Counselling is a valued part of the support we offer to all students
Counselling provides one-to-one confidential support and is available for anyone who might be going through difficulties.
Some of the reasons why students come for support include things like:
- Having difficulties with friends at school
- Settling in to a new class
- Moving on to college
- Having worries that they don’t know how to deal with
- Feeling sad
Or perhaps they may be struggling with things at home such as:
- Illness or a family bereavement
- Moving house
- Parents separating
- Issues around growing up and being a teenager
Who can ask for counselling?
Students can ask for counselling themselves, or parents, carers or staff can ask on behalf of a student.
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.
What happens in a counselling session?
In the first session the counsellor explains what counselling is and how it may be helpful for the young person, then they can decide whether or not to take up this offer.
Counselling is confidential – this means that counsellors don’t tell anyone else what is said in a session. The only exception is when the counsellors are concerned about someone’s safety, in which case the school safeguarding procedures are followed.
The counsellor will listen and support without any criticism or judgement, and help someone find ways to cope better with whatever is worrying them.
Sometimes students worry that they won’t know what to say or that they will have to say things they don’t want to – counsellors will help students who don’t know what to say, and certainly won’t expect anyone to talk about things they don’t want to.
A session may just involve talking, but more often it is easier to talk while doing something else, such as drawing, playing a game, using a sand tray, listening to music, or having a walk outside.
Where and when does counselling happen?
There are dedicated counselling rooms on both lower and upper campus areas, which give comfortable and relaxing environments away from classrooms and the distractions of others. Sometimes a walk outside in the lovely gardens or outside spaces around school can be a good place to talk, as long as the weather is good enough!
Counselling takes place during the school day, usually meeting once a week for a period of several weeks.
“Owl Time” has become an important part of the counsellors’ work in school with the younger children. Owl puppets are used to explore the experience and language of emotions – each child and adult in a class group are given their own owl puppet and everyone gives their own owl a name.
The counsellors come into the class to lead a short weekly check-in session, giving an opportunity for everyone to say how they are feeling and to share anything they would like to tell the group.
Sometimes we hear about children’s birthdays or sports activities, and we often learn new interesting facts about owls!
Everyone has a turn in being listened to and in listening to others. Most children willingly join in and those who prefer not to are able to see what is going on and take part another time if they wish to.
Owl Time is a lot of fun!
Our school counsellors are Helen Stephenson and Helen Way. They are both fully qualified and are experienced in working with children and young people in schools and enjoy their work with young people at Orchard Manor.
As Registered Members of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) they work to the professional and ethical standards of the BACP.
Both the counsellors regularly take part in professional development and have independent supervision for their work at Orchard Manor.
Here are some links you may find useful for counselling and mental health awareness: