For me a core principle of counselling children involves working with parents and important others as well.
I will start by meeting with parents first to hear about the background of the problem, history of the child and anything that might be of importance in supporting the child and the family. In between sessions I will regularly update parents or caregivers, to inform you about the therapy process and to give advice and/or strategies, and parents are always allowed to call or email to discuss their child. If needed we can involve other important people around the child, like teachers and family members.
It is important to realise that just talking about problems does not usually work for children. Using techniques based on imagination and play are great to use in helping children solve their own inner problems, as this comes naturally for them.
I try to be flexible and creative in using what fits each child. I am a firm believer that children will show what way will work for them, and it is up to me to pay close attention to this. I am not bound to the materials in the practice room, and we can go outside, play with the animals, build things, do arts and crafts, or do what else works for a child. This usually makes counselling here for children a fun experience.
Understanding the reasons why a child is acting the way he or she does can be helpful to others in their life. That is why psycho-education is an important part of my counselling practice.
Counselling involves privacy. I cannot and will not share any information a child has shared with me, unless the child is okay with it. I share information about the counselling process with parents only, or with others on request of parents or children. I always aim to create a relationship with families where sharing is happening.
You can read this yourself or have someone read it to you...
If you are reading this, or someone is reading it to you, it is probably because you have told someone or shown someone that things are not going too well. Or, maybe your parents or someone from school or another adult is worried about you.
Someone must have thought that I might be able to help you.
I am a counsellor. That means that I help children who are, for whatever reason, not feeling well, have something they want to get rid of, or want to learn to deal with something they are stuck with, like a disability or handicap or having to miss someone.
Usually your parents or your caregivers will have an appointment with me first. They can tell me what they think the problem is and other important things about you.
Then you come to my place at a convenient time for you. Your parents bring you and collect you after an hour. Usually you come once a week, but only if that is okay with you, because it all about you here.
After the first couple of sessions I will talk with your parents again. They will be very curious what happens in the sessions. I will tell them about the things we did. I talk to your parents what they can do to help you and sometimes it is wise to also discuss that with your teacher or important other persons for you. I will always talk to you about that first.
I do not tell your parents what you told me in the sessions. That is between you and me and we call that 'private'. Only if you want me to, I can share things you told me.
If you come here, you can talk and play, build or create things, just as you like. Some children like it when my dog, a cuddly Golden retriever, is in the room. Everything we do is to help you feel better. How we do that, I don't know, because it is all about you and I do not know you yet.
Sometimes children are a bit anxious the first time, but usually they like to come back and enjoy being here.
In the meantime, when you want to ask me something, you can send me an email or ask your parents to help you with this.