Accessing therapy as a care leaver or care-experienced person

As a care leaver or someone with care experience, you may have experienced a range of challenges and difficulties that have impacted your mental health and well-being. Whether it was instability in your living situation, trauma, or a lack of practical or emotional support, these experiences can leave a lasting impact on your mental health.


You may also find it challenging to access professional support if you feel you have not been supported well by professionals in the past. You are not alone, and accessing therapy can be a positive step towards healing and growth. 

Therapy is a safe and confidential space where you can discuss your thoughts, feelings, and experiences with a trained professional. This person is not there to judge you but rather to support you in exploring your emotions, developing coping strategies, and making positive changes in your life. Seeking therapy can be a challenging decision, but it can also be transformative and empowering.

Why you may want to consider therapy

Here are some reasons why you may want to consider accessing therapy:

1. Addressing trauma

If you have experienced trauma in your life, therapy can be an effective way to process and work through it. Trauma can manifest in many ways, including anxiety, depression, flashbacks, and trouble sleeping. A counsellor or therapist can help you understand the impact of your experiences on your mental health and provide tools to manage your symptoms.

2. Developing coping mechanisms

Life can be challenging, and sometimes we all need support in developing healthy coping mechanisms. This is especially important for care leavers and care-experienced people who may not have had the emotional support or role modelling of healthy coping strategies they needed growing up. A counsellor or therapist can help you identify unhealthy patterns of behaviour and provide you with tools to manage stress and anxiety.

3. Building self-esteem

If you experienced neglect or abuse in your childhood, it can impact your self-esteem and sense of self-worth and identity. Therapy can help you identify negative self-talk and replace it with a more compassionate viewpoint. Your counsellor or therapist can help you develop a deeper understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, which can lead to increased confidence and self-acceptance.

4. Improving relationships

Care leavers and care-experienced people may have had difficulty forming healthy relationships due to a lack of trust, role modelling of healthy relationships or emotional support growing up. Therapy can help you address these challenges and develop healthy communication skills. A counsellor or therapist can help you identify patterns in your relationships and work towards making positive changes, improving your feelings of connection and belonging. 

5. Overcoming barriers

Sometimes we may feel stuck in life and unsure of how to move forward. A counsellor or therapist can help you identify and overcome barriers that may be preventing you from reaching your goals. This may include addressing fears and insecurities, developing a plan for the future, and creating a support system.

Tips for accessing therapy

If you are considering accessing therapy, here are some tips to help you get started:

1. Look for a professional who specialises in this area

Find a counsellor or therapist who specialises in working with care leavers or care-experienced individuals. They will have the knowledge and experience to understand your unique challenges and provide you with the support you need.

2. Find a professional who considers cultural impact

Look for a counsellor or therapist who is culturally competent and understands the impact of race, ethnicity, and culture on mental health. This is especially important for care leavers who may have experienced discrimination or racism in their lives. Although being a care leaver is not currently a legally recognised protected characteristic, it can have an impact on all aspects of your life.

3. Consider the type of therapy that would work best for you

This can include talk therapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy, or art therapy. Your counsellor or therapist can help you identify the best approach based on your unique needs and goals. An integrative counsellor or therapist is able to draw on knowledge of different types of therapy in order to find the best way of helping you. 

4. Don't be afraid to ask questions and advocate for yourself

Therapy is a collaborative process, and it's important that you feel comfortable and heard. If you don't feel a connection with your counsellor or therapist or feel like they're not addressing your needs, it's okay to look for someone else - much like any person, each counsellor or therapist is unique and their way of working may not be right for you. 

In conclusion, accessing therapy can be a powerful tool for care leavers or care-experienced individuals looking to improve their mental health and well-being. By addressing trauma, developing coping mechanisms, building self-esteem, improving relationships, and overcoming barriers, therapy can help you create a more fulfilling and satisfying life.

Remember, you are not alone, and there is support available to help you on your journey towards healing and growth.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Sandbach, Cheshire, CW11 1BA
Written by Lyndsey Adderley, MBACP
Sandbach, Cheshire, CW11 1BA

I specialise in working with parents and care experienced people. My approach is rooted in compassion, empathy, and cultural awareness. I believe in providing a safe and non-judgmental space where clients can explore their emotions, develop coping strategies, and work towards creating a more fulfilling life.

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