Frequently Asked Questions
Why have counselling in a school?
Like most of us children and young people can find that their ability to concentrate and/or their behaviour is affected when they are trying to deal with difficult issues. Allowing them a safe, confidential space to explore these issues can enable them to achieve their full potential both personally and academically.
The Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) “What do they know?” report identified that out of 138 children and young people interviewed 82% felt that counselling services should be available to them. Over three quarters of these children and young people thought that Counselling should be based within a school.
How quickly can you respond?
We aim to respond to initial enquiries within two working days. The time taken to set up the service within a school/schools will depend on the size of the contract and capacity within the service at the time of the request. In order to accommodate need we strive to offer a limited service whilst a new therapist is recruited.
What happens if Child Protection issues arise/a disclosure is made?
At the beginning of any work a contract is set up between the therapist and the child or young person explaining the boundaries of confidentiality. It makes clear that if a child or young person is considered to be at risk of significant harm from others or to themselves as a result of information that is disclosed, the therapist will need to share this with the Designated Child Protection lead in the school to help keep them as safe as possible.
The Counsellor/Arts Therapist would look to obtain the child or young person’s permission to share information. Any decision that is taken by the therapist with regards to breaking confidentiality will be done in the best interests of the child or young person.
What information will we share with you?
Within the boundaries of confidentiality our therapists will look to share strategies and information that does not compromise the integrity of the work that is being carried out. If the Counsellor/Arts Therapist believes it would be beneficial they may work with a child or young person to empower them to share information with their family or with the school themselves rather than speaking on their behalf.
The Counselling in Schools Service recognises how frustrating confidentiality can be for schools and as such therapists are encouraged to work confidentially but not in isolation.
Is it confidential?
A key feature of any quality assured counselling provision is that it is confidential. Counselling gives a child or young person a safe space to share their fears, worries or concerns and it is vital that they are able to develop a trusting relationship with the therapist if the work is to be successful.
When a child or young person sees a counsellor or therapist for the first time they enter into a contract that makes clear that the only time confidentiality would be broken and a discussion shared is if the child or young person is deemed to be at risk of significant harm from him/herself or others. If this were to be necessary the therapist would look to obtain a child or young person’s approval where possible.
Schools and parents can be frustrated by the boundaries of confidentiality as issues may be discussed between the child or young person and the therapist that they are unaware of. Some people can feel that knowing what is discussed may help them to better understand how the child or young person is feeling and therefore how they can support them. To encourage a child or young person to feel more in control of their situation therapist will work to empower them to feel able to share issues that they are experiencing with the school or their families. They may also explore what they want the counsellor or therapist to share on their behalf.
Frequently Asked Questions from Children and Young People
What’s counselling about?
Counselling is about helping you to work things out for yourself, making decisions and choices and helping you to look at things differently. It can help you to feel better about yourself anxious.
A counsellor is someone who you can talk to in a different way, someone who will listen to you very carefully, who will not judge you or tell you what to do.
How will I know if Counselling is right for me?
You can meet the counsellor for one or more sessions to find out for yourself. You can ask questions, see how you feel. The counsellor will talk to you about where and when to come and how often you will meet.
Counselling is voluntary. You have the choice to come or not. Whatever you decide will be OK.
Will anything be written about me?
Keeping information, about people, safe and confidential is very important to the counsellor.
The counsellor will make some notes about what has been talked about in the session. These are kept safely in a locked filing cabinet. All information written and discussed is private and confidential unless there is an agreed or overriding need to share this information in your best interests.
A counsellor presents their work to a counselling supervisor regularly. This person checks the counsellor is working well with you. Neither your name, nor your school is mentioned.
I want to access counselling but don’t want to do it at school – where can I go?
If you are 13 or over you can access Hear2Listen’s Youth Counselling Service. For further information visit
Do my parents need to know if I am seeing a counsellor/arts therapist?
Most secondary schools allow their pupils to sign Service Request forms in place of a parent’s signature as a means of allowing them to access counselling confidentially.
Frequently Asked Questions from Parents
Can I pay for my child to receive counselling at school?
Parents are not able to commission the service to provide Counselling/Arts Therapy for their child within school because it is important that a child or young person does not feel obligated to attend. The work can also become complicated when sessions are kept confidential and not shared with a parent who has commissioned the work. Some schools will allow parents to make a donation towards the cost of the counselling. In these instances the contract will still be with schools.
I am always there for my child to talk to, why would they want to talk to a counsellor?
We all experience occasions when it feels hard to speak to those closest to us about things that are bothering us. Often this is because we do not want to worry those we love. For this reason sometimes children and young people want help thinking things through with someone neutral. The therapist will not be judging them, or you, and they will be looking to help them find their way with whatever it is that is troubling them.
How do I know your Counsellor is safe to work with my child?
The Counselling4Schools Service operates to a quality assured framework. This means that Counsellors are:
Qualified to a minimum of Diploma level in Counselling and Arts
Therapists to a minimum of Masters level in Art/Dramatherapy
In receipt of regular training
In receipt of regular clinical supervision
Line managed within County Council guidelines
Accredited/Working towards BACP Accreditation
How can I support counselling therapy?
If your child attends Primary School you will be offered an opportunity to meet with the therapist to enable you to ask any questions that you may have.
Whilst it is natural for you as a parent to feel anxious about your child accessing therapy showing an acceptance of the need for it can be invaluable in helping them to participate in the work. In addition allowing your child space to discuss the therapy if they wish to do so, without them feeling pressed into it, can also be very helpful.
Why have a counsellor in school?
Like most of us children and young people can find that their concentration and/or behaviour is affected when they are trying to deal with difficult issues. Allowing them a safe and confidential space to explore these issues can enable them to achieve their full potential both personally and academically. It can also help build a child or young person’s resilience and self confidence.
By having a counsellor in a school children and young people can access support in a non stigmatising setting. The Children’s Rights Alliance for England’s (CRAE) ‘What do they know?’ report produced in 2009 suggests that more than three quarters of 1708 children and young people thought counselling services should be based in schools.
What if my child refuses to have Counselling/Arts Therapy?
Counselling and Arts Therapy can only take place when a child or young person is willing to engage with a therapist and as such sessions are attended on a voluntary basis.
Children and young people are involved in the setting of aims for the work, deciding what they would like from their sessions and are involved in the evaluation process.