It can be difficult to give children the space to manage their counselling relationship themselves:
What follows is a summary of key points in our Parents handbook, which you can read online by clicking here.
Referral:As a self-referral agency, we enable young people to seek services without an adult making a referral. This approach requires the young person to manage the relationship and we require this from the start. We will, therefore, need the young person to book their initial assessment themselves. For younger children (under thirteen) or for those with severe anxieties or a disability that hinders communication, we will allow an adult (parent or teacher etc) to facilitate the process by providing some personal information prior to the assessment being arranged with the young person.
Assessments:A parent or a professional, such as a social worker, very often bring a young person to the initial assessment. We are happy for adults to accompany a young person into the assessment to help settle them in. Once they are settled, the assessor will need to speak to the young person alone so that they can get a full picture of the young person’s needs as they define them.
Contact with a counsellor:To ensure that the young person is in charge of the relationship, we will not generally permit incidental contact between adults and their young person’s counsellor. If you want to talk to the counsellor, ask your child to request this, so that your child can agree with their counsellor what is the best way for this to happen. Sometimes parents call to give Signpost information, which can be very helpful. It is important that such contact does not undermine the young person’s trust in the counsellor and so, we will place any information you provide in a sealed envelope to be opened by the counsellor once this has been discussed with the young person.
Confidentiality:The counselling we provide for young people is confidential. We will only share information outside of Signpost if a young person discloses something that puts them or others at risk. So, we are not usually able to involve parents or other professionals in young people’s counselling. Many young people, however, can be surprisingly open about their counselling and this can provide a foundation for building a stronger and more supportive relationship with your child. Be careful, however, not to pressurise a young person for information.