Counselling for Children and Young People in Hull and East Yorkshire
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 5 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, accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (MBACP Accred). She has worked for over a decade providing counselling to children and young people aged 5 – 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. You can find out 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 carers and Amy may help them think about what they want to say or facilitate a discussion with both the child and parent or carer present.
This style of counselling and psychotherapy* is called Integrative. It combines a number of different theories and can be adapted to best meet the needs of each child.
*Some therapists will tell you that counselling and psychotherapy are the same thing and some say they are different. There is a view that counselling is generally short term and appropriate for dealing with one off problems, whereas psychotherapy is typically longer term dealing with more entrenched issues that have been embedded over time. 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.
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.
"I would just like to thank you for all your help with Sarah. She has seen counsellors before, including CAMHS, and you’re the first who she seemed to want to come and see. She said you were the best one. Thanks again." - Parent
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 can contact Amy directly to discuss your situation and needs. You can expect to receive a response to your enquiry within 48 hours and an assessment session is usually available within a week.
What will happen at the assessment appointment?
Amy will initially meet with you (the child’s parent or carer) by yourself for an assessment to discuss your child’s history and current situation, and whether counselling is likely to be helpful. This is also an opportunity for you to ask Amy questions about the way she works and to complete paperwork. We will then arrange a second meeting for Amy to see your child to complete the assessment.
If Amy feels your child would not benefit from 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 that 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.
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 60 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 counselling room at Suite 314, K2 Bond Street (formerly Kingston House), 44 Bond Street, Hull HU1 3EN. The counselling room 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 age 14 or under then we ask that you stay in the waiting area for the duration of your child's session.
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 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?
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 you 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.