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Welcome to the Counselling Page

Our school counsellor is Helen Stephenson, who provides one-to-one confidential support for students of all ages at Orchard Manor.

Helen is a qualified counsellor and supervisor, a Registered and Accredited Member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and works to BACP ethical standards.

Helen has worked for many years in education and is experienced in counselling children and young people with special needs.

Counselling is available to anyone who may be experiencing difficulties of any sort at school or at home. Some of the usual 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
  • or just issues around growing up and being a teenager

Counselling is CONFIDENTIAL – this means that anything said in a session is not passed on to their friends, staff or parents. The only exceptions are if Helen and the young person agree that it might be helpful to share something with someone, or if there is a safeguarding concern, in which case the usual school safeguarding procedures are followed.

Students can ask for counselling themselves, or it may be requested by parents, carers or staff on behalf of a student. The decision to take up the offer of counselling is always the young person’s, even if it has been recommended or asked for by parents or staff.  Whilst Helen encourages them to take up this offer, she respects their choice not to - sometimes they might not be ready for it at that time.

There may be a short waiting time for counselling if demand is high. Usually counselling will be offered weekly for a period of several weeks rather than as long-term support.

Sometimes students worry that they won’t know what to say or that they will have to say things they don’t want to – Helen 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.

In the first session Helen explains what counselling is and how it may be helpful for the young person, and then they can decide whether or not to give it a try. She will listen and support without criticism or judgement, and help them find ways to cope better with whatever is worrying them.

A session may just involve talking, but more often it is easier to talk while doing something creative, such as drawing, playing a game, using a sand tray, or listening to music.

There are dedicated counselling rooms on both Lower and Upper sites, which give comfortable and relaxing environments away from classroom areas and the distractions of others.

Here are some links you may find useful for counselling and mental health awareness: