From the Counsellor’s Chair
Introduction from Mrs Good, School Counsellor
As 2015 and the Lent term unfurl a warm welcome and Happy New Year to returning parents and greetings to new ones. My first Priory Post article of 2015 is a reminder to existing parents and an introduction to new ones of the school counselling service offered to the pupils at St Augustine’s Priory.
At some time or another we face disappointments, change and challenges. Amongst others these can evoke feelings of anger, sadness, confusion as well as happiness. The ways in which feelings are experienced are unique to each individual, may change over time and vary with each situation.
School counselling offers pupils the opportunity to gain a clearer understanding of troublesome thoughts and feelings that arise from relationships, school, events, and other issues which are interfering with the business of getting on whether in and out of school. It provides the time and space in a safe, confidential and contained environment for clients to explore what may be informing these feelings, come to terms with the sources of their difficulties, remember their strengths, develop greater emotional resilience, and work towards finding resolutions.
There is little doubt of the link between emotional and mental health wellbeing and learning. As such, counselling can help children and young people to be in a far stronger position to concentrate in class, engage with learning, and achieve. In some instances the counsellor can act as the client’s advocate. The service can also help signpost clients to other agencies that may be better suited to meet their needs. It can also reassure other clients they are doing the best they can in the circumstances.
Counselling is not a quick fix. Counselling takes time and a willingness to engage. Young children are offered play therapy and creative arts, with the therapist employing a range of creative mediums to engage the child at their pace. Older pupils in being provided an opportunity to discuss matters pertinent to their emotional well-being may wish to utilise creative means to support the therapeutic process.
Counselling and play therapy takes place at St Augustine’s Priory on Mondays during term time. Referrals can be made by parents or teachers following consultation with the Form Teacher or Head of Year, and school link person, Deputy Head of Seniors, Mrs Collins. The counsellor can be consulted beforehand. Details of my school email account are noted below.
Young children in particular need a systemic approach to promote resilience and self-esteem. Parental permission for therapy will be sought for pupils under the age of 13, and the parent/legal carer invited by the counsellor to an interview. A lunch time drop-in service and self-referral is available for students aged 13 and over deemed Gillick competent and Fraser guidelines apply (House of Lords, 1985). Whilst specific parental consent will not be ordinarily sought for students aged 13 and over who self-refer, a client would be encouraged to share relevant information with their parent/legal carer.
The counselling service at St Augustine’s Priory is offered through the Catholic Children’s Society (CCS). As a senior accredited and registered member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), and Certified Play Therapist with Play Therapy UK (PTUK), I adhere to its Codes of Ethics in the provision of counselling and play therapy to children and young people. If you would like further information on the School Counselling Service offered by the CCS, please see www.cathchild.org.uk and www.ccsconnected.org.uk . Both BACP and PTUK have dedicated websites.
Mrs Renata Good, B.Sc., Dip. Counselling
School counsellor and play therapistPriory Post