School Counsellor

What is counselling?

Counselling (or therapy) gives young people a regular and confidential space to explore and express any worries or problems they are experiencing. This can be done either through talking or by using the creative materials offered within the session. Sessions usually take place weekly over a period of time and working in this way in a confidential setting can support emotional healing and offer support for ongoing strategies and self-care to support their needs, whether this be around relationships, behaviour or any other worries.

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 or explore through art or play enables them to build a trusting relationship with which to understand themselves better or get further help in other places if they need it. Counselling can also enable young people to see alternative choices for moving forwards as well as offering a place of catharsis and soothing if they need it. The counselling / therapy room is a safe space where students will not be judged and they are allowed to just ‘be’.

What does a counsellor do?

Counsellors are specially trained to listen and understand young people, to be alongside them throughout the work and to meet their individual needs through whatever means suits them best – whether that be talking, play, art, music or movement. As well as listening, counsellors are able to support exploration of any problems or difficulties and gain clarity of these, see patterns in their relating, thinking and/or behaviour and support them in making positive changes if they wish. Counsellors do not offer specific guidance, 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.

What kind of things might a young person talk to a counsellor about?

The issues are wide and varied. Some of these include: anxiety; bullying; family; behaviour; relationships; bereavement; self-harm; depression; sexuality; divorce and separation.

Is counselling confidential?

Yes, however there are exceptional circumstances when confidentiality needs to be broken and the child protection policies of the school are followed. This is clearly explained to the young person at the start of any counselling relationship with an understanding that the service is ‘private but not secret’.

Why is it so important that counselling sessions are kept confidential?

In order for young people to feel completely safe and trust the counsellor to help them 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.

When would confidentiality be broken?

Confidentiality will be broken if the counsellor deems a young person at significant risk of harm to either themselves or others during the course of counselling. In these cases, the Counsellor will speak to the designated Child Protection officers at the school and agree the next steps, together with the young person (wherever possible). This could mean a referral onto other external services, informing parents/carers or other actions to ensure the care and safety of the young person. Counsellors, along with other professionals continue to balance young people’s rights with the duty of child protection and to act in the best interests of the young person.

Who can make a referral for counselling?

The Counselling Service is open to all young people at The Link Secondary School. Counselling referrals are made by staff within school but parents and carers are always welcome to speak with any of the staff team regarding any concerns and have input into any referral. Parent / Carer consent is always sought before any counselling begins. Please get in touch with a member of staff if you would like to discuss a referral.

The Team

Caroline Chick (Counsellor / Psychotherapist) studied at ‘Terapia’, a therapy training centre specialising in creative therapies for children and teenagers, as well as adults. At Terapia, Caroline completed her Post Graduate Certificate in Adult Counselling skills and Theoretical Perspectives in Psychotherapy, her Post Graduate Diploma in Integrative Child and Adolescent Counselling and her MA degree in Integrative Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy. Caroline has over seven years’ experience of working therapeutically with young people in both mainstream and SEN settings, and continues to further her development through additional courses.

Caroline is a registered member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and follows the ethical guidelines set by the BACP. She has regular supervision from external supervisors to support her work.

Caroline’s approach within therapy is creatively-based, using play, arts & crafts, music, movement, drama and much more to help explore what is going on for each young person. Students can also just talk if that is what is wanted. It is very much led by each young person and their needs which allows an individual approach to be developed for everyone.