Mental Health Lead and School Counsellor – Emma Nicks
School Counselling Service
Counselling is an intervention that is completely voluntary and is available to Trafalgar School pupils. This support can be accessed via referrals from any member of the Trafalgar staff, parents or carers. Alternatively, a self-referral can be made by a pupil by simply popping in to the Counselling room during the School break times.
Counselling is usually done on a one to one basis and an average session time is 30 minutes. Sessions may be a one-off session or a block booking (usually 8x sessions including the introduction session and ending session).
Counselling has shown to bring about significant reductions in psychological distress in the short term. Counselling can also improve attainment, attendance and reductions in behavioural problems.
Trafalgar School’s strong sense of ‘Community’ has meant that accessing the Counselling Service is something that our pupils just “do”, there is no stigma or shame attached to it. It has become a regular occurrence, to have a supportive pupil bring another pupil to the Counselling room for support.
Counselling can help young people overcome issues in their lives which may be causing them difficulty, distress or confusion. Self-esteem gained from the sessions can make happier, more confident and resilient pupils who pursue personally meaningful goals (much like our own Trafalgar positive ethos).
My daughter is currently receiving support from CAMHS. I would really like for her to be given the opportunity to receive extra support at Trafalgar School from the Counselling service. Is this possible?
Yes it is, although I would in the first instance, need to communicate with specialist CAMHS. This would be to explore how best I could parallel support your daughter alongside specialist CAMHS.
CAMHS will often request the School Counselling support is in place while a young person is attending specialist Mental Health services. Sometimes resources constraints can mean that CAMHS appointments are not as frequent as the service and/or young person and parents or carers would like.
Will I be able to find out what my son talks about in his Counselling sessions?
If a young person’s Counselling service shared details of their session, then young people in general would absolutely not be accessing this service. However, knowing that a young person is accessing support for their issues can be reassuring enough for anxious parents or carers.
The exception to this would be if there was a Safeguarding issue. This would mean that I must speak to Safeguarding officer here at Trafalgar School to pass on any discloser made that would put a young person at risk.
Referrals can be made via a member of the Senior Leadership team, Pastoral team or SEN team.
Anger Management (Behaviour Modification Firework Model), is usually done in a block of 8x sessions similarly to the Counselling sessions. However, sometimes there can be difficult behaviour patterns that have become established over a long period of time and so will require a significantly longer period of time to resolve these certain types of negative behaviour.
These sessions are absolutely voluntary for pupils.
My daughter is really angry all of the time at home and I want her to have Anger Management. Can I refer her myself?
You could talk to your daughter’s Year Leader or Assistant Year Leaders about your concerns and they may very well agree to do a referral for you; however please will you look at the list of external Interventions and Support Programmes as you might be able to receive the support that you require without a referral in place. There is information on Parent Practitioners in the Portsmouth area, who offer brilliant parent and carer advice sessions.
Restorative Justice Sessions
Trafalgar School believe that pupils should be given the opportunity to resolve issues that can happen between young people. This should be done in a positive way that can help to resolve fallings out, misunderstandings or differences.
Restorative Justice Sessions can only be done when both pupils agree on a voluntarily basis to these sessions. Trafalgar School will always encourage pupils to resolve their differences this way when a Year Leader has requested this support is made available to them.
I am not sure whether I want my son to participate in a Restorative Justice Session. He did not do anything wrong and it was the other boy picking on him. What reason would there be for me to allow my son to attend?
Your son deserves the opportunity to have his say of how this other pupil has made him feel. The other pupil needs to take responsibility of how he had chosen to treat your son and explain how things will be different. More importantly, your son deserves to feel happier then he has been recently and a Restorative Justice session is a positive way of achieving a positive outcome for all concerned.
Year 7 Friendship Group
This group is available to Year 7 pupils, who have experienced difficulties in establishing friendships in Secondary School or who lack confidence around their peer group.
Pupils have gone on to gain confidence in themselves and make close friendships with other group members.
Although the group is open to all students who require support, pupils with Autism have all found this group to be an enjoyable one. Pupils have requested that the ending time be extended to 4.00pm.
The group is run every Tuesday from afternoon tutor until 3.30pm. The ending time will change to 4.00pm following the Easter Holidays.
How would my daughter join this friendship group?
The group is held in the Counselling room and pupils are welcome to come along on any Tuesday. If there are any pupils who are unable to come along due to anxieties, then please let me know. I can then gently introduce them to the group members and have them with me prior to the start of the group session.