Services for Children and Young People

What is Counselling?

Counselling is a safe space where you can talk about the issues that are affecting you in your life.  Often people come to counselling when they want to change something in their lives.  It is a place where you can explore your feelings and thoughts in more depth.  Counselling can help you to find healthy ways to express yourself and to cope with the things that are going on for you.

Your counsellor

A counsellor is someone trained to listen and help you to explore your feelings.

Your counsellor will listen to whatever you want to talk about and keep what you say confidential.

Your counsellor will not tell you what to do or judge you but might suggest some things that could help.

What to expect and how to start

Before you start counselling we will invite you  in to meet with a counsellor for a  consultation.  This is a chance to find out what we do and what you are looking for and to decide whether you would like to give counselling a go.  You might come to the first meeting on your own or with your parent or Carer.

If you decide you would like counselling, there can be a short wait but we will try to arrange your sessions to start as soon as possible.

School-based Individual Counselling

We are here during the week to talk in more detail about what we can help with and how to book in a consultation. To access our services you will first have to complete a our Service Request Form. You can download this from our How to Refer page.  If you would like to find out a bit more or talk to someone in our team you can call us on 020 7352 1155. You could also send an email to team@wlac.org.uk.

One-to-one work with pupils in schools is an important part of the service that we can offer. The pupils with whom we work are selected and referred by the schools.

Over the past year we have worked in Westside Academy, Fulham Boys School, Hurlingham Academy and Melcombe Primary School, seeing children of different ages who are facing diverse challenges.

We offer a one-to-one counselling service on a weekly basis throughout the school year. In carrying out this work, we recognise that children’s emotional well-being is an important factor in their learning and educational achievement. The Goverment report ‘Future in Mind’ clearly identified the need for such work. We understand the importance of an accessible counselling service for young people at an early point in their lives.

Our counsellors are trained and experienced in using a range of child-centred creative therapeutic approaches using sand trays, art materials, therapeutic stories or role play. Children are encouraged to explore and express emotions that might otherwise be difficult to articulate. This enables them to reduce their psychological distress, manage emotions and build their inner resources and resilience.

If you are a professional working in a school and are looking find out more about our School-based services please get in touch with our team via email using: team@wlac.org.uk.

School-based Children’s Groups

Delivering theraputic groups in schools is proving to be a hugely impactful way that WLAC can help positively change children’s lives. By involving the school, the family and the child together, working with experienced therapists, we are able to make long lasting impacts.

Currently, WLAC specialises in two groups; one called Mighty Me is a therapeutic group run in schools for Years 4-6 to help grow children’s confidence and self esteem. The other, called Cool Moves is offered during the Summer term for Year Six children providing support around the transition from primary to secondary school.

Mighty Me

‘Mighty Me’ is a well established therapeutic group which we have run in various schools for over ten years. ‘Mighty Me’ aims to increase children’s self confidence and to provide an alternative to narratives that can be dominated by ‘problem’ talk.

By talking about being “mighty”, children are asked to think about their strengths in their hearts and their minds. Mighty qualities include being brave, calm, thoughtful, generous, kind or confident. Strategies are also introduced to help children, including mindfulness and positive self-talk.

By building on children’s strengths and “mightiness”, children are enabled to think about ways that they can become more powerful than their problems and to understand that difficulties come and go and bother us all. They are encouraged to identify things that worry them and to recognise that feelings, such as shyness, temper, sadness or jealousy, are a normal concern for children. Using drawing and role play, children are helped to understand that problems do not have to define us, overwhelm us or stop us from enjoying other aspects of our lives.

‘I found talking about scary and exciting things helpful. I found drawing the bodies enjoyable.’

Cool Moves

‘Cool Moves’ runs in the Summer Term to help children in Year 6 feel more confident about the transition from primary to secondary school. The group gives children an opportunity to realise that many of their worries about going to secondary school are shared with their peers and that they have the strengths to manage them. It also helps the children to identify their support networks. It integrates narrative, cognitive-behavioural and mindfulness models.

Children take part in fun activities to help them talk about their anxieties about secondary school including discussions, drawing, acting and relaxation.

‘I found talking and writing things about anxiety helpful and so was the safe place exercise.’

Strategies

Both groups help the children learn about strategies including:

  • ‘The X-ray feelings machine’ – a drawing activity to encourage children to identify different feelings they have around the transition to secondary school and to become aware of the physiological responses to these feelings
  • ‘Safe Place’ – a visualisation exercise in which the children are invited to imagine their own unique ‘safe place’ in which they feel strong and calm, which they can visit whenever their feelings about the transition feel overwhelming
  • The ‘Ally’ and ‘Nasty Parrot’ – children are introduced to the concept of positive self-talk, the ‘Ally’ who encourages and supports them, and negative self-talk, the ‘Nasty Parrot’ who tells them that they might fail. Children are encouraged to turn up the volume of their ‘Ally’ and turn down the ‘Nasty Parrot’

‘The helping hands was helpful and enjoyable but so was the safe place’

If you are a professional working in a school and are looking find out more about our School-based services please get in touch with our team via email using: team@wlac.org.uk.