Counselling Young People
Counselling for children and young people is available to provide supportive help for many reasons. It can provide understanding in person-centred therapy, a means of facilitating communication where behavioural issues are concerned or support in a family conflict situation. Counselling gives young people a secure, confidential environment where they can express and understand their feelings, thoughts and emotions.
Working With ChildrenCounsellors working with children and young people need to possess excellent listening skills, patience, understanding and an interest in children. They must also be sensitive to a child’s needs, and to be aware of their own personal feelings towards issues that may arise during their counselling relationship with a child. In some cases, a counsellor may be required to take action and inform other professionals, as a result of information disclosed during a counselling session.
Child ProtectionCounsellors working with children and young people will undergo additional training that is linked to the Child Protection Committee. They will also have established links with the Child Protection Unit in their local area.
What Counselling Offers Young PeopleThe counselling relationship between a counsellor and child is known as ‘joining’, and offers the basic principles that apply to counselling relationships built with adults. This supportive service can be offered as a one-to-one session with the child, or in a family situation, which forms part of group counselling.
Counselling young people:
- Helps establish trust and understanding with a child.
- Encourages the child to tell their story, in a confidential and safe environment.
- Allows the young person to express him/herself, and to explore feelings and thoughts.
- Enables the child to make informed choices.
- Helps the young person develop a positive attitude.
- Helps the young person develop and build confidence and self-esteem.
Time to TalkCounselling does not provide children and young people with answers and solutions to their problems. What it does offer is an opportunity to explore feelings, thoughts and experiences, and to understand and discuss issues that may be on the young person’s mind. Counselling is a supportive relationship built on trust, and is available for a young person to use to enable them to make progress and informed choices. Many young people experience difficulties at home, in school, with their peers and in understanding their feelings and emotions. Making counselling available to this age group provides many benefits for the individuals willing to explore this form of supportive therapy.
Types of CounsellingVery young children can benefit from play therapy, which builds their confidence and self-esteem whilst encouraging open communication in a confidential, safe environment. This type of counselling may also involve role play and creative activities like drama and drawing.
Counselling can help young people understand their thoughts, feelings and worries. It can provide an opportunity to discuss concerns they may have regarding their parents’ divorce, and allows the young person to talk to someone who is completely impartial. Counsellors can also help children overcome bullying, come to terms with the death of someone they love or provide reassurance about other matters. Counselling can also help young people deal with sexual issues and drug and alcohol concerns.