Do you keep records?

We have forms which we fill out anonymously for each young person. We use this information for our Annual Report, for research, for fund raising and also to note trends so that we can provide the sort of service teenagers and carers need. We use Data Protection and Freedom of Information guidelines.

How much does it cost?

Teen Counselling does not have a charge for counselling but we do request that each service user makes a donation according to their means. We are partially funded by state agencies and receive some grant aid from Charitable Infirmary Charitable Trust and from Crosscare.  Each contribution, no matter how small, will ensure that we can continue to provide the service to those who need it. Your donation can be made in an envelope provided in each centre and handed to your counsellor.

How long does counselling take?

Each young person is different. Some only attend once or twice and some find it useful to keep in touch for a long time. The average time last year was 7 appointments over 9 months. Often you will have a few sessions quite close together when you first start, say every two weeks, and then if things are going well, appointments are less often.

Do I have to attend?

Some teenagers ask for counselling themselves, but most teenagers attend Teen Counselling because an adult thinks it is a good idea. You may decide yourself that you want counselling and if so that’s great. If you are unsure, it is usually worth giving it a try. You may be surprised at how well it works.

Who comes to Teen Counselling?

Teenagers between the ages of 12 and 18. Some live with their parent/s, some with other family members, some in foster care and some in residential care. Teenagers come because they have problems they feel stuck with. Teen Counselling gives young people a ‘space apart’ from their everyday lives. With the support of their counsellor they can often find new ways of doing things so that life gets back on track.

I’m not sure what to say. Is this normal?

It can be difficult to know where to start. The counsellor will be able to help you by asking some questions and answering any questions you have.

Is it just for teenagers?

Teen Counselling is for teenagers and their carers. We find that working with both is usually the best way of making a difference. Most difficulties for teenagers affect the people they live with and vice versa.

How does it work?

If you live at home you usually come with one or both of your parents to the first appointment. If you live in residential care you might come with a key worker or social worker. We call this a joint appointment.

Who will be at the first appointment?

Usually you will be met by our secretary who will show you to the waiting room. You will be introduced to 2 counsellors and have your first counselling session together. This usually lasts just over an hour. We know you will be nervous but, most teenagers say that the first session was better than they had expected.

What will happen?

The first appointment is an opportunity for teenagers and carers to say what is not working for them. It is for gathering information and deciding whether Teen Counselling is the right place for you to sort out the difficulties you are experiencing. The counsellors will ask a lot of questions and one counsellor will take some notes so that we remember what you tell us.

How long will it take to feel better?

Some teens and parents find a big sense of relief after the first session, others may take longer. As each teen and parent is different, with different needs, it will depend on each individual. It can be useful to agree on a number of sessions and then review how you feel it’s going for you.

Is it private and confidential?

What you tell us about your life is confidential and information is only shared with other people in exceptional circumstances e.g. if we are given information about anyone being hurt, we cannot keep this a secret. If this happens we talk to you about what we need to do to keep people safe as this is our number one priority.

Can I talk to a counsellor on my own?

After the first appointment, one counsellor will be assigned to the teen and one to the parent/carers. Your next appointments are called individual appointments and at these times you will see your counsellor on your own. These appointments usually last about an hour. Further appointments, individual or joint, are arranged depending on what seems the best way to help.

What happens to the information you have about my family?

Everything you tell us is kept in a confidential file. What’s said in Teen Counselling stays in Teen Counselling. The only exceptions are if you tell us that you are at very serious risk of hurting yourself, being hurt by someone else, if you tell us about child abuse to you or anyone else. In these situations we might need to inform a social worker.