Counselling and Psychotherapy and Working with Children and Young People
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Lorraine Cooper MBACP (Accredited) UKRCP (Reg), Member BAPT
27th August, 2009
We live in times of rapid and often unexpected change, where demands of life can create stress and unhappiness. Often during these times of stress old pain, unhelpful patterns of behaviour and ways of coping can resurface. These may have lay dormant for years and can cause a great deal of confusion. If you or someone you care about is hurting or life isn't how you want it, you just don't know who you are, what you want or how to begin to make the changes necessary to move on to a more productive life, you don't have to suffer in silence or deal with these things on your own. You do have a choice. You can choose to get some help.
I believe that everyone was born OK with a basic drive for health, growth and a need for loving acceptance and recognition but that sometimes life events take their toll and block our progress.
Most of us have areas of our life where we are reasonably content and effective and other areas where we feel despondent and ineffective. Having a trained, caring and neutral individual, who is there purely to enable you to engage in your own unique and mutually respectful examination of the issues you have on your mind, is an important part of what a therapist provides.
What is the difference between Psychotherapy and Counselling?
In practice there is very little difference between these two terms.
Well, they are both known as the talking therapies. However, counselling is often more associated with short-term work and problem solving. It can be likened to "fine tuning of a radio" whereas psychotherapy is usually more long-term and can be likened to changing the transistor in the radio. Looking deeper into the workings.
The strength and quality of the therapeutic relationship is important in both counselling and psychotherapy.
Working with Children and Teenagers
Some times children feel lonely, bad or trapped and need a supportive hand outside the immediate family. The reasons can be varied such as a separation, divorce, loss, new birth in the family, moving home, school, medical or environmental problems. Some children have a history of physical, sexual or emotional abuse. Parents have times too when they are stressed and lack the energy, skills or strength to manage their child's distress.
All therapists should predominantly work in a way that integrates the two according to the specific needs of the individual, their unique experience and preference.
People who work with children, in particular, should have specialist training. Children do not always have the vocabulary and verbal skills to express their feelings and talk about their experience. Training equips the therapist with a 'toolbag' of ways in which to effectively engage children in exploration in a subtle, gentle and nurturing way that uses creativity when words are not appropriate or forthcoming. A specially trained children's therapist can draw on art, play, drama, music etc to aid exploration and expression of issues.
Often children or teenagers go through stages in their lives that are challenging and parents struggle with knowing the best way to deal with these difficulties. It is at such times that contact with a therapist could be useful.
When working with children the therapist needs to be mindful of the family unit and it is important (where appropriate) to co-opt the parents into a working relationship so that together they decide on a treatment plan. The therapist may be able to work with the child individually, with the family unit or only with the parents or a mixture of all three according to their area of expertise, training and skills. This in itself requires experience and specialist knowledge as it is in many ways more complex than working with individual adults and there are specific ethical and legal issues to be considered.
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