From the Counsellor’s Chair

Posted: 20th September 2017

Welcome from the School Counsellor and welcome to the School Counselling Service

The counselling service at St Augustine’s Priory is offered through the Catholic Children’s Society (CCS Westminster).  As a senior accredited and registered member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, and Certified Play Therapist with Play Therapy UK, Mrs Renata Good, our School Counsellor, adheres to their Codes of Ethics in the provision of counselling and play therapy to children and young people.  For further information on the school’s School Counselling Service please see  www.cathchild.org.uk

Here, Mrs Renata Good, our School Counsellor, Play Therapist and Creative Arts Therapist introduces herself and the School Counselling Service to new parents:

‘With the new term and academic year underway, a warm welcome to returning readers and greetings to new ones.  Over the past few years the school counselling service at St Augustine’s Priory has offered its pupils and students the opportunity to talk to a counsellor and play therapist about a range of issues getting in the way of self-esteem, relationships or learning.  For further information or a brochure on the provision of school based counselling at St Augustine’s Priory, please contact the School Counsellor at RGood@sapriory.com

At some time or another we will face disappointments, change and challenges.  These can evoke a range of feelings; anger, sadness, worry, fear, confusion, frustration, rejection as well as happiness.  In as much as physical injury, amongst others, 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.  Key Data on Adolescence (2013) from the Association of Young People’s Health, noted that 1 in 10 children and young people aged 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 the age of ten suffer from severe depression.

Unsurprisingly ‘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. Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement in January 2017 to improve mental health support in schools, coupled with the recent backing of counselling by Prince William and Prince Harry, are welcome endorsements of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy’s (BACP) continued campaign for a trained counsellor in every school in England as there is in Wales and Northern Ireland.

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 aren’t identified or diagnosed.  Young people who have emotional or mental health difficulties often don’t have anybody to talk to.  This means that their problems are not being addressed and are carried on into adulthood.

A myriad of problems affect 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, and problems with relationships; really a wide range of difficulties not dissimilar to that of adults.  There is no magic wand or pixie dust to make things better or make the troublesome feelings disappear, and what a parent or teacher hopes for from counselling may be at variance to the client.  Often children don’t want any action, they just want to be listened to, and that’s one of the success stories of counselling in schools.  Here they are able to speak to someone who is independent and ‘outside’ of the problem and reasonably accessible (Karen Cromarty, BACP, 2015).

In thinking about how quickly time passes and that the children of today are the future of tomorrow, investing to improve emotional resilience and mental health by informing and actively engaging children and young people has its benefits on many levels.’

 

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