Counselling for Children

Life happens and as hard as we try to protect our children, they can sometimes show signs that it is affecting them. I believe all behaviour is a communication! The question is, what is this communication about? 

Children can act out in quite unpredictable ways at school and/or at home. Often the behaviour displayed at school, is quite different to the behaviour that is displayed at home. A lot of children, especially when still young, have not yet developed the language to be able to voice and put words to their emotions to tell us specifically what’s wrong. A part of what I aim to do, is help your child develop an understanding of what they are feeling, and what that might mean.

Children are resilient! Sometimes though, they need the opportunity to spend time with someone who is not a family member, who can offer them a different way of reacting, engaging and thinking. It’s not just about listening to words.  It’s about observing reactions, body language and difference, which is done more easily in a one-to-one therapeutic environment.

My Counselling approach is Psychodynamic, which means I look at what might be going on unconsciously for the child, the parents and the family. Often when behaviour is not understood, it is because unconscious defences are at play. I am fascinated by generational family patterns.   We tend to parent the same way we were parented without thinking. It is what we learnt from an early age. Sometimes it takes someone from outside the family, to be able to notice these patterns. I can help you think about whether this approach is beneficial to your family environment and what might create more balance and harmony.

With Children (under 14), I initially meet with the parents in order to understand the history of the family and the child’s early years. I then have 6 sessions with the child. After which, I will have a review with the parents. It is then decided together, whether to continue working with the child or whether it might be more useful to offer parental session/s. The number of sessions is variable depending on the needs of the family. Often children of this age find it far too intimidating to just sit and talk. I have a play therapy cupboard with therapy led craft, toys and games. Sometimes we sit in the chairs and often we sit on floor. This process is very much led by your child and what makes them feel comfortable. With young children it is much more about the way they play, react and engage, then it is about what they are actually saying with words. 

With Adolescents (14+), I tend to agree any parental involvement, depending on what parents and adolescent’s feel would be most beneficial, on a case by case basis. Children of this age are much more able to engage in sitting/talking therapy. However, to ease the understandable initial nervousness at the prospect, if appropriate, I do offer the play therapy cupboard. I believe it is important to find a way to enable children to be themselves. However, no single approach is useful to all. It’s about figuring out a way to support and encourage your child, so that they can find their own way to tackle what it is they are finding so difficult.

With Parental Support, I offer review sessions as often as requested and at least every 6-10 sessions. Sometimes it is not necessary to meet with child. Sometimes parent/s just need to talk through what seems to be going on for their child, exploring new ways to support their child and exploring new approaches to the issue.