My specialism is counselling children, and I work as a freelance in-school counsellor in primary schools across Kent, working from year 3 to year 6.
In my work as a school counsellor, I have seen a lot of children suffering with psychological, social and educational difficulties. I offer a variety of counselling services and support within the schools, including individual sessions, group work and drop in sessions.
This is so important for children, as sometimes it’s difficult to talk to parents, friends or teachers or even know the right words to explain what is going on for them.
As part of my work, I provide the children with an opportunity to explore and untangle their feelings, their thoughts and behaviour. Sometimes this happens through talking and other times through a range of play materials.
The benefits to both the school and children are well documented, but for me personally, I find that when a child feels their inner world is being understood, it creates an opening to explore and find ways of dealing with emotional difficulties.
Children who have school counselling usually become more settled, focus more on their work, are less disruptive to the class and ultimately feel more positive about themselves and their life.
The following list is not exhaustive, but gives an idea on when a child might benefit from counselling:
- Problems at home (e.g. parental separation/divorce)
- Adjustment to step family arrangements
- Problems with peer relationships
- School related difficulties (e.g. non-attendance)
- Bereavement and loss
- Bullying others or being bullied
- Low self-esteem
- Anxiety and depression
- Disruptive behaviour/anger management
Benefits of an in-school counselling service
The government recognises the importance of dealing with problems early, and is recommending to schools that they fund and provide school counselling services to their pupils if they are requested.
- Avoids the long waiting list for outside agencies
- Is funded by the school (e.g. via pupil premium)
- Takes place in a safe and familiar environment
- Normalises and reduces the stigma of mental health
- Reduces disruptive behaviour which benefits the whole class
- Helps children achieve their potential at school (and in life)
As an experienced school counsellor, I can make the process of setting up this service quick and easy for the school, so if your school does not have an in-school counselling service yet, talk to them or raise it with one of the school Governors.