Information for Parents and Guardians

WHAT IS COUNSELLING?

Counselling is a way of helping people with personal problems. Counsellors work with a wide range of concerns including anxiety, depression, bereavement, loneliness, self-esteem, difficulties in relationships, identity, abuse, self-injury drug, dependency and eating problems.

Counselling is based on building a trusting relationship between the counsellor and client. It can help people talk about their experiences and make sense of them. Counselling can allow people to express difficult feelings and to learn how to manage them in a helpful way. Counsellors are trained to listen thoughtfully and carefully to people’s problems without judging or criticising. They do not give advice but support their clients to make positive decisions for themselves and suggest strategies that may help.

IS MY CHILD SEEING SOMEONE WHO IS PROPERLY TRAINED?

We run a British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) accredited service. Our counsellors are trained in therapeutic counselling, have a background in working with young people and have valid Enhanced DBS Checks. All of them attend 1.5 hours with trained supervisors per month and undertake Continuing Professional Development throughout the year. Our counsellors are members of the BACP and many have their Certificate of Proficiency, a voluntary exam which demonstrates their competencies.

As part of our work we also take on trainee counsellors who are in the final stage of their counselling Diploma or Masters. We only take on counsellors who have previous counselling experience and have passed a YiS skills-based interview. All trainee counsellors receive additional support and supervision through their course.

CAN I ATTEND THE INITIAL MEETING OR FIRST SESSION WITH MY CHILD?

We understand that it can be difficult for you to not feel involved or part of your child's counselling process. This is normal and understandable. However, we are here to provide the best possible service we can for your child. Counselling works because a new and objective relationship is built between the counsellor and the client and therefore we do not allow any others, including YiS staff and volunteers, to be present in the room during intake meetings or counselling sessions.

WHAT IF MY CHILD SAYS PRIVATE THINGS ABOUT MY FAMILY?

It is important that your child feels free to talk about experiences in the family that may be troubling or confusing to them. It matters that you give your child approval to talk to the counsellor. It is understandable you might feel worried about what your child may wish to talk about in counselling. However, the counsellors follow a strict Code of Ethics, including confidentiality. This means that they will not discuss or repeat anything that your child says, to anyone outside of YIS (unless they are told about someone in danger).

The counsellor is not there to judge you or anyone else in your family, their sole purpose is to help your child manage their problems and try to resolve them in a positive way.

CAN I ASK MY CHILD ABOUT THEIR COUNSELLING SESSIONS?

The counselling relationship is very private and personal, and each person will respond differently. Some children may talk about their sessions, while others, especially teenagers, may wish to keep the content of the sessions to themselves. It is important to be guided by your child and to respect these individual differences. There may be times when your child seems upset following a counselling session, and this may be because they have been talking about painful feelings. Showing sensitivity to distress, while also respecting their right to privacy, is a difficult but important balance for parents to achieve.

CAN I ASK MY CHILD’S COUNSELLOR HOW SESSIONS ARE GOING?

It is natural that you will want to know how your child is getting on in their counselling. Some counsellors may arrange to meet with you to review progress. They will only do this with your child’s consent and knowledge of what is to be discussed. It is important to remember the counsellor will have agreed to a confidential relationship with your child and has a duty to stick to this. The only very rare exception to this would be if the counsellor thought your child was at serious risk of harming themselves or others.

HOW LONG WILL MY CHILD NEED TO SEE A COUNSELLOR FOR?

After an initial meeting which gives space for the young person to ask questions and find out about counselling, as well as allowing us to make sure that counselling is the right type of support, our clients are offered six sessions over six weeks. Progress is reviewed regularly however, and in some cases the client and the counsellor may agree that less sessions are required, or that more sessions will be needed. Once a client has finished their first set of sessions, they are always welcome to come back to the service should they choose to do so.

WHAT ABOUT ME?

For more resources for parents and guardians you can visit the Young Minds website’s ‘For Parents’ section: http://www.youngminds.org.uk/for_parents/parents_guide

Young Minds also provide a helpline for any adult worried about the emotional problems, behaviour or mental health of a child or young person aged up to 25. You can call them on 0800 802 5544 on Mondays to Fridays between 9:30am and 4pm or email them at parents@youngminds.org.uk (replies may take up to three days).

If you would like counselling for yourself, you can visit http://www.itsgoodtotalk.org.uk/ to find local counsellors and counselling services for adults.

If you have further questions, comments or need to make a complaint, please do contact us on 01908 604700 or info@mkyis.org.uk.