Children and Young People
Synergy counsellors have a wealth of experience of working with children and young people. Both James and Sally are parents and have worked with children and young people in voluntary and professional capacities for many years in various roles including youth clubs, mentoring, CAMHS, local educational behaviour support team and schools. Alongside maintaining his busy private practice James has worked as a school counsellor for the past 10 years and presently works in Nottingham High School and Nottingham University Samworth Academy.
(Written by the mum of a 9 year old - March 2016)
James regularly delivers programmes and talks for parents and facilitates workshops for professionals on therapeutic skills in working with children and young people. James specialises in working with boys but does also work successfully with girls. Sally specialises in working with teenagers who present with MUS (Medically Unexplained Symptoms) and has been working successfully with this cohort for many years in the NHS and privately, drawing on her physiotherapy expertise alongside her psychotherapy specialism.
It’s tough being young!
Being a child and young person is complicated today and navigating the pressures of fitting in and performing can be intense. Peer pressure, social media and family separation or blended families is increasing the complexity of an already insecure phase in an adolescent’s life. The rise of mental health issues and the general lack of happiness (see Good childhood report from the Children’s society 2015) in many of our children and young people are signs that they are finding it difficult to manage this transitory phase and are lacking development of emotional resilience.
Social media has caused an explosion of cyber bullying, sexting and social anxiety. The internet and mobile devices has increased the accessibility of pornography generating a mechanical unrealistic view of sex with the by-product of normalising expectations of certain sexual acts. This has clearly increased the premature interest, pressure and engagement in sexual acts and increased anxiety of body image issues. Screen based media has created an ‘always on’ culture making many young people chronically tired and socially anxious. Alongside this ‘Gaming’ is a big part of many adolescents culture creating positive social aspects but can also generate stress, irritation, isolation, social anxiety, body posture issues and a lack of emotional regulation.
Mental health facts
It is not unusual for children and young people to be struggling with a mental health issue today, here are some of the headlines:
- 1 in 10 children (9.6%) and young people aged 5 - 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder - that is around three children in every class (1).
- Between 1 in every 12 and 1 in 15 children and young people deliberately self-harm (2).
- Nearly 80,000 children and young people suffer from severe depression (5).
- The proportion of young people aged 15-16 with a conduct disorder more than doubled between 1974 and 1999 (10)
- 3.3% or about 290,000 children and young people have an anxiety disorder
The top 12 reasons why young people use Synergy services
2. Anxiety, worry & sleep problems
3. Lack of confidence/low self esteem | low self-image
4. Depression and low mood
5. Bereavement | grief | loss
6. Family issues – including separated and blended families| attachment issues | unhealthy emotional and behavioural expressions.
7. Stress related issues
8. Medically unexplained symptoms (MUS)
9. ADHD / OCD/ ODD and other Conduct disorders
10. Childhood trauma and post traumatic issues
How Synergy works with young people
The key aspect of our work with young people is building rapport and making good and safe connections with the young clients. We offer respectful and empathic listening, a non-judgemental attitude and an authentic presence. During an assessment the counsellor will seek to help the client understand what is going on emotionally by providing psychological information. Emotional fitness tools will be suggested to help them manage and have more control over their emotional fitness. Confidentiality is really important for a successful outcome and information will only be fed back to the parent with the explicit permission from the young client.
Feedback from young people who have used our service
85% satisfaction rate
80% of young people say that their emotional well being has increased after sessions with Synergy
99% of clients felt comfortable, understood and built a and good rapport with the counsellor
80% reported that they were able to handle their problems better because of counselling
60% said that their lives had changed since working with Synergy
80% gained greater awareness of feelings