If you are aged between 13 to 18 and you feel like you may need to talk to someone about what you're thinking or feeling, or perhaps you may need to express it in some way and you have not quite found the words yet, then this service may be for you.
A lot of people often feel that they have be in crisis before they can receive counselling, or that you have to apply directly through to the NHS or CAMHS for this service. Some people worry that counselling may involve a very clinical approach, where their counsellor will be quite unemotional and fill out a form that records everything you are saying, or that your parents, your school or someone else has to refer you. This is quite the opposite. You can refer yourself, or you can ask someone to refer you to me for you.
My private practice is held in a private and confidential calm space that allows you to create, rant, laugh, cry, or do whatever you need to do (within reason!) that will not involve me filling out forms, or staring at you blankly. It is a space that is there for you to explore what you are going through, or whatever you feel you need to bring at that time, without judgement. You can also access Online Sessions too if you live far away, or if you cannot make a session at the venue.
I always advise that in order for counselling to be effective, it is best to take place weekly, and by yourself so that you are able to talk about things freely and confidentially. However, you are welcome to bring a parent or guardian with you to your first session for support. If you are under 18, they will need to consent to me working with you by yourself.
Your mental health is extremely important during this time. If you are stuck at home, in isolation or are noticing you need someone professional to speak with, you are welcome to get in touch.
Sessions can take place over the phone, email, or online chat on VSee (similar to Skype). You can use my therapy service for as long as you need, be it a few times a week, once a week, fortnightly or once a month. This service is here for you during these very challenging times.
Your First Session
Your first session, called an "Initial Assessment" will involve going through why you feel you need counselling and whether or not this is the right place for you right now. This can be done online or face to face in the Counselling Room. It lasts for 90 minutes (1 hour 30mins) but we can go for as long as you feel comfortable, there is no pressure to have to fill that entire time. It is a great way for you to get a feel of how I work, ask any questions and go over things such as cost, confidentiality and note taking. I will be filling out a form with you during this assessment which will be covering all of these areas. This form stays securely in your file, and does not get passed on to anyone. You can also see your file whenever you like.
What a session will look like
Your session times run for 60 minutes, once a week. Sessions are also open-ended, this means you can continue therapy for as long as we both feel you need this for and can be reviewed at any time. You may prefer to only come for a set amount of weeks, depending on your circumstances.
Your sessions will always take place in the Counselling room, unless it has been pre-planned to have sessions online or outside the building by the River Dart which may involve walking and talking, or sitting on a bench outside. Sessions can also take place at your college or school privately in a designated room. This would not take place without your permission, and would also involve planning and discussion beforehand.
You do not have to bring anything apart from an open mind.
Encrypted Online Counselling
For the times that you may not be able to make a session, or if you live quite far away from the office and cannot travel to the counselling room, Online Counselling is available to you.
I use software called VSee, which is a highly encrypted application similar to WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger where we can either online messenger chat, or speak and see each other using video chat, and also be able to share files and type. VSee is free to use and download onto your computer, tablet or mobile phone.
I can conduct either all your sessions or singular sessions online when it suits. Confidentiality still stands within Online Counselling, so please ensure you are familiar with the Confidentiality Policy. It's also good to keep in mind the following:
Remember to make sure you are in a quiet space that you feel comfortable to talk about things
If anyone is present with you, that you are aware they may hear or see what you are discussing
To let me know if anyone is present.
To use headphones where possible.
If you are using a shared tablet, computer or if someone else can log into your device, to think about if someone can read your Chat messages on VSee. You may wish to delete them if so.
Everything that is discussed or created within your session is kept entirely confidential. All paperwork is also held securely, with your allowance to have access to it at your request. However, there are three reasons as to why I may have to share the information:
If you disclose information that relates to immediate harm currently happening or about to happen to yourself or another person(s), with your consent, I will pass this information on to the appropriate agency.
If you, or someone you know, are under 18 and is receiving or about to receive immediate harm, I will be legally obligated to pass this information on. You can be involved throughout the process.
It is an ethical requirement for me to receive monthly supervision about all of my clients. There is a confidentiality agreement between myself and my supervisor that you are kept anonymous.
A Requirement by Law
Such as the Terrorist Act where public safety is concerned.