I have been working with children and young people for 25 years in both primary and secondary education settings. Firstly as a teaching assistant, then as a Behaviour Support Worker before setting up the Transition Project for children moving up to secondary school, then as a Family Support Officer before finally training as a counsellor. I work with children and young people with a range of difficulties and diagnoses. In particular, anxiety, depression, ADHD, autism click here, aspergers, attachment disorder, separation anxiety, demand avoidance and bereavement. I am a Child Mental Health Champion and currently employed as the Lead School Counsellor in a large secondary school. I manage a team of volunteer counsellors who are both qualified and those who are on placement. I also provide counselling for younger children in primary school and through transition.
I have recently used AAT (Animal Assisted Therapy) when it is appropriate in my work with younger clients who have emotional and behavioural problems by introducing them to the family dogs. The benefits of human-animal interaction is said to reduce stress and has a calming influence especially with children with a diagnosis of ADHD or ASD.
JustB....... Just Breathe, Just Be
I developed my own mindfulness group called JustB for those students experiencing stress and anxiety, especially during their exams. Mindfulness is a very simple form of meditation using breathing and relaxation techniques. By focusing on the breath it allows you to observe your difficult thoughts as they arise and to let go of them. Regular relaxation can help to enhance concentration, build self-esteem and encourage children to feel positive about themselves.
In the present moment,
I run groups for children and young people who have experienced a bereavement or loss through serious illness, traumatic events or parental separation and family breakdown. I structure the support and use a range of creative techniques to help children through their grief.
Parental and Carer Support
With the young person's consent, I sometimes invite parents and carers to join the sessions to look at understanding their children and improving family relationships, coping with sibling rivalry and implementing appropriate sanctions and boundaries.
"My Mum says this is the best money she spends all week and I think so too!" F, aged 12.
"He says you suck the bad things out of him" Mother of H, aged nine.