Published on March 20, 2024

What Is School Counselling?

School counselling is a confidential service that allows students to talk to a qualified counsellor within the school about any issues or concerns that they may be facing. The counsellor is there to listen to the student’s thoughts and feelings without judgement and help them to manage them. The issues may vary for each individual, but common themes include stress, anxiety, relationship or friendship issues, bereavement, traumatic events, divorce and family breakdown.

What I Do

As a school counsellor, I am a qualified professional with experience in providing counselling sessions for children and young people. My role is to listen to the students without judgement and help them sort out their thoughts and feelings about whatever might be concerning them.

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What I Don’t Do

It’s important to note that as a counsellor, I do not take sides or tell your child what to do or how to live their life. I aim to assist your child in looking at their feelings and choices, and encourage them to make their own decisions. Additionally, I do not share everything that is discussed during the counselling sessions, as this could have a negative impact on the therapy.

What Qualifications, Memberships And Experience To Look For

School counsellors will hold a recognised counselling qualification and are often members of professional counselling organisations such as the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), National Counselling and Psychotherapy Society (NCPS), or UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP).

They have experience working with children and understand how to effectively support them in engaging with the counselling process. Additionally, they have undergone an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and possess safeguarding knowledge to ensure the safety of your child.

Parental Consent Ind involvement

Depending on the age of your child, you may be asked to sign a consent form, known as a counselling contract, before counselling takes place. If your child is in secondary school, they will be assessed for Gillick competency and may not require parental consent to receive school counselling.

Counselling works best with parental support and openness. As a parent, the most helpful thing you can do is to recognise counselling as a normal and beneficial practice, be available to talk about it if your child wishes to do so, but also respect their privacy if they prefer not to discuss it.

Counselling Sessions

Your child is free to talk about anything they wish during their counselling sessions. The sessions are private and confidential, which means that whatever they share will not be discussed outside of the session unless there is a risk of harm to themselves or others. This is an important aspect of counselling to ensure your child feels safe and at ease while expressing themselves during their sessions.

What Are The Benefits Of Seeing A Counsellor In School?

It is evident that when we experience stress or discontent, it can be difficult for us to work or even function properly. Distressing or challenging situations can also greatly affect our children and young people. Receiving emotional support from a suitably qualified person within the school, allows pupils to express their feelings and process a situation in a safe space, removing barriers to reaching their full potential.

In addition to emotional benefits, there are practical advantages as well. The session will take place during school hours, in a familiar setting, and with a member of staff qualified in counselling that the pupil may recognise as a part of the school team. The counsellor will arrange a suitable time within the school day to ensure your child does not miss out on their learning as much as possible.

If My Child Sees A Counsellor Does This Mean I Am Failing As A Parent?

Definitely not! There are times when we all find it difficult to open up to our loved ones about our problems. This could be because we don’t want to burden them, or perhaps we need a fresh perspective from someone impartial. The counsellor’s role is not to judge you or your child, but to help them work through whatever is troubling them. Encouraging your child to seek counselling promotes seeking support as a normal part of life, which they can carry with them into adulthood.

You may also find this article useful ‘My Child Doesn’t Want To Leave Me At The School Gates’

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The Impact On Children

It is so easy to be told that you need to put your children first when we are separating, but what does it actually mean? When your life is turmoil and emotions are running high this can feel daunting when there are so many things to think about. If you have a child with someone, then regardless of whatever you think of them or whatever they might have done, they will still have an important role to play in the life of your child. Exceptions to this are rare. Possessive language that excludes or minimises the role of the other parent can negatively impact the relationship between that parent and the child and can increase conflict and make it more difficult to co-parent. We know that conflict and/or parental absence in particular has a negative impact on children.

Parents need to create the right conditions for children to thrive.

For children, whilst separation will bring inevitable feelings of loss and change, they can still thrive if their parents work in partnership to create the right conditions. We know that children are more likely to adapt with fewer problems, and less emotional distress, when parents are able to part with compassion and continue to work together in partnership even when they are not together. On this hub you will find lots of article and tips on how to minimise the impact on children. For example; how do you set up two homes? How do you co-parent well? What does it mean to put your children first? How do you tell your child you are separating? What do I tell the school? What about holidays? And much more...

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