Free teen counselling at YouthSpin in Bray
We are lucky in YouthSpin that we have access to a free teen counselling service through our local youth service in Bray. There is only a small budget, consequently the service can only be offered to a limited number of people. Young people or parents can contact YouthSpin or Bray Youth Service directly and we will attempt to offer support through our counselling service or we’ll help source alternative help if we aren’t in a position to offer counselling at that time.
In conversation with Lawrence Kelly, the counsellor who works with Bray Youth Service, I ask about counselling for young people seeking emotional support and what they might expect.
YouthSpin: Hi Lawrence, what happens when a young person goes to you for counselling?
Lawrence: Hi, usually, for a first session I ask the person to tell me a bit about themselves, what’s been going on in their lives, and what they hope to get from the counselling. This latter part can be crucial as some of the young people that come to me do so by personal choice as they want to work through some problems, and others have agreed to attend counselling as part of an arrangement that ensures they stay in school.
Sessions are by appointment only, and normally last for an hour. If for the first session a young person attends with a parent, I explain that after the initial introductory session that I wouldn’t be reporting back to them or to the school, unless requested to by the young person. I also talk about confidentiality, and what that means, particularly the limitations if I feel there is a real risk or harm to the young person, or to others from the young person. I also explain that they can leave or cancel the counselling session if they feel at all uncomfortable.
I explain about the process and what the young person can expect from me. I explain again about confidentiality and that I won’t be ‘reporting back’ to others unless requested by the young person. As the sessions progress we talk about the things the young person wants to talk about. I usually ask some questions to help that conversation, and I sometimes make suggestions that I think might help the young person with the problems they have talked about.
YouthSpin: So what is counselling? What are the benefits to counselling?
Lawrence: Counselling is a process. It’s one where the counsellor and client talk through some difficulty with a view to enabling the client to create some change that alleviates the difficulty. It’s often some sort of emotional or stressful time that a person is going through, or sometimes it can be a desire to change behaviour, like smoking cannabis for example.
The benefits are that simply talking through a problem can often alleviate the stress someone is feeling. It is an opportunity for a person to talk to someone outside of their family or peer group in a safe space. The counsellor offers emotional support that allows a person to talk about a problem openly and honestly without fear of judgement. After a period of counselling when change happens, it is because the young person has been involved in creating a solution for themselves.
YouthSpin: How would a young person seeking counselling get access to help?
Lawrence: Well, there are different ways. For example, the young people I meet in my role with Bray Youth Service are referred by youth workers who have been contacted either by the young people themselves, by parents, or by local schools. So contacting a local youth service is a good idea as they may have a teen counselling service they can refer people to.
A useful step can be to speak with your GP. A medical practice normally has a list of counselling services that they can refer to people. Alternatively there is an online source called the counselling directory if people prefer to look for counsellors themselves. There are also a number of national helplines that young people can contact if they need to talk to someone urgently.
YouthSpin: We have a very small budget for counselling, so we work with young people to cope with stress or anxiety they might feel. Any tips?
Lawrence: Well a certain amount of stress is a normal part of life, so recognising that is a good starting point. Also we need to look at what is causing our stress, how much of it can we control, and how much we can reduce the stress caused by the things we can’t control.
Finding ways to relax will help. Many people find listening to music or enjoying some exercise helps, but we’re all different so it’s a matter of finding what works for you. Generally doing things that we enjoy helps us to relax. Cutting down on tea and coffee can help, others keep a diary or journal as a means of clearing the stressful thoughts from their minds. It doesn’t help to bottle things up, nor to scream and shout at people. Telling people what’s wrong can ease your mind, or taking a short break from people to cool down can help too.
There is no right or wrong way, but some ways are more positive than others and they will obviously help more.
If a young person has a problem that is much more serious than normal stress, then it is worth finding out about help-lines or organisations that are there to help young people. That is where organisations like youth services help, to link young people up with organisations that can help.
YouthSpin: Thanks for your time Lawrence
Lawrence: You’re welcome.
Produced by Paul Murphy, YouthSpin
YouthSpin is the youth information service for County Wicklow.
Crosscare Youth information Services – YouthSpin
St Bricins, Herbert Rd, Bray, County Wicklow
Tel: 01 2050502