what parents need to know
The 'Counselling at Charterhouse' policy is available to view here:
There is an extensive pastoral care team to support all pupils at Charterhouse. Counselling is an extra layer of concentrated support – an opportunity for in-depth reflection and discussion that helps pupils gain insight into themselves, their relationships and the wider world.
Counsellors are part of the "team around the child" and the Senior Counsellor is a member of the School’s Wellbeing and Pastoral committees to ensure a holistic approach to mental health and well-being.
Counselling is not about telling the pupil what to do; rather it is providing the time, space and assistance to help them resolve their own problems. Counselling is about exploring any worries, anxieties, problems or feelings that may be interfering in pupil’s personal or academic life. These issues may be in the here and now or in the past.
When consent is obtained, the counsellors work with the Hunt Health Centre, Housemasters and Matrons, amongst others, to help the pupil as much as possible.
Who are the counsellors?
Charterhouse counsellors, Jan Symes and Ray Watters are fully qualified and experienced in working with pupils in schools. Accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and follow its "Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions": www.bacp.co.uk/ethical_framework
How do pupils arrange to see a counsellor?
Pupils are welcome to "drop-in" to see a counsellor or contact via email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment. They are usually arranged to avoid hashes. Pupils can also book directly and discreetly via the Charterhouse intranet, 'Greyhound’. Staff are always on-hand to help a pupil make an appointment if needed.
Can I ask the counsellor how the sessions are going?
It is natural that you will want to know how your son/daughter is getting on in their counselling. It is important to remember that the counsellor will have agreed confidentiality with your son/daughter and has a duty to safeguard this.
The only rare exception to this would be if the counsellor thought that your son/daughter was at serious risk of harm.
Can I ask my son/daughter how the sessions are going?
The counselling relationship is private and personal, and each pupil will respond differently to it. Some may wish to talk about their sessions, while others, may wish to keep it to themselves! It is important to be guided by your son/daughter and to respect these individual differences. There may be times when your son/daughter seems more upset after a counselling session, and this may be because they have been talking about painful feelings. The counsellors are very mindful of this and careful that if this does happen, it is to aid understanding and not increase distress. Showing sensitivity to their feelings, while also respecting their right to privacy, is a difficult but important balance for parents and staff.
How long will my son/ daughter see a counsellor for?
Everyone has different needs, so there are no hard and fast rules. An appointment usually lasts 45 to 50 minutes. Some pupils find one session sufficient; most attend between 3 to 10 times.
What if my son/daughter says private things about our family?
It is important that every pupil feels free to talk about any experiences that may be troubling or confusing. It is understandable that you might feel some concern about what your son/daughter may wish to talk about in counselling. We all may experience times when it is hard to speak with those closest to us about things that are bothering us. Often this is because we don’t want to bother those we love, or because we want help thinking things through with someone outside the family. The counsellor is not here to judge you or anyone else in your family; their sole purpose is to help each pupil to manage their problems and resolve them in a positive way. It helps if you show your support for counselling in School.
We are always happy to talk with you about concerns that you may have about the idea of counselling. It is always our hope that talking with a counsellor will lead to greater openness with parents and families; this can take a little time to happen.
What if my son/daughter refuses counselling?
The decision about whether or not to take up the offer of counselling is entirely voluntary for children just as it would be for an adult.
Can I come for counselling?
Counselling at Charterhouse is for current pupils only. If you feel you could benefit from seeing a counsellor or a family therapist, we encourage you to contact your doctor’s surgery for referral. We also have a list of local private counsellors and therapists.
Living with a teenager can be exciting, fun and interesting and can be exhausting, confusing and frustrating! We have a range of information to support parents and run various events throughout the year.