Why choose a Counselling Psychologist?
It can be daunting choosing a therapist and working out who might be the right fit for you and what the differences are between the many types of therapists. Counselling Psychologists are trained extensively in several modalities or types of psychological therapy and have several different placements within the NHS with different populations. All Counselling Psychologists have to have their own therapy too, this allows us to have a first-hand, rather than just a theoretical understanding of what it is like to be the client and the many different emotions and thoughts coming to therapy can bring up. This is also important to help ensure any therapist ‘issues’ are worked on separately, so they do not spill into the client/therapist relationship. As a Counselling Psychologist I have trained in several research methods, both quantitative and qualitative so am able to understand and critically read up to date research and therefore use the latest evidence-based practice. I have also conducted my own doctoral level research. Counselling Psychology appreciates diagnoses can be helpful but also encourages a more holistic and humanistic view of the client that is non-pathologizing.
Working with children
I have provided therapy for children from primary to secondary school age as a school counsellor in a state secondary that had over 60% students eligible for pupil premium grants and for Barnet council working in many schools in the borough as part of their Primary Mental Health Team. In both settings I offered one to one sessions, ran groups and workshops.
When to seek help for you child
When you see your child struggling it can be really hard to know whether they might need professional help. Sometimes your child might be facing developmentally normal setbacks and challenges that they will naturally, in time, grow their own resilience to. However, if the difficulties your child is having seem persistent and are significantly and negatively effecting their behaviours, relationships and ability to function, then it may be time to seek help.
When looking for psychological help for your child, it’s good to have a clear idea of the following: what the specific behaviours are that are concerning you, how frequently they occur and in what contexts, whether or not they seem developmentally age-appropriate, how long they have persisted for and what areas of their life they are affecting. Is it impacting their enjoyment and ability to participate in activities with peers, do the things they want to do or get along with family, friends, teachers etc?
How I work with children
Each child is different and when working with children I will take into account their developmental age, experience and psychological presentation in my approach. I work creatively and flexibly with children and may use a mix of play and art therapy techniques, cognitive behavioural therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, compassion focussed therapy and other approaches adapted for the child or adolescent. The therapeutic relationship is just as important with children and adolescents as it is with adults and building this through a rapport that is attuned to the child or adolescent and going at a pace that they are comfortable with is essential so that they may feel able to share their thoughts and feelings and feel confident to apply interventions.
Child and adolescent assessment
When working with children, the initial assessment would be with the parents or carer. Adolescents 16 and over can be seen without a parent/carer if this is preferred. This initial appointment is an opportunity for us to meet, to explore together the concerns that bring you to therapy, and to think about the options available to you.
When working with children and young people it may be helpful at times for parents/carers or other family members to be part of the therapeutic process. This may involve meeting parents/carer individually, meeting as a family or seeing the child on their own. It may also be beneficial for parents/carers to attend a parenting course for support. This will be a decision we come to together based on what we think would be most useful.
Whether working with a child or adult, what is discussed in sessions remains confidential. The only times information would need to be shared is if you disclosed that you or others could be at risk of significant harm. However, I would always look to discuss this with yourself in the first instance where possible before informing any relevant parties.
Regular clinical supervision is part of good clinical practice for all therapists and some annonymised aspects of our sessions may be discussed confidentially within my supervision.
As a registered member of the HCPC and BPS I work within their ethical framework which includes record keeping. To ensure confidentiality and security, electronic records will be kept on a password protected personal computer. All personal information is held securely to ensure confidentially in line with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) legislation and the Information Commissioning Office (ICO)