Following our recent Open Day for the Children and Young People’s Willow Project we chatted to our counsellor, Stephenie, and asked her some of the frequently asked questions about the Willow Project and about counselling young people generally.
What is the Willow project all about?
Mid Wales RSC’s Willow Project was set up to enable children and young people, up to the age of eighteen, to cope with difficult feelings in a positive way, and to feel good about themselves and others. Our clients have experienced a whole range of difficulties.
How is counselling a young child different to working with a teenager?
There are obviously lots of differences. We have a well-equipped playroom for younger children and use a variety of play techniques and creative materials. Our awareness of developmental needs means that we can communicate with children in a meaningful way. Older clients may prefer the modern therapy rooms and we may concentrate more on talking. Whatever the age of the client we will focus on their individual needs and our sessions will be influenced by what our clients need.
What are the sessions like?
The sessions last for 50 minutes. The number of sessions will depend on each client.
I have heard that counselling can make you feel worse before you get better. Is this true?
It is worth remembering that as painful feelings are processed behavior and mood can deteriorate so yes, some clients do find some of their sessions difficult. This is absolutely normal. As we persevere we can work through these feelings and help our clients to start to feel better.
What can I do, as a parent, to support the process?
We know that when the parent or carer is supportive of the counselling it will have more chance of success. There will be regular outcome monitoring, to assess any progress or changes, and this means that feedback from our clients as well as their parents will always be considered. We definitely like to hear what parents think.
Will you tell parents what their child says in counselling?
Although confidentiality for a child is crucial, as it is with adult clients, he or she will be encouraged to share their therapeutic learning with you.
Do you have a safeguarding policy?
Absolutely – every member of staff receives regular training in safeguarding children and young people. We have a policy which is based on the All Wales guidelines. Our designated person with responsibility for safeguarding is the Service Manager, Katryn.