(*Children from age 4)
Within that time, I gained experience in a variety of different therapeutic and support roles with children aged 4 plus. The skills, knowledge and experience I acquired has enabled me to develop the ability to communicate with, support and build effective therapeutic relationships with all children and young people, including those especially vulnerable.
I worked as a play therapist in an infant school, as counselling was new to the school, I set-up their counselling service. This involved generating policies and procedures that support therapeutic working with children together with connecting with the existing school policies that are so important when supporting children. Once the service was set up, I spend a year engaging therapeutically with children aged 4 - 7.
My aim with play therapy was to help the child recognise and express their emotions through play. The play resources I used then and still do today, include toys, puppets, clay/playdoh, sandtrays, art and drawing materials, role-play/acting and movement. The ways of working with play are as endless as the imagination of the child I am working with.
I noticed a theme with my young clients. Drugs and/or alcohol offered them a way of coping with the demands of an adult world that expected more than they could deliver. With this in mind we collaborated in building on their existing inner resources and strengths to promote more effective, less harmful and more socially acceptable coping strategies. I noticed that my way of working had a positive impact on many other high-risk behaviours connected with this age group - most noticeable was the reduction in self-harming/injuring activities.
I then moved onto enhance the skills and knowledge I had acquired to work with more vulnerable young people in the community. I spent the next 3 years working as a Young Person's Outreach Worker for a drug and alcohol charity. This role involved relating with the most disengaged, disillusioned, and despondent young people in the community. The clients were 11-19 years old who were taking risks with drugs or drug funding activities. I met young people on the streets, engaged with them to gain their trust and supported them in every aspect of their lives. This could be as simple as reducing their drug taking risks or as complex as arranging safe housing or residential rehabilitation. It was obvious that the young clients were often self-medicating to elevate severe mental health issues; therefore, another aspect of this role was supporting the young person through a network of other professionals.
Working with adolescents is my passion and I am constantly surprised and in awe of the creative, inspiring, and brave ways these young clients engage in a drive towards a better sense of well-being, with me, in the therapeutic encounter. I am always astonished at the imaginative and resourceful ways my young clients commit to and make changes in their lives. This process motivates me, both personally and professionally and further strengthens my belief in a non-directive, empowering approach to working with young people.
One to three sessions, definitely no more than three sessions. I’ve adapted my approach to finding a focus quickly, helping the young person identify their strengths and resources to help them build a plan that delivers wellbeing benefits.
I am qualified and experienced as an online counsellor and can offer counselling/psychotherapy via video, audio, instant messaging, and email. To explore whether counselling by instant messaging or email is suitable for you/your child/young person, please send me a message – you’ll see a contact form on this website.
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