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Online Counselling for
Young People

Children and young people 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 what the cause of the problem might be but the young person is clearly unhappy. ​A few examples of what children deal 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 from 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.

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What is Online Counselling for Young People?

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 understand their feelings and behaviour as responses to their circumstances. A trusting relationship with a counsellor can help a young person explore their worries, find ways of coping and consider changes they might want to make in their relationships and lives more broadly. This helps them feel happier now and also gives them invaluable skills for their future. When a young person 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 young person 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 counselling sessions and decides what will or won’t be discussed. Online counselling simply means that the counselling sessions take place remotely - either online and/or by telephone and your child does not physically come to visit me. Online counselling includes counselling by telephone, online video call, online audio call, instant messenger and email. Take a look at the FAQs page to find out more about the practicalities of meeting these ways.

Who do you work with?

I work with young people aged 16+ who are living in the United Kingdom.

What sort of counselling do you offer?

I listen to what your child is saying and pick out the key themes which are emerging in order to clarify for them what is going on at the moment. Young people often feel enormous relief at this process which can give them a profound sense of being understood. I am interested in each child and young person as an individual. I aim to help each person notice their strengths, gain confidence in themselves and take responsibility for their decisions. Young people have less autonomy than adults to make practical decisions about their lives. However, they still have choices about how they interpret situations 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 I can help them think about what they want to say or do. I do not give advice nor will I tell your child what to feel or what to do. I can help your child express their worries and I can help them understand why they might be feeling the way they do. I can help them consider ways to cope with these feelings. I can help your child consider what choices they have and I can let them know what options might be available to them and where else they can get support if this is relevant to their worries. My style of counselling and psychotherapy is called Eclectic Integrative. It combines a number of different theories and can be adapted to best meet the needs of each person.​

What's the first step?

To set up counselling for someone under 18, the young person's parent or legal guardian can contact me or book online to arrange an initial discussion of up to 30 minutes. We can speak by telephone or online video, whichever you prefer. In this conversation we will consider together what is prompting you to seek counselling for your child at the moment, their general situation, what you would like them to gain from the sessions and whether my style of counselling is likely to be helpful for them. The conversation is free of charge. If we agree that counselling sessions with me are likely to be helpful, then I will email you an assessment form to complete with your child and return to me. I will also email you a Counselling Agreement and a Privacy Statement to read and sign electronically. The terms of these include those found on my Terms of Use and Privacy pages. If you would like to discuss any further questions you might have about the counselling process then we can arrange a time/day for a one-off assessment appointment using either telephone, online audio or online video. This assessment appointment lasts for up to 60 minutes and is charged for. It is up to you and your child as to whether they attend this appointment with you or whether you would prefer to meet with me without them present. Once the paperwork is completed, I will arrange with you a date for an assessment meeting between me and your child, where I will meet with them by themselves. I will discuss with your child what counselling is, how they can use it and what they would like to use their sessions for. I will agree some boundaries with them including confidentiality, time (start and finish of sessions), safety, respect for each other, your child’s hopes for the counselling and their rights to any records kept about them.

Do you work with a young person without the knowledge of their parents / guardians?

No. For people under 18, I will only work with you if your parent or legal guardian has given me signed consent. If you are under 18 and you are seeking support but don’t want your parent or guardian to know about it then I recommend contacting either Kooth or The Mix - they are well-established organisations which offer online counselling to young people in the UK for free and don't ask permission from your parents/guardians. Counselling always takes some time to set up. If you need more urgent support with your mental health right now then you can find some useful contact details of organisations you can speak to by telephone, text chat or email on the Urgent Help page of this website.

Does my child need to have a diagnosis to have counselling with you?

No, your child does not have to display any particular behaviour nor have a diagnosis in order to qualify for counselling with me.

How many sessions will my child need?

How long children will need to come for greatly varies depending on how they engage with the sessions and what they hope to take from counselling. At the initial assessment we will discuss roughly how many sessions your child might need. Throughout the work we will keep in touch to discuss if the counselling sessions need to be extended or curtailed. I’m committed to working in the best interests of children so I will not seek to end sessions before your child is ready nor prolong them beyond the point of being useful. It is important that your child can 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. Initially we will discuss what would best suit you and your child taking into consideration their ability to concentrate, what you and your child hope to get from counselling, other commitments you may have to juggle and financial cost.

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 my full Information and Governance Policy and Procedure on the Privacy page of this website. I will email a copy of my Accessible Privacy Statement to you in advance of your child's initial assessment appointment. Paper Plane Counselling Ltd is registered with the Information Commissioner's Office and my systems comply with the Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

Are my child's sessions confidential?

All counselling sessions are confidential. This is so that young people 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 guardians are not told about what their child talks about in counselling without their child’s consent. Some parents and guardians find this unusual but it is necessary for counselling to be effective. There are limits to confidentiality: if a child were to claim that they were 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 my confidentiality policy by clicking on the link on the Terms of Use page and I will discuss confidentiality with you when we speak as well. I cannot 100% guarantee that your child’s online communication with me will be private. (This is impossible for any individual or organisation to do.) However, I do as much as I can to protect your child’s data both on and offline and I strongly suggest that you do the same (you can ask me for advice on this if it would be helpful). I carefully select the third party software which I use to communicate and conduct counselling sessions, and I reserve the right to change the platforms I use if their privacy settings change making them unsuitable for delivering therapeutic work.

Do you tell the NHS or my child's school that my child is having counselling sessions?

Neither the NHS nor your child’s school are routinely told that your child is having counselling sessions. Any sessions your child has with me 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 their 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 me, please make this clear when you contact me.