What We Do
Our qualified counsellors and therapists are BACP Accredited Members or are working towards BACP Accreditation. We provide counselling or longer term psychotherapy for Adults, Teenagers and Young people using a range of techniques and integrative models. With younger primary aged children we use therapeutic play and child –friendly techniques such as art, play, drawing, story and games. These techniques are used to enable children and young people to explore their feelings and experiences and tell their stories. Offering a safe and confidential space to express emotions and talk about their problems, our counsellors and therapists can help all clients to understand themselves, feel valued, develop self-esteem, and explore and manage their difficulties.
Our school counsellors are qualified and experienced and know how to listen and help. They take young people’s problem seriously and work with them to find a good solution. They can help young people deal with the sadness when someone has died, or how to manage anxiety and worries as well as help them work through decision’s about going forward in life. Training to be a school counsellor is very thorough. The entry level for qualified counsellors is a Foundation Degree in Counselling or related qualification. Many have Honors Degrees or Post Graduate qualifications such as Master’s Degrees as well as specialist training and certification in counselling. School counsellors keep up-to-date with all the top issues and concerns that affect students, including any trends that might affect them in school. e.g. Support on solving problems and making good decisions. The chances are that whatever problems you have, your counsellor has seen it before — and has lots of good advice on how to help you work through it. Counsellors can also mediate with any problems you may have with a teacher, such as communication difficulties or getting them to understand you are going through a difficult time.
How We Work in Schools
We deliver services to individual schools under Service Level Agreements, or through ad-hoc referrals. Our counsellors and therapists are based in school and see children and young people on a regular basis for individual and/or group counselling. The counsellors and therapists can also work with parents and staff either in school or by agreement outside of school hours. Often teenage students can also self refer to our service, whilst others are referred by a concerned pastoral leaders /teachers and/or head teacher or parents.
We use a number of recognised measurement tools to identify the particular needs and strengths of our clients. These provide a good measurement of progress and changes before, during and after counselling.
Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ)
The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) is used to measure emotions and behaviours in children and young people. We use this tool with parents/carers and teachers to gain insight into the young person’s particular issues. The scales measure:
- Emotional symptoms subscale,
- Conduct problems subscale
- Hyperactivity/inattention subscale
- Peer relationships problem subscale
- Prosocial behavior subscale
We use these scores to assess at the start of therapy and also to measure how effective cousnellign has been in addressing issues. The SDQ can also be completed by children and young people aged 11-17 years old.
Child Outcome Rating Scale (CORS)
Child Outcome Rating Scale (CORS) are measures that can be used to monitor children’s, young people and their families or carers feedback on progress. The CORS was developed for children aged 6 – 12. The outcome scale uses smiley and frowning faces aroudn key dimensions making it more accessible for young children to use:
For YPs aged 9 and above the YP Core self-assessment tool is used. The Clinical Outcomes Routine Evaluation for Young People (Core YP) assists us in understanding the young person’s problems and ultimately, the degree to which we can help with those problems. Scores of 5 and below is considered a ‘healthy level, scores between 10 and 5 indicate low levels of psychological distress, 15 to 10 mild levels, 20 to 15 moderate, 25 to 20 moderate severe and severe levels of psychological distress are indicated for scores between 40 and 25. The YP core is continually monitored so that we can assess the young person’s ongoing levels of psychological distress and subsequently the progress that they are making.
In primary schools parental permission for counselling is ALWAYS required and we always encourage parents and carers to come and meet with us before and after the counselling has finished. In secondary schools this can be very different as whilst we would try to encourage young people to involve parents or carers, we acknowledge that for some this is not always possible.
Confidentiality and Safety
Confidentiality and the safety of all young people is of paramount importance to our work. We will keep confidential everything a young person requests us too, except if there are concerns that a young person is at risk of serious harm. We will always inform a young person and involve them in the decisions we have to make to keep them safe. This will always be explained clearly to a young person each step of the way.