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What is Counselling?

ids When something’s on your mind, it can help to talk about it and share it with someone else. But what if you don’t want to talk to your friends or family, or you can’t?
That’s where counselling can help.

Basically, counselling is just a space for you to look at your feelings. You do this with a trained counsellor who is experienced at working with young people. You don’t have to talk for the whole time – counsellors also use sand trays, drawing and modelling to help explore feelings. They won’t make you talk about something you don’t want to; it’s your time to use how you want. Even if your school has suggested you see a counsellor, you don’t have to – and you see them for as long as you want to.

You might already know someone who’s had counselling – perhaps one of your friends, or someone in your class – but not everybody likes to talk about it, and that’s ok. Some schools now have their own counsellor, but if not, they might be able to help you find one.

Why Do Kids have Counselling?

Lots of reasons: perhaps someone close to you has died, or maybe you are being bullied, or life is difficult at home or school and you feel worried. It might be something you feel you don’t want to bother your parents or friends with, or it might be to do with them. Many people find having a separate, private space to look at an issue can help to deal with it.


Will the Counsellor Tell Anyone What I Say?

Generally speaking, no. What you say to the counsellor is private, and they won’t tell your parents, friends or teachers. But if you tell them about someone who is being hurt, they might have to tell someone else. This doesn’t happen very often, but if it does, you’ll be kept informed about what happens next, and you won’t be in trouble.


Don’t keep your feelings bottled up. Talk to your friends and family if you can, and listen to them too. And if you need a bit of extra support, that’s ok – we all do sometimes.


Justine Gore-Smith works is part of  Phoenix Counselling Cooperative, Oxford, a group of five experienced and trained counsellors within Oxfordshire who specialise in working with young people and adults in educational settings and who are being supported by family services and/or other agencies.

If you would like more information on how to access counselling services in your area, have a look at the NHS Choices website and the Young Minds website for young people. The British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy is also be helpful, as is the mental health charities MIND and the Scottish Association for Mental Health.


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