Counselling Children and Young People

Sunlight bursting through Counselling Children and Young People

For over 15 years I have gained experience working with children and young people. Within that time, I gained experience in a variety of different therapeutic and support roles with adolescents (This age group I consider to be 11 – 24). The skills, knowledge and experience I acquired have enabled me to develop the ability to communicate with, support and build effective therapeutic relationships with the most young people, including those especially vulnerable.

My initial exposure to working with young people was as a counsellor within a drug and alcohol agency. I noticed a theme with my young clients. Drugs and/or alcohol offered them a way of coping with the demands of an adult world that expected more then they could deliver. With this in mind we collaborated in building on their existing resources to promote more effective, less harmful and more socially acceptable coping strategies. I noticed that my way of working had a positive impact on many other high risk behaviours connected with this age group - most noticable was the reduction in self-harming/injuring activities.

After 2 years I was ready to enhance the skills and knowledge I had acquired in a counselling setting to work with more vulnerable young people in the community. I spent the next 3 years working as a Young Person's Outreach Worker for a drug and alcohol charity. This role involved relating to the most disengaged, disillusioned and despondent young people in the community. The clients were 11-19 years old who were taking risks with drugs or drug funding activities. I met young people on the streets, engaged with them to gain their trust and supported them in every aspect of their lives. This could be as simple as reducing their drug taking risks or as complex as arranging residential rehabilitation. It was obvious that the young clients were often self-medicating to elevate severe mental health issues; therefore, another aspect of this role was supporting the young person through a network of other professionals.

More recently I set up a counselling service in an infant school. This involved generating policies and procedures that support therapeutic working with children together with connecting with the existing school policies that are so important when supporting children. Once the service was set up, I spend a year engaging therapeutically with children aged 4, 5, 6 & 7. I engaged the child through play, which offered me the opportunity to explore some of the themes that were being presented via this medium. Once the themes were established I worked to assist the child in releasing some of the more difficult emotions and move towards feeling better about themselves and/or the situation. The school counselling service is very successful and I have passed it onto another qualified counsellor looking to gain further experience in working therapeutically with children.

I have been a senior counsellor at a Sixth Form College and a counsellor at a prominent UK University. Working with adolescents is my passion and I am constantly surprised and in awe of the creative, inspiring and brave ways my young clients engage in a drive towards a better sense of well-being, with me, in the therapeutic encounter. I am always astonished at the imaginative and resourceful ways my young clients commit to, and make changes in their lives. This process motivates me, both personally and professionally and further strengthens my belief in a non-directive, empowering approach to working with young people.



►Richard Carroll ► 01252 598674 ►07876 200559