What is counselling?

Counselling offers children and young people a space to talk about their thoughts and feelings in a safe environment. It helps them to share any worries or problems they may have and to build their confidence and self-esteem. Children and young people are able to speak with one of our counsellors who are trained or in training and who are able to offer talking therapy and play therapy whilst enabling the child/young person to feel heard and trust the process.

How can counselling help your child/young person?

It can be difficult for children and/or young people to be able to talk to parents or family members about what they are thinking and feeling.  Talking to someone outside of the family can help your child to build trust, feel heard, and feel safe whilst learning to gain coping strategies and make sense of the world they live in. At Changing Pathways we offer play therapy by qualified child and adolescent counsellors. Both children and young people if they wish, can express their thoughts and feelings through play.

Our Counsellors   

All of our counsellors at Changing Pathways adhere to the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy’s Code of Ethics and practice for Counsellors. We have a diverse team of volunteer counsellors who are qualified and also counsellors that are in training.  All the counsellors are required to have supervision. Good counselling practice requires regular supervision and our counsellors receive their supervision monthly, which helps ensure good counselling standards are maintained.

The Counselling Process

We offer all prospective clients a short assessment interview. This involves both parent/carer and child talking with the counsellor whilst providing the child/young person with an opportunity to decide whether she/he wishes to go ahead with the counselling.  As regular attendance is a crucial part of the counselling process, counselling continues throughout the school holidays. Clients should be prepared to commit to a minimum of six sessions, and a maximum of twenty sessions, which will be reviewed regularly to ensure we are meeting the needs of the child. The counselling will usually take place in our children and young people’s room. During the counselling session your child will have the opportunity to use creative materials, puppets, a sand tray and toys to express their thoughts and feelings through whichever way they feel comfortable with.

*Please note that when children and young people are in therapy the mother/guardian must stay in the building*.


Counsellors treat information disclosed to them as confidential.  In addition, any information their supervisor receives is also treated as confidential and we do not disclose children or young people’s details to any third party. Children and young people have a right to speak to someone outside of the family in confidence and neither parent has access to any sessional information. However, should a counsellor feel a child/young person is either a danger to themselves or others, she does reserve the right to inform outside agencies, but would not do so without, whenever possible, informing the child/young person.  Please also note that under the Children’s Act, 1989 counsellors are required to report any child protection concerns to social services.

Cancelled appointments

We do not charge for counselling, but would ask you to give a full 24 hours’ notice for cancelled appointments.  However, in the event that an appointment is cancelled on two consecutive weeks, we will give you the opportunity to decide whether or not you wish to continue with your counselling or postpone it to a later date.

In the case of a missed appointment without any prior cancellation. Please note that your counselling place will not be kept open, unless we hear from you by 4pm the following day.

Our counselling service is not a standalone service that can be referred into by outside organisations.  A referral can only be made by our support practitioners for clients that are receiving refuge or outreach services.