Sometimes we all have problems that are worrying. Think of a confusing jigsaw when all the pieces are difficult to match together. Talking about a problem in counselling is like sorting out all the pieces so that we can begin to build a picture that makes more sense to us. Sometimes it is difficult to talk to parents, friends or teachers about things that are worrying us. A counsellor is someone you can talk to in a different way- someone who will listen to you very carefully, and who will not judge you or tell you what to do.
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. Issues that may prompt a pupil to seek counselling include bullying, academic pressure, parental divorce or separation, peer pressure, drugs and/or alcohol, sexual health, arrival of a new sibling, low mood, anxiety, examination stress, bereavement, worry about the future and difficulties making decisions.
Who is the counsellor?
Dr Julie Beavan-Pearson is a visiting school counsellor. She is available on a Thursday for appointments. As a member of The British Psychological Society (BPS) and the Health Care Professionals Council (HCPC), she is bound for their Code of Ethics. More information can be found at www.bps.org and www.hpc-uk.org
When and where?
Dr Beavan-Pearson spends every Thursday at Hereford Cathedral School and is available for appointments between 9.15am and 4.30pm. Appointments take place in the Pastoral Room.
Counselling at school is considered to be a short to medium term strategy; it may be that longer-term specialist support is required in certain cases. It would not normally be the case for an individual to receive more than six appointments.
How do I make an appointment to see the counsellor?
Referrals for counselling may come in the following ways:
1. Self-referral by the pupil: The easiest way for a pupil to arrange to see Julie is to talk with one of the School Nurses. Pupils can also liaise with their Form Tutor or Head of House who will contact the School Nurse on the behalf of the pupil.
2. Referral by the Head of House or Form Tutor: The Head of House or Form Tutor may refer pupils for counselling by liaising with the School Nurse, or by encouraging the pupil to self-refer.
3. Referral by parents: Parents may contact the Deputy Head, the Head of House, the Form Tutor or the School Nurse. Our strong preference is that the parent(s) encourage their child to self-refer, rather than making arrangements on their behalf. Counselling can form part of a support package, discussed and agreed with a pupil and his/her parents as an aid through difficult times (for example, a situation involving behavioural or attitudinal problems). However in all circumstances counselling will only begin on a voluntary basis and with the child’s full and unforced consent.
All young people are entitled to confidentiality within the confines of counselling. This means that the information they bring to the session will be held between themselves and the counsellor. Information will not be shared unless the young person has agreed to it. However the counsellor may need to break confidentiality should they deem the young person is at significant risk to themselves or others. At this point information may need to be shared with another party, either within school, or with an appropriate referral to an outside agency. The pupil will be informed of this, and included in the discussion as much as is possible.
Counsellors are strictly bound by Safeguarding and Child Protection procedures adhered to at Hereford Cathedral School and are aware of the Designated Safeguarding Leads and the appropriate procedures should they need to be followed.
All parents are informed of the arrangements for counselling when their child enters the School. Any parents who do not wish these services to be available to their child during their time at School are requested to inform the Deputy Head in writing. However, whilst parental wishes will be taken into account, particularly for pupils lower down the School, the welfare of the pupil is paramount and each case will be considered individually.
The counsellor will keep a formal record of pupils seen which may include mention of the types of issues discussed. Pupils are legally entitled to see records relating to themselves. All records are treated as discreet and confidential. Such formal records are in addition to any private case notes that the Counsellor may make confidentially for aide-memoire purposes.
Will my counsellor discuss my problems with staff at School?
No. The counsellor will only make contact with staff at School if you request this. In such circumstances you will be asked to agree to this first. The Counsellor should not be required or expected to disclose confidential information to senior staff or Heads of House departing from the rules of confidentiality set out above. However this does not preclude the Counsellor from being consulted on or involved in discussions about the most appropriate forms of support and response to a pupil’s pastoral or behavioural difficulties. The Counsellor will be able to contribute valuably to these processes without disclosing confidential information.