I have worked as a counsellor and play therapist in schools across West Sussex, with children ranging from first schools through to primary, secondary and also sixth formers. Please see my testimonials link as a guide to what we might achieve. I now offer a private service to clients in a comfortable, safe space with no parking fees or restrictions. I can also offer online therapy by Skype for those who prefer this method, perhaps because they're not local to Horsham, have a physical disability or as a matter of convenience.
Regardless of whether I am working with you at my practice in Horsham or via Skype, what I offer is a safe space to explore your feelings. It's that simple. You can be sure that I will be non-judgemental, with your child's wellbeing being the focus of our work together.
At an initial consultation, we can explore your expectations and hopes for therapy. We can consider whether short-term therapy may be effective or if longer-term work is the best way forward for you. In the short term, CBT can be helpful for finding ways to manage difficult feelings whilst we explore the underlying causes.
The point at which people usually seek counselling is when their problems are interfering with their day-to-lives. The most common reason I encounter is anxiety. Anxiety can present itself in many forms. In younger children, events such as parental separation, a house move, bereavement, illness or friendship issues can be explored through play therapy. Sometimes, anxiety can be heightened when a diagnosis of ADD or dyslexia is received and the period of adjustment can be difficult without emotional support.
Adolescents facing similar circumstances face the additional challenges from their own transition into adulthood and the result may be behavioural changes or coping strategies that might not seem very healthy. These might be panic attacks, self-harm, issues around food, angry outbursts, OCD or substance abuse to name but a few.
Some clients prefer just to talk whilst others, especially the younger ones, struggle to find words for their feelings but can express themselves through play and creativity. Often, their play is a metaphorical way of addressing troubling thoughts. I can work with you as an individual, with your child alone or as a family if that is helpful and appropriate.
I can offer a safe place to talk about whatever is troubling them. I appreciate that it can feel really strange for a parent to entrust their child to another adult in whom they will confide but it is important that they feel safe to express anything without judgement or fear of upsetting anyone. Confidentiality is an important part of our work and I would explain the limitations to this at the initial consultation. When working with children, I invite the parent/carer to attend for at least half of the first session. As work progresses, with the child's permission, I would feedback information to the parent/carer if they felt it would be helpful.