You are in: School Admin » Pupil Welfare » Counselling in Schools Service » Frequently Asked Questions

Herts County Council logoFrequently Asked Questions

FAQs from Professionals
FAQs from Children and Young People
FAQs from Parents and Carers

 

Frequently Asked Questions from Professionals

  • How quickly can you respond to enquiries?

We aim to respond to initial enquiries within two working days. The time taken to set up the service within a school will depend on the size of the contract and the capacity within the service at the time of the request.

  • What happens if a Child Protection issues arises/disclosure is made?

At the beginning of any work a contract is set up between the therapist and the child / young person explaining the boundaries of confidentiality. It makes clear that if a child or young person is considered to be at risk of significant harm from others or to themselves as a result of information that is disclosed, the therapist will need to share this with the Designated Child Protection lead in the school to help keep them as safe as possible.

The Counsellor / Arts Therapist would look to obtain the child or young person’s permission to share information. Any decision that is taken by the therapist with regards to breaking confidentiality will be done in the best interests of the child or young person.

  • What information will the service share with the school?

Within the boundaries of confidentiality our therapists will look to share strategies and information that does not compromise the integrity of the work that is being carried out. If the Counsellor / Arts Therapist believes it would be beneficial they may work with a child or young person to empower them to share information with their family or with the school themselves rather than speaking on their behalf.

The Counselling in Schools Service recognises how frustrating confidentiality can be for schools and as such therapists are encouraged to work confidentially but not in isolation.

  • Is the work confidential?

A key feature of any quality assured counselling provision is that it is confidential. Counselling gives a child or young person a safe space to share their fears, worries or concerns and it is vital that they are able to develop a trusting relationship with the therapist if the work is to be successful.

Schools and parents can be frustrated by the boundaries of confidentiality as issues may be discussed between the child or young person and the therapist that they are unaware of. Some people can feel that knowing what is discussed may help them to better understand how the child or young person is feeling and therefore how they can support them. To encourage a child or young person to feel more in control of their situation  therapist will work to empower them to feel able to share issues that they are experiencing with the school or their families. They may also explore what they want the counsellor or therapist to share on their behalf.

  • What if a parent/carer doesn’t want their child to receive Counselling / Arts Therapy?

If a child or young person requests therapy and is able to understand what is involved in the process, then they have the right to access it. Parents and carers may not deny them this right.

Schools set up Counselling provision in a variety of ways. Some may choose to have an opt in / out policy which you may be informed of when your child starts at school. Others may contact you when a need is identified for your child.

In Secondary Schools a young person has a right to access therapy without their parents’ consent or against their parents’ wishes if they are considered to be “Gillick Competent”. The Fraser Guidelines set out the criteria that should be met before practitioners provide a service to under-16s without parental consent – the assessment of young people against these guidelines is often referred to as assessing whether the young person is Gillick Competent. Our therapists work, where appropriate, to help support a young person confide in their parents about them receiving therapy.

As a general principle it is legal and acceptable for a young person to ask for confidential counselling without parental consent providing they are of sufficient understanding and intelligence.” (Gillick v West Norfolk AHA, House of Lords 1985)

 

Frequently Asked Questions from Children and Young People

  • What is Counselling?

Counselling offers people a non-judgemental space to talk and discuss any issues that are affecting their everyday lives in a safe and confidential setting

  • What is Arts Therapy?

Arts therapy offers people a creative alternative to Counselling. Art or drama is used as the primary means of communication to allow an individual an opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings in a safe and confidential environment.

  • How will I know Counselling /Arts Therapy is for me?

You can meet the therapist for one or more sessions to find out for yourself. You can ask questions- see how you feel. The therapist will talk to you about where and when to come and how often you will meet. The therapy is voluntary. You have the choice to come or not but whatever you decide will be OK.

  • Will anything be written about me?

Keeping information about clients, safe and confidential is very important to the therapist. The therapist will make some notes about what has been talked about in the session. These are kept safely in a locked filing cabinet. All information written and discussed is private and confidential unless there is an agreed or overriding need to share this information in your best interests. A therapist presents their work to a Clinical Supervisor regularly. This person checks that the therapist is working well with you. Neither your name, nor your school is mentioned.

  • Do my parents need to know if I am seeing a counsellor / arts therapist?

Most secondary schools allow their pupils to sign Service Request forms in place of a parent’s signature as a means of allowing them to access counselling confidentially.

 

Frequently Asked Questions from Parents

  • Can I pay for my child to receive Counselling /Arts Therapy at school via the service?

Parents are not able to commission the service to provide Counselling / Arts Therapy for their child within school because it is important that a child or young person does not feel obligated to attend. The work can also become complicated when sessions are kept confidential and not shared with a parent who has commissioned the work. Some schools will allow parents to make a donation towards the cost of the counselling. In these instances the contract will still be with school.

  • I am always there for my child to talk to, why would they want to talk to a therapist?

We all experience occasions when it feels hard to speak to those closest to us about things that are bothering us. Often this is because we do not want to worry those we love. For this reason sometimes children and young people want help thinking things through with someone neutral. The therapist will not be judging them, or you, and they will be looking to help them find their way with whatever it is that is troubling them.

  • How do I know the therapist is safe to work with my child?

The Counselling in Schools Service operates to a quality assured framework. This means that Counsellors are:

    • Qualified to a minimum of Diploma level in Counselling and a Masters in Arts Therapy
    • CRB checked
    • Insured
    • In receipt of regular training
    • In receipt of regular clinical supervision
    • Line managed within Hertfordshire County Council guidelines
    • All our Counsellors are either BACP (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy) accredited or working towards accreditation
  • How can I support the therapy?

If your child attends Primary school you will be offered an opportunity to meet with the therapist to enable you to ask any questions that you may have.

Whilst it is natural for you as a parent to feel anxious about your child accessing therapy, showing an acceptance of the need for it can be invaluable in helping your child to participate in the work. In addition, allowing your child space to discuss the therapy if they wish to do so, without them feeling pressed into it, can also be very helpful.

  • What if my child refuses to have Counselling / Arts Therapy?

Counselling and Arts Therapy can only take place when a child or young person is willing to engage with a therapist and as such sessions are attended on a voluntary basis.

Children and young people are involved in the setting of aims for the work, deciding what they would like from their sessions and are involved in the evaluation process.

  • What if I don’t want my child to receive therapy?

If a child or young person requests counselling and is able to understand what is involved in the process, then they have the right to access counselling. Parents and carers may not deny them this right.

Schools set up Counselling provision in a variety of ways. Some may choose to have an opt in / out policy which you may be informed of when your child starts at school. Others may contact you when a need is identified for your child.

In Secondary Schools a young person has a right to access counselling / therapy without their parents’ consent or against their parents’ wishes if they are considered to be “Gillick Competent”.

Our counsellors / therapists work, where appropriate, to help support a young person confide in their parents about them receiving counselling.