelings and experiences in a way that is age appropriate. Older children (11 years and above with capacity) can attend the session on their own.
Some of the issues that counselling can help a young person with are; anxiety, bullying, interpersonal difficulties with friends/classmates, family issues at home, sibling rivalry/jealousy, divorce, estranged/absent parent/carer, death of a loved one/pet, moving away, new school, gender issues, romantic relationships, career and further education support, to name a few.
There's no right way to be in the therapy sessions and usually the young person will know if they can and want to work with a specific counsellor.
Sometimes they don't want to, even when the parent wishes it for them and feels it would be in their best interest to get outside support. This can sometimes be difficult for the parent to accept especially when you can see that your child is struggling.
Private one-to-one counselling can take place in a counselling room or online/telephone, depending on the young person's preference.
Look under the Counselling Directory/BACP Directory listings for qualified CYP counsellors to ensure the best support for your child.
Other counselling options for young people:
A lot of schools are currently offering counselling within the school environment and it should be a free service in state schools in Scotland.
Some schools have a self-referral policy (where the young person can talk to a counsellor privately without the parent or pastoral care team being involved in the referral.)
Not all schools offer this, and certainly some schools are actively opposed to offering the service to the young people without the parents consent and won't offer pupils the option of a self-referral. So feel free to ask your child's pastoral care team at school about the service provision for school pupils.
Also, ask where this confidential information of the pupil (the counsellor's session notes) are being held and how this information is used by the school counselling team.
Safeguarding of young people's welfare is paramount but if there is willy nilly access by school staff/others to confidential sessions notes of the pupil that aren't of a safeguarding nature, then this is not a confidential service being offered to the pupils and it's important that this is explained to the young person before they engage in the counselling sessions.
The pastoral staff are usually working with a young person's care and best interests, so don't be afraid to ask the direct questions to get the best service for your child.
Counsellors that work in schools may not have the children and young person's extra certificate qualification either, so don't be afraid to ask about their further experience with children and young people in a therapeutic setting.
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"I'm afraid I'm losing my mind",
"I feel so angry all of the time",
"I want to just run away and hide from everything some days",
"I don't feel like myself at all anymore", "I'm waking up with my heart pounding during the night",
"I'm losing my hair and I'm hot/cold a lot of the time",
"I'm worrying and having panic attacks",
"I'm crying at every silly little thing",
"My joints ache so much I'm afraid that I might have cancer" and
"I feel suicidal"
These are just some of ways that women are describing the experience of peri/menopause for them.
Peri-menopause is the term used for the hormonal state that can typically occur from 44-54 years of age and Menopause from 55 years. Every body is unique so this is a rough estimate.
It's a time that traditionally grandmothers and mothers would have carried on with their respective lives in a "grin and bear it" fashion and it was rarely spoken about between the generations.
Thankfully the tide is slowly turning on this collective silent suffering and the burden of womens experiences is being shared and spoken about openly more and more amongst women of all ages. High profile celebrities like Davina Macall and Meg Matthews and politicians like Nicola Sturgeon have all spoken openly about their own struggles and fears with regards to this "natural time of life."
The main symptom of "hot flashes" are the mainstay of the medcal professions enquiries about how a woman is experiencing the "change" but there are roughly 34 known symptoms that can occur at this time of life.
Some of the lesser known ones are:
- Brain fog/memory issues
- Vaginal dryness
- Decreased sex drive
- Increased sex drive
- Mood swings
- Joint pain
- Panic Disorder/Panic attacks
- Breast Soreness
- Thinning hair
- Disrupted sleep
- Heart palpitations
- Digestion changes/issues
- Burning mouth
- Tingling extremities
- Electric/zapping sensations in the head/body
- Muscle aches
- Altered sense of taste
- Body Odour changes
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Brittle Nails
- Bad breath
- Suicidal thoughts
There's clearly a lot more of those symptoms going on than just the "hot flashes/flushes" and yet they are rarely spoken about in polite society.
Other helpful organisations:
Scotlands Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline remains open 24/7. Please give them a call and they can support you via phone, email or webchat if these issues are affecting you.
The Mental Health Foundation has some great resources on reducing and managing stress too. Have a look at their website.
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I'm a registered memeber with the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) and The FHT (Federation of Holistic Therapists).
I'm also a member of ACAMH (The Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health)
I ahere to their guidelines on the professional code of ethics, standards and best empirical evidence in my counselling practice.
More details about the guidance and complaints procedures of these professional bodies can be found at the links listed below:
What is Counselling?
In a private and confidential setting, the beginning of a therapeutic alliance starts when a person reaches out to a counsellor seeking help.
In a therapeutically held space (either online or face-to-face), the client and counsellor will then aim to explore any difficulties that the client may be experiencing in their life at the present moment.
Psychological pain, bereavement, family and/or relationship breakdowns, examination, self-harming, social anxieties, suicidal thoughts, work or health stress as well as feelings of anger, anxiety, depression, grief, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, sadness, worthlessness to name a few can all be explored and discussed in a therapeutic counselling session with a counsellor.
Being able to express these feelings in an environment of non-judgement and acceptance can help to reduce these intense feelings in a way that allows the client to work through them and to aim to understand their cause. With awareness of the beginnings of these thoughts and feelings, a shift towards a more clear way of thinking and being can emerge for the client.
As every person is unique, there is no magic timeframe within which that happens. Sometimes it can be very quick and other times it can take years but there's no right or wrong way to "do" therapy. It's an individual process.
Will counselling help me?
Not knowing what it is you hope to get from counselling can sometimes put people off reaching out for help. I don’t expect you to bring a neat package of difficulties to each session as each session will be as unique as you are. It’s a personalised experience that is different for every person but that together we will contract and aim to work towards an outcome that you want for your life.
What can I expect from counselling?
Counselling can be very helpful for freeing us from old strictures and conditions of worth that prevent us from moving forward in our lives now.
When you are ready to make the changes you want to make in your life, it would be mindful to note that it can be a painful, emotionally trying time as well and the more prepared you are for this and don’t expect advice or a magic wand to fix everything, the more kind you can be to yourself as you go through the counselling session.
It can be enormously freeing to think that you have made the changes yourself.
Our working, therapeutic relationship:
Counselling is essentially a therapeutic relationship between you (the client) and me (the counsellor).
If you’re unsure about what counselling can do for you, it might be helpful before our first session together to reflect on these points:
- What do you want from counselling?
- What is your difficulty that you’d like to talk through?
- How long have you been affected by this?
- How much does this affect you in your life?
Once you’ve decided to go for it, we will spend fifty minutes per session together as often or as little as you require.
We will contract our terms, working alliance (i.e. what you want/hope to achieve from our sessions together) and I’ll explain a bit about what I do as a person-centred counsellor.
Our sessions will usually take place on the same day at the same time weekly so that we can establish a routine.
Our brains like routine as it means there's no uncertainty to anticipate. Uncertainty isn't well tolerated/ enjoyed by everyone. However, this won't suit everyone as the process time for each person is not the same and you may prefer a 2 week break between sessions to work through what we talk about in the sessions.
Nothing is set in stone and it's up to us together to work out a counselling plan that works for your unique self and circumstances.
Female friendly kind caring Psychotherapy counsellor therapist Glasgow city centre Anxiety depression panic trauma person centred counselling
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