I have worked in Secondary Schools for a number of years. Firstly as a teacher and then as a counsellor. There are many emotional and mental health issues which develop during adolescence, and I believe that young people deserve to get support and care at this time.
If you are a young person reading this, you could be finding it difficult to seek out professional help. It may be that you are concerned about what others think of you. It may be that it's hard to work out if you really need help. Or that you really don't think there is someone out there that can help you. Sometimes it's so hard to think clearly about what you need to do, that it feels easier to suffer in silence. So what can a counsellor like me do to help you?
Counselling is basically a talking therapy, where you find your voice and talk about yourself. I can offer you a safe and secure space to talk. I can listen. I can notice what's going on for you. I can give you a place to share and understand your thoughts, behaviours and emotions. I can help you find patterns in your life and look at ways of changing the ones you don't like and keeping the ones you do.
Most of the things you talk about will stay between us. If you do need to talk about you or another person being at risk, then part of my job is to find the best way to reduce or remove that risk. We would talk this through together and between us, decide who are the best people to ask for support and care, and which bits of information need to be shared with them. I would still be your counsellor; there to support you through this.
During the sessions, you can choose to explore particular problems you are having. Perhaps look at how they are affecting you, and find alternative ways of reacting to situations to achieve a different outcome. I will encourage you to understand yourself better, so that you find solutions that work for you. I won't give you advice on how to lead your life or tell you what to do.
Sometimes counselling can feel like it's hard work - you might be talking about stuff that's difficult to share. Stuff you've kept private up 'til now. Yes, you might feel a bit worse before you start feeling better. That's a common thing to feel. It does get easier. I can't tell you how long it will take. But I will always be honest with you.
Most importantly, counselling is about you having a choice. What to talk about, which feelings to explore, which bits of the past you want to look at and so on. If you need a break during a session, or you need to work a different way, or you've had enough of a certain issue, then that's all OK. The counselling process is about noticing what you need and finding a healthy way of expressing yourself.
I offer a free half hour session to start with. So if you'd like to meet me, then get in touch.