From the Counsellor’s Chair

Posted: 20th September 2016

Welcome from the School Counsellor and to the School Counselling Service

Mrs Renata Good, our School Counsellor, Play Therapist and Creative Arts Therapist here writes of the services offered to pupils at St Augustine’s Priory:

‘At some time or another we will face disappointments, change and challenges. Amongst others, these can evoke feelings of anger, sadness, worry, as well as happiness.  In as much as physical injury is attended to by medication, rest, physiotherapy or occupational therapy to aid recovery, our emotional and mental health also needs attention when it becomes ‘fractured.’

Emotional and mental issues are not the exclusive preserve of adults. YoungMinds (2014), published that half of children and young people aged 11 – 25 in a poll of 2,000 said they had been bullied, and more than half said they would end up being a failure if they did not get good exam results.  Key Data on Adolescence (2013) from the Association of Young People’s Health, noted that 1 in 10 children and young people aged from 5 – 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder – around 3 children in every class; between 1 in every 12 children and young people deliberately self-harm with the number being admitted into hospital through self-harm having increased by 68% in the past ten years; nearly 80,000 children under 10 years of age suffer from severe depression.

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As the ways in which feelings are experienced are unique to each individual, may change over time, and vary with each situation, counselling provides one way to support the healing process on the journey towards emotional and mental recovery. 75% of mental health problems in adults start in childhood, yet 75% of these are not identified or diagnosed.  Young people who have emotional or mental health difficulties often do not have anybody to talk to.  This means that their problems are not being addressed and are carried on into adulthood.

A myriad of problems affects children and young people. About a third of children attending school counselling talk about family problems.  Following that, they talk about how to manage their anger, bereavement, stress, problems with school, problems with relationships – a wide range of difficulties.  Often children do not want any action, they just want to be listened to, and that is one of the success stories of counselling in schools.  Pupils are able to speak to someone who is independent and ‘outside’ of the problem and reasonably accessible (Karen Cromarty, BACP, 2015).

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The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy has long held the belief that children and young people should have access to professional, qualified counsellors in their schools. Indeed, ‘The Good Childhood Report 2015,’ which looked at the wellbeing of 10 and 12 year olds in 15 countries calls for the UK Government to make it a legal requirement for schools in England to provide counselling to pupils, which would echo the policies already in place in Wales and Northern Ireland.

In thinking about how quickly time passes and that the children of today are tomorrow’s future, investing to improve emotional resilience and mental health by informing and actively engaging children and young people has its benefits on many levels. Over the past few years the school counselling service at St Augustine’s Priory has offered its pupils the opportunity to talk to a counsellor and play therapist about troublesome feelings or others issues that are getting in the way of self-esteem, relationships or learning.  For further information on the provision of school based at St Augustine’s Priory please contact the School Counsellor at RGood@sapriory.com

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