Counselling for Young People
How Can Counselling Help Young People?
Counselling gives a young person the opportunity to talk about what’s going on for them and how they feel without the fear of judgement. Speaking to a professional therapist, in a safe environment away from their home and school life can take some of the pressure away. Here at The Edinburgh Counselling Service, we provide a warm, safe and accepting space for them to express their feelings and understand what may have caused them to feel this way.
We use practice-led and evidence-based therapeutic approaches to inform my approach with younger people.
There are a number of methods that we may use to encourage a child or young person to explore their emotions, such as through play or reading stories and talking about the feelings of a specific character. This can help them to understand emotions and encourage them to discuss their own feelings. We may also utilise creative ways of exploring themes such as self-esteem and self-image, for example drawing or scrapbooking what makes me ‘me’, or using emotion thermometers to gauge our emotions.
Older children may prefer talking or a mixture of both talking and creative activities. This is down to the individual and we will discuss the situation together with them to learn what method will be most beneficial.
As well as extensive experience as a therapist, our practitioners have a great deal of experience working with children in schools, nursery and in one-to-one settings. We know that as a parent or caregiver, it can be really daunting taking your child to talk to someone. You may believe that taking your child to see a therapist means you've done something wrong as a parent, but this couldn't be further from the truth. By considering counselling, and taking these first steps, you're showing care and commitment to your child. We try to reassure caregivers and make sure they feel part of the process, while respecting the young person's needs for a confidential space.
Everyday Worries and Relationship Issues
Low Mood and Depression
Areas of Specialism
When counselling those under the age of 16, I go through a counselling contract with the child/ young person and the parents or caregivers. There will be opportunities for parents and caregivers to engage in the counselling process with their child/ young person, such as in the initial session and during therapy reviews. It is important that I provide a confidential space for young people, and that parents or caregivers understand I cannot disclose what we discuss in the counselling room. The exception to this if I am concerned the child or young person is at risk of harming themselves or another, or if a child protection issue is raised. Children/ young people are very welcome to discuss their counselling sessions with their parents or caregivers.
Keeping Parents Involved
Signs your Child may Benefit from Counselling
Avoidant behaviours, e.g. excuses not to go to school or attend family gatherings
Difficulty adjusting to social situations
Expressing thoughts of suicide
Experienced a recent trauma or significant event that impacts their lives, like loss or parental separation
Frequent nightmare and sleep difficulties
Increased physical complaints
Loss of appetite and dramatic weight loss or gain
Performing obsessive routines like hand washing
Persistent worry and anxiety
Self-harm such as cutting
Social isolation and wanting to be alone
Sudden changes in behaviour or a fall in grades at school
Withdrawing from activities they normally enjoy
Get in Touch Now
If you feel something is amiss, or there is something is making you or your child unhappy, however small you or they feel it is please know support is available. Please note under sixteens will require parental consent before beginning counselling. All therapists who work with children hold an up to date PVG for working with both Children and Vulnerable Adults.