Counselling for teenagers and pre-teens
Many young people are unhappy and not sure how to change things, or even that change is possible. They can feel trapped, ignored, not good enough. Too easily, they can worry they are different, wrong in some way, outside the group. They may be confused by what is happening to them, or hate aspects of themselves, particularly when it seems other people want them to be something else. Sadly, these difficulties lead to destructive, and self-destructive, thoughts and behaviours which are also easily misunderstood by others around them.
As talking with me has no immediate consequences (unless there is a risk of harm) it gives the young person a chance to think about how they feel about whatever is worrying them. I can offer a different perspective that is usually helpful but always neutral - no advice, no homework, no agenda. They begin to feel safer, more in control, ready to explore.
I offer children and young people a welcoming space with a chance to talk and be listened to, without criticism or judgement, in confidence. For some, it's a huge relief to be able to open up to an adult who understands but is not directly involved.
Some find other ways to communicate, through play, stories, drawings and metaphor. I am here to give the child or young person help to understand, and find their voice, eventually to communicate better with the people that matter. Sometimes we'll discuss whether or not to invite a parent or other family members into a session but I do not disclose what has been said in the young person's sessions, as they are private.
Quite often, it is someone else's idea for a young person to see a counsellor, but, once we have met, it must always be the young person's choice to continue. People under 16 who have "sufficient understanding and intelligence to enable them to understand fully what is involved in a proposed intervention" are deemed in law to have the competence to consent, as well as the right to confidentiality.