CounsellingThis series of questions and answers provides more information about the Counselling service available to our students. We encourage you to contact our Counselling team directly should you require any further information.

What is Counselling?

Counselling gives young people a regular and confidential space to talk about worries or problems they are experiencing. Talking things through in a confidential setting, with regular appointments over a period of time can often help young people gain new and different perspectives. This can lead to changes in how they feel about themselves, their relationships with others, their thinking and their behaviour – both in and out of school.

How does Counselling work?

Having thoughts, feelings and worries listened to, clarified or understood by someone who is not directly involved in problems or concerns can be hugely beneficial. Often, young people find that having a confidential setting and regular time to talk enables them to build a trusting relationship with which to understand themselves better or in seeking additional help. Counselling can also enable young people to see alternative choices for moving forwards. Sometimes just ‘talking things through’ can help young people to feel clearer or more confident about something they had in mind already.

What do Counsellors and Guidance Teachers do?

Counsellors and Guidance Teachers are trained to listen and understand young people; to see things from their perspective. As well as listening, Counsellors also help young people to clarify their problems or difficulties, see patterns in their relating, thinking and/or behaviour and support them in making positive changes if they wish. Counsellors do not give advice or tell young people what to do – instead they help young people to make their own choices to facilitate personal growth and self-awareness.

Who can come to Counselling?

Any student, at our primary, middle and secondary schools can benefit from the Counselling service provided.

What kind of things might young person talk about?

The issues are wide and varied. Some of these include anxiety, exam-related stress, bullying, family issues, behaviour, relationships, bereavement and sexuality among other issues.

Is Counselling confidential?

In order for young people to feel completely safe and gain trust in receiving help with their concerns, it is essential for confidentiality to be maintained. Confidentiality also supports young people when they want to change their behaviour or be completely honest about some of the more difficult feelings in life, such as sadness, anxiety, fear, shame or anger.  There are however, exceptional circumstances when confidentiality needs to be broken. This is clearly explained to the young person at the start of any Counselling relationship.

Confidentiality will be broken if the Counsellor, or Guidance Teacher, deems a young person at significant risk of harm to either themselves or others during the course of Counselling.  In such cases, parents/guardians are informed, along with a referral onto other external services such as Child Safety Services in order to ensure the care and safety of the young person.  Therapy, along with the help of other professionals is continued, with the best interests of the child in mind.

Can I make an initial appointment on behalf of a young person?

Yes, however, only if the young person requests this or agrees for you to do this on their behalf. It is always a young person’s choice about whether to come to Counselling and they should not be ‘sent’ to Counselling for help or persuaded one way or another, even if school staff, parents/carers or other adults think they could benefit from talking to a Counsellor.

When and where do appointments take place?

Appointments take place weekly or every fortnight, in school in a private, designated room. It is helpful for sessions to take place in the same room each week to promote feelings of trust, safety and confidentiality.

How can young people book an appointment?

Students who wish to have a Counselling session can self-refer themselves by filling in their name, surname and class, onto the papers provided outside each Counselling room and post them in the provided letter boxes.