Counselling for Children and Young People in Hull and East Yorkshire
COVID 19 and Availability Statement
Please be advised that Amy Mills is currently not seeing people for face to face therapeutic sessions until further notice. She is seeing children (aged 13 years and older), adults and supervisees for telephone and online sessions. At present Amy does not have space to take on new people for counselling and psychotherapy sessions. You are welcome to contact her to discuss your situation with a view to waiting until Amy has space to make a regular appointment time with you.
Some people say that children have nothing to worry about; childhood is a time of innocence and fun. At Paper Plane Counselling Ltd, we know it often isn’t.
Children from 6 to 18 years find counselling useful for a whole range of problems. Sometimes something specific has happened which they might need support with, sometimes it’s a whole combination of things. Sometimes it’s not always obvious to adults what the cause of the problem might be but they can see that their child is unhappy.
A few examples of what children might be dealing with are: bereavement, moving house or school, parents not getting on well with each other or separating, a sibling’s illness, changes to friendships, bullying, concerns about school work or sport, a sense of not doing well enough in life. Older children may also be figuring out a new identity for themselves as separate to their family both in person and online, negotiating changing friendships and relationships, considering their sexuality or gender identity, becoming familiar with their changing body as it goes through puberty, dealing with bullying, worries about exams and their future. Some children have been unfortunate enough to have been the victims or perpetrators of abuse and some may have been placed in care.
Many children assume that they are the only ones who have ever experienced particular problems, and consequently can feel isolated, ashamed or abnormal. Counselling can help children to understand their feelings and behaviour as responses to their difficulties and their lives more broadly.
Mental health problems in children are common: one in ten children aged between 5 and 16 years has a mental health problem and many continue to have these problems into adulthood*. Over 50% of all adults who have mental health problems had signs of them by the time they were 14, and 75% by the time they reached 18**.
Giving children time and a neutral, confidential space to think about their worries and develop healthy ways of coping helps them feel happier now and also gives them invaluable skills for their future. When a child comes to counselling they are treated with respect. They are listened to without judgment or blame. They are not interrogated, they are not talked down to and they are not laughed at. Each child is encouraged to talk about themselves, either with words or through pictures, worksheets and creative representations. It is the child who sets the agenda for sessions and decides what will or won’t be discussed.
Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions about counselling for children with Paper Plane Counselling Ltd.
*Source: Source: Green h, McGinnity A, Meltzer h et al. (2005) Mental Health of Children and Young People in Great Britain, 2004. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
**Source: 2. Source: Murphy M and Fonagy P (2012). Mental health problems in children and young people. In: Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2012. London: Department of Health.
Can you tell me about the background and qualifications of your counsellor?
Amy Mills is a fully qualified and highly experienced counsellor and psychotherapist. She holds a Master’s degree in Counselling and Psychotherapy from the University of East London and is accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (MBACP Accred). Amy is also a Certified Cyber Therapist and a Professional Member of the Association for Counselling and Therapy Online (ACTO). She has worked for over a decade providing counselling to children and young people aged 6 – 18 in schools and private settings. She has also worked extensively with parents, carers and teachers helping them to think about the difficulties children face and how they can best support them.
Amy is a qualified clinical supervisor, overseeing the practice of other counsellors working with children and young people. Since 2019, Amy has been offering counselling, psychotherapy and supervision sessions online and by telephone. You can find more information about Amy’s background and experience here.
Amy holds an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Scheme (DBS) check which you can view on request.
What sort of counselling do you offer?
Amy is trained to listen to what children are saying and pick out the key themes which are emerging in order to help clarify what is troubling them and how they are feeling. Often children (and adults!) do not have the vocabulary to describe complex feelings in words so Amy works with a range of creative materials (e.g. puppets, dolls, drawing, sand-tray) to help children describe situations and feelings using metaphor. Children often feel enormous relief at this process which can give them a profound sense of being understood.
Children have less autonomy to make practical changes to their lives than adults do. However, they still have choices about how they interpret situations, how they feel and how they behave. Some children want to think about changes they would like to make to their lives. For example, changes to the way they express their feelings, who they are friends with or what they choose to take responsibility for. Some children also want to discuss practical changes they want to make with their parents or guardians and Amy may help them think about what they want to say or facilitate a discussion with both the child and parent or guardian present.
This style of counselling and psychotherapy* is called Integrative Humanistic. It combines a number of different theories and can be adapted to best meet the needs of each child.
*In the UK, the distinction between counselling and psychotherapy is not legally defined at present. At Paper Plane Counselling Ltd we believe that counselling and psychotherapy are essentially the same thing so we use the term counselling to mean both counselling and psychotherapy. If your health insurance body does draw a distinction, please note Amy is qualified in both counselling and psychotherapy.
What happens during counselling?
In the first session Amy and your child will make a contract together covering how they will work. This will include confidentiality, time (start and finish of sessions), safety, respect for each other and your child’s hopes for the counselling. Amy will show your child the art materials and toys in the counselling room and explain how they can be used to help think about and discuss problems and feelings. There is a range available and children will find some more useful than others. Some children do not use these at all and prefer to sit and talk. However, many find that artwork and play are very helpful ways of expressing themselves. The toys are used to symbolise the situations and problems that they are dealing with. Your child will set the agenda for each counselling session and will decide what subjects will be introduced. They will not be pushed to talk about particular topics if they don’t want to. Amy will regularly discuss with your child how the counselling is going and whether anything could be done differently.
Toys can be used to help children and young people think about their experiences when they don't necessarily have the words to describe them.
Does my child have to have particular symptoms in order to have counselling with you?
No, your child does not have to display any particular behaviours nor meet a threshold in order to qualify for counselling with Paper Plane Counselling Ltd.
How do I arrange counselling sessions for my child?
You (the child’s parent or legal guardian) can contact Amy or book online to arrange an initial discussion of up to 30 minutes. This can be held by telephone, online audio or online video call. In this conversation we will consider together what is prompting you to seek counselling for your child at the moment and whether Amy’s style of counselling is likely to be helpful. The conversation is free of charge. If you and Amy agree that counselling sessions with her are likely to be helpful, then Amy will arrange a time/day for a one-off assessment appointment with you.
What will happen at the assessment appointment?
Amy will initially meet with you (the child’s parent or legal guardian) by yourself for an assessment to discuss your child’s situation in depth, and consider what you would like them to gain from counselling sessions. This meeting is also an opportunity for you to assess if you think Amy is the right counsellor to work with your child and to ask any questions you might have about the counselling process.
Once the paperwork is completed, Amy will arrange with you a date for an assessment meeting between her and your child. At this meeting, Amy will discuss with your child what counselling is, how they can use it and what they would like to use their sessions for. If everyone is happy to continue, we will then agree further appointment dates.
Each assessment appointment lasts for up to 50 minutes and is charged for (please see here for up to date information on fees).
If Amy feels your child would not benefit from counselling sessions with her for any reason then she will do her best to suggest where else you could find support.
Are my child’s sessions confidential?
All counselling sessions are confidential. This is so that children feel safe to express their worries fully and trust that what they choose to talk about will not be discussed elsewhere without their permission. Parents and carers are not routinely told the detail of what happens during their child’s counselling sessions without their child’s consent. Some parents find this unusual but it is necessary for counselling to be effective. There are limits to confidentiality: if children were to claim that they are at risk of serious harm, or that someone else is at risk of serious harm, then appropriate steps would be taken to keep them and others safe. You can view our confidentiality policy and we will discuss confidentiality in more depth at the initial assessment.
We will offer you and your child advice on how to protect your child’s confidentiality when engaging in counselling. We recommend using strong passwords for all electronic accounts you use to communicate with us (e.g. email), and changing them regularly. We recommend only sending us information about yourself by encrypted means (not doing so is the electronic equivalent of sending us a postcard written in pencil). All our emails to you are sent in encrypted format and we use Frama RMail software which gives you the option to reply to us in encrypted format without any charge or need to register for an account yourself.
Our comfortable counselling room has a range of toys and creative materials to help children and young people express themselves.
How long are the sessions and how frequent?
Typically, counselling sessions last up to 50 minutes and are held at the same time and day each week. How long children will need to come for greatly varies depending on how they engage with the process and what they hope to take from it. At the initial assessment we will discuss roughly how many sessions your child might need. Throughout the work we hold regular reviews to discuss how the counselling is going and whether it needs to be extended or curtailed. Amy is committed to working in the best interests of children so will not seek to end sessions before the child is ready nor prolong them beyond the point of being useful.
It is important to commit to attending the sessions that have been booked, as frequently missed sessions negatively affect how much your child is likely to get out of the counselling process.
At the assessment we will discuss what would best suit you and your child taking into consideration age and ability to concentrate, what you and your child hope to get from counselling, other commitments you may have to juggle and financial cost.
Your child’s counselling sessions will take place in Paper Plane Counselling Ltd’s dedicated counselling room which is equipped with a variety of creative materials aimed at engaging children of all ages.
Usually children attend their counselling sessions by themselves. Depending on how old they are this might involve your dropping them off and collecting them at the end of each session. There is a comfortable waiting area in the hall outside our counselling room, or we are a few minutes’ walk from coffee shops and shopping in central Hull if you would prefer to leave the building and return at the end of your child’s session. However, please be aware that if your child is aged 14 or under then we ask that you stay in the waiting area for the duration of your child's session in case they want to finish early.
Children won’t need to bring anything in particular with them. They may or may not choose to bring home things that they have created during their counselling sessions (e.g. artwork), and they may or may not decide to show these things to you.
How much do you charge?
Please see our Fees page.
Do you offer online or telephone sessions?
Yes, we offer children and young people aged 13 years and older counselling by telephone or online. You can find out more information about this here.
Do you offer counselling for adults as well?
Amy offers consultative sessions to parents, carers and teachers to help them reflect on their relationships with children and how they can best support them. These can be one-off sessions or held on a regular basis.
Amy offers short and long-term counselling for adults but she is not able to offer counselling to parents or carers whose children she’s already seeing for counselling as this would compromise the confidentiality of the sessions. However, Amy can suggest sources of counselling support to parents and carers.
What records do you keep?
Brief notes of all sessions are held securely on electronic and paper-based systems, and your child's data is available for them to view on request. You can view our full Information and Governance Policy and Procedure on our Privacy page (the link is at the bottom of the webpage). A copy of our Accessible Privacy Statement will be given to you in advance of your initial Assessment appointment. Paper Plane Counselling Ltd is registered with the Information Commissioner's Office and our systems comply with the Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
Do you tell the NHS or the school that my child is having counselling sessions?
No, neither the NHS nor your child’s school are routinely told that your child is having counselling sessions. Any sessions your child has with Paper Plane Counselling Ltd will not be recorded on your child’s NHS record nor on your child’s school records.
If you wish to inform your child’s GP or your child’s school that your child is having counselling sessions then you can do so. Information will not be shared about your child’s counselling sessions without your consent except in the instance of safeguarding concerns.
Generally speaking, it is not recommended that a person sees two (or more) counsellors at the same time. This applies to children as well as to adults. If your child has been referred or is already attending counselling through the NHS or another provider and you still wish them to have additional counselling with Paper Plane Counselling Ltd, please make this clear when you contact Amy or at the initial assessment appointment. If your child’s GP or a member of school staff wishes to refer your child for counselling then it would be helpful to inform them that your child already attends sessions with Paper Plane Counselling Ltd. You can then discuss with them what further support, if any, your child might benefit from.
Are you available in an emergency?
It is sometimes possible to set up an emergency counselling session at short notice but it will depend on Amy's availability. If your child is in crisis and needs immediate support with their mental health then you can find some details of organisations which you can contact here.