SCHOOL COUNSELLOR - Jackie Rees
The school counsellor is Jackie Rees. She is in school every Thursday and Friday. You can contact her directly by e-mail: CounsellingService@colytongrammar.com or you can drop in without an appointment during first break and at lunch time. Jackie is based in the East Wing. To find her, go into Lockers 2. Her Office is on the left hand side.
What’s counselling about?
It’s a normal part of life to experience problems and difficulties at times and when something is worrying you it’s not always easy to talk to parents, friends or teachers. A counsellor is someone who isn’t involved in your life in the same way as other people. They are trained to listen to you very carefully, and won’t judge you or tell you what to do. Seeing a counsellor can help you to work things out for yourself and to look at things differently. It can help you to feel better about yourself.
What kind of things do people talk about in counselling?
People talk about lots of different things in counselling. Examples include: problems at home, difficulties with friends, exam and work worries, how you feel about yourself, relationships, drugs and alcohol, family break up, and bereavement. Counselling is a safe space to talk about whatever is worrying you.
When will I see the Counsellor?
You can also ask a member of staff to make a referral to the counsellor. This might be your Form Tutor, a Head of Year, or Mr S Smith Head of Sixth Form. Jackie will then make an appointment for you to see her when she has a space. You will be able to discuss whatever you wish with Gill at the first session. She will talk to you about how she works and answer any questions you have. Usually you will have six sessions of up to 50 minutes and then review whether it is appropriate to have more.
My tutor has suggested counselling. Do I have to come?
No one can make you attend counselling. It is your choice to decide whether to come or not. But if someone has suggested it, they probably have your best interests in mind. The best way to make an informed choice is to meet the counsellor for one or more sessions to find out for yourself if it is useful.
Who will know I am seeing the counsellor and is what I say kept private?
What you talk about is confidential between you and the counsellor. If you wish you can talk to other people about what you have discussed with the counsellor, but you don’t have to. Neither do you have to tell your parents that you are seeing the counsellor. The counsellor won’t tell anyone, including your parents and teachers, about what you say without your permission. There are two exceptions to this:
1. If you or somebody else is at risk of significant harm the counsellor may need to talk to someone else to help keep you safe, but will always try to talk with you about this first.
2. The counsellor presents their work to a counselling supervisor regularly. This person checks the counsellor is working well with you. The supervisor won’t discuss anything shared by the counsellor with anyone else.
Will anything be written about me?
The counsellor 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. Again, every effort will be made to discuss this with you first.
Here are some comments made by students who have been to counselling...
“Having counselling has helped me a lot. I have been able to discuss my problems instead of locking them away, which is what I used to do. It has been a very big help to me.”
”It helped me to understand my problems and to overcome them.”
“It really helped me to talk more to my family and other people around me.”
“The counselling has helped me to feel confident in myself.”
INFORMATION FOR PARENTS
The services of a professional counsellor are available in school. This confidential service offers additional support to students to enable them to make the most of the opportunities offered for academic and social development.
How long will counselling last?
Counselling may be for a few sessions, or longer term. It is reviewed regularly between the counsellor and young person. Counselling will take place in the East Wing in sessions lasting up to 50 minutes (depending on the circumstances), and appointment times are varied so that time is not lost from any one subject. The decision about whether or not to take up the offer of counselling is entirely voluntary for children and young people, just as it would be for an adult.
Is it confidential?
A key feature of our service is that information discussed in the counselling session is treated confidentially. Counselling is a time when it’s O.K. to talk about concerns without fear of them being discussed elsewhere. This includes not discussing the work with parents, unless the child or young person requests or gives consent for this. This can be hard for parents to accept at times, but ensuring the confidentiality of the work is crucial for establishing trust so that the children and young people feel confident to speak openly and freely about what is concerning them. However, if a student appears to be at risk of significant harm it may be appropriate to seek help from other agencies to keep them safe. The counsellor would aim to discuss this first with the student concerned.
What if I don’t want my child to receive counselling?
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. We would, however, prefer that we have your support for the work, and we are always happy to talk with you about any concerns that you may have about the idea of counselling.
Can I support the counselling work?
Yes, and we welcome this. Our experience shows that the most helpful thing a parent can do is to show an acceptance of counselling as a normal and useful activity, and to show an interest if their son/daughter wishes to talk about it, but not to press them if they don’t. We acknowledge that this isn’t an easy task, and it is quite natural for parents to feel anxious about what may be said in the sessions. It is always our hope that talking with a counsellor will lead to greater openness with parents and families, you may need to allow a little time for this to happen.
What if I am anxious about my child seeing a counsellor?
It’s quite normal to feel like that at first. We all experience occasions when it feels hard to speak to those closest to us about things which are bothering us. Often this can be because we don’t want to worry those we love best, or because we want help thinking things through with someone else outside of the family. The Counsellor will not be judging you or your child, but looking to help them find their way through whatever is troubling them.
DATA PROTECTION PROCEDURES AND EVALUATION
All information about counselling work undertaken by our staff is kept securely in line with General Data Protection Regulations. After the counselling has finished your child will be given an evaluation form that they can complete anonymously and return. This lets us know how well we are helping the children and young people that we see. If there is any cause for complaint, you or your child are welcome to contact either the Deputy Head or Head of Sixth Form who will aim to resolve any issues of concern.
The school counsellor’s work with young people will be supervised by an experienced senior practitioner. Supervision of the counsellor’s practice is confidential and ensures quality and standards are maintained.
The school counsellor belongs to a professional counselling body (British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists) and holds counselling qualifications. The counsellor will adhere to the BACP Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy which can be found online at bacp: ethical framework and contains details of their complaints procedure.
If you wish to discuss this further or need more information, please contact the Headteacher.
Here are some comments made by students who have been to counselling, which helps us understand how young people benefit:
"Having counselling has helped me a lot. I have been able to discuss my problems instead of locking them away, which is what I used to do. It has been a very big help to me.”
”It helped me to understand my problems and to overcome them.”
“It really helped me to talk more to my family and people around me.”
"The counselling has helped me to feel confident in myself.”
"I don’t feel ashamed to admit that I need help because now I know that I am not the only one that needs help.”