Counselling for Young People
Having worked as a counsellor for many years in schools and the college/university sector, I am strongly aware of the pressures that young people face. Scientific research has revealed that adolescence can begin as young as 9 or 10 and continues until the early 20s and beyond. Young people must negotiate entering the adult world, through social life, media access and taking on academic and employment responsibilities. But at the same time they usually have a foot in family life and precious links to still being a child at heart, something they can feel pressured to hide.
As a young person, whatever issues you choose to bring to counselling, my main aim is to give you a space where you can be comfortable to be yourself. Then we can begin to look at your priorities and what you'd like to change or understand better in life.
I think most young people that I see for counselling would say that I'm flexible, enthusiastic and caring and that I spend time allowing you to be an individual and to work out what you need right now in life. I am also able to offer practical strategies for dealing with difficult issues, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques for anxiety, OCD, and depression.
I see young people down to the age of 9 and have trained in play therapy. When working with clients below the age of 13, I will usually adopt a more family-oriented counselling approach, sometimes including family members in sessions and working together as a team.
Don't do it all alone!
If you are a young person and are feeling troubled about something in life, please do take action. The same goes if you are a parent or relative of a young person and you are concerned about them.
Too many people feel that their problems are minor compared to other people's, or that they should be able to cope on their own.
The best ways to seek help are:
Seeking professional help
If you are unhappy or are struggling with something that's getting in the way of everyday life, it's always a good idea to share this with your GP. Usually they won't prescribe medication (or only at a later date, if there is a clear need) but they may recommend talking therapies and refer you on to the NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), suggest local counselling agencies or provide support while you follow up private options.
There are a number of free or low-cost young people's counselling organisations in the South-West Herts, South Bucks and Hillingdon areas. (See Resources section below.)
They are popular and can have waiting lists, so it's a good idea to call and get on the list straight away. You can always turn the place down if you no longer need the help when you get to the top of the list. Having worked for a local agency for the past 15 years, I know they won't mind!
If you would like to try private counselling, do contact me via email or text. If we are unable to arrange appointments together and you opt to contact another private counsellor or psychotherapist, make sure that they are registered with a recognised counselling or psychotherapy professional association. I am accredited, as well as registered, with BACP. Other established professional bodies include UKCP, BABCP and National Counselling Society.
National organisations providing information and support
YoungMinds -- www.youngminds.org.uk
Youthhealthtalk -- www.youthhealthtalk.org
Kidscape (Anti-bullying) -- www.kidscape.org.uk
Hope Again (Youth website of Cruse Bereavement Care) -- www.hopeagain.org.uk
Beat (Eating disorders charity) -- www.b-eat.co.uk
PAPYRUS (Prevention of young suicide) -- www.papyrus-uk.org
Local youth counselling agencies
Signpost (based in Watford) -- www.signpostcounselling.co.uk, Tel: 01923 239495
Time To Talk Bucks (based in Chesham, High Wycombe and Aylesbury) -- www.timetotalkbucks.org.uk, Tel: 0845 408 5022 or 07764 210398
Link Counselling Service (based in Uxbridge) -- www.hillingdon.gov.uk/index.jsp?articleid=9592, Tel: 01895 277222