I am a UKCP Registered specialist Child and Adolescent Psychotherapeutic Counsellor. I have the skills and in depth theoretical understanding to work effectively with the full range of mental health, emotional and behavioural issues that trouble children and teenagers.
As a parent/carer you need the reassurance that the counsellor you choose has the right experience and personality to engage with and help your child. You also need a professional who is able to gain your trust and support you through a difficult time in family life, whilst maintaining the very important safe and confidential space of the child's therapy.
Therapy for children is very different to adult counselling. It involves a mix of talking, play, creative activities, storytelling, music, and drama/role play. Following an in-depth assessment, my counselling is carefully adapted to the individual needs/issues and developmental age of the child - which may not be the same as their developmental age in years, or consistent across all areas.
Examples of issues I have experience of working with include: anxiety and depression, self harm, suicidal thoughts and attempts, trauma and dissociation, identity, self esteem, being bullied or bullying, anger and emotional outbursts, autistic spectrum conditions, ADD/ADHD, learning difficulties, physical health conditions, young carers, sexuality and gender, including several young transgender clients.
As well as working with the child in one to one counselling, I also work closely with parents/carers. My aim is not to form a substitute attachment with the child in therapy with me, but to empower parents to continue to be the main source of emotional support and care - which can become very challenging with a troubled child. Parents may be present in some sessions, have their own sessions, or a mixture. I aim to be flexible and assess carefully how I may best meet the needs of the child within the family setting.
Sometimes when children are struggling at school, it can be helpful for me to work with education staff and provide advice and guidance on how to support the child.
I also may refer on to other professionals, sometimes whilst continuing to see the child myself whilst liaising with other mental health agencies, at other times we may need to bring our therapy to an end.
I have a full, up-to-date, enhanced DBS check for the child and adult workforce and up to date safeguarding training.