Counselling is a process where from a safe and supportive environment the counsellor will help your child, or the person you care for, learn how to help themselves. It will help them work through their difficulties and develop coping strategies. As a parent or carer it is natural that you will want to be involved as much as possible and support that process. We have put this short guide together to help you understand how you can be involved in a way that will most support your child, or the person you care for.
It is important that you explain to your child that they are coming to counselling at least a few days before their first session. Counselling is a voluntary process and to gain the most from it the person entering it should be aware of what is involved.
Bring your child along to the first session in good time and be aware that they may feel reluctant to go in. If it helps you can come into the first few minutes of the first session to make sure your child is settled.
The counselling sessions will normally be at the same time and day each week and will last 50 minutes. An average number of sessions would be between six and eight but the process will last as long as it needs to. You can also support by:
Counselling is a private and personal relationship between the counsellor and the client. Some children or young people will want to talk about their experience and some won’t. It is important to let your child decide what is best for them and respect their privacy. At times your child may seem more upset following a session, this might be that the session brought up difficult emotions. Show empathy and support but again, respect their privacy.
Be aware that you may find this process as hard as your child, or the person you care for, does. It is important to recognise that the issues affecting your child, or the person you care for, may have an impact on you. It can be a difficult and emotional time and children can often take it out on those closest to them.
You might even be blaming yourself or thinking you’re a bad parent; you aren’t! You have brought them along to counselling, it shows you love and care for them and want to help them.