Do you tell anyone else about what they say to you? Do you tell their doctor?
Counsellors make is plain to the children and young people they meet that counselling is a safe environment in which to talk about their feelings and experiences. If they are primary-aged children, the counsellor will already have received parental consent and, with their permission, will intend to include parents and teachers in the plans that are made.
If a young child tells us anything which is a danger to them or anyone else, it is be explained that we have to tell someone else to make sure they are safe. This can be their doctor or someone else who may be able to help. We always tell the child if this is going to happen, which is not very often.
Anything else in the counselling session is between the child and the counsellor. With secondary students who are deemed to be Fraser Competent, we do not require parental consent. But the same rule applies regarding any disclosure of information which endangers the young person or another child. Again, anything else is between the counsellor and the young person and, as such, is therefore confidential.
Can a child come back to see the counsellor again?
Counsellors usually spend between one and eight sessions lasting 40/50 minutes with a child or young person. It may be that they only want to come for two or three sessions and that is fine. It may be that after their eight sessions, even some time later, that they need to come and see the counsellor again, and that is fine, too. The counsellor talks to them and school staff when this is needed.
How can I get our school involved?
If you think that Valley Trust may be a good addition to the support you offer children and young people in your school, then simply contact us and the Manager will arrange to visit you and talk through the setting up of a service, what it involves, how it works and what it costs. We can also put you in touch with other school Heads with experience of having a similar service, to tell you how it has worked for them.
Why is counselling of value to our children and young people?
When children and young people are facing strong feelings about events going on around them, at home or at school, it can impact on their behaviour or ability to concentrate at school and make them feel vulnerable. Difficulty in relationships at home, with friends, schoolwork, bullying, bereavement or any other number of issues can all be explored in a safe and supportive environment with the counsellor. The counsellor can also work together with parents and teachers to look for better ways of supporting the child or young person. Parents and teachers often see a marked difference when children and young people have the chance to talk through their feelings with a skilled counsellor within the school setting.
How long does it take to get started?
Counsellors in your school will have an appointment system where they prioritise children and young people who have been referred to them, or, in secondary schools, where they have referred themselves. We are not an emergency service but we will try and see children as soon as possible, especially if the Link Person in school has highlighted there is a particular urgency. Once an appointment is made, the child will have regular – usually 8 weekly sessions, or until the counselling is complete.