Here at Treloar’s, the Counselling Psychotherapies Team supports the emotional, social and mental health needs of children and adolescents with complex physical disabilities and often learning disability too. The Counselling Team at Treloar’s brings together years of expertise in this field with a breadth and depth of training and specialist knowledge which would not be expected in a mainstream educational setting. We are able to provide therapeutic support which is highly individual. We share a common student-centered approach; we assess and match students to a skilled counsellor/therapist who will utilise their knowledge and skills to meet individual student needs. Our Counsellors are able to work in innovative ways with students who may have little or no verbal communication – using word books, technology, and non-verbal, creative strategies. We are fortunate to have a qualified play therapist, art therapist and a music therapist on the team. We work to the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) ethical framework.
Not only do we support students with issues that colleges and schools will be familiar with across the country: bullying, home life, peer relationships, exam stress, transitions, bereavement, etc. We also offer more intensive, long-term psychotherapeutic support where therapists might work with developmental delay, trauma, attachment issues, identity, social interactions, developing emotional language and understanding, communicating needs, life limiting conditions, and, developing independence and autonomy. For some of our students we may offer a therapeutic pathway through our team whilst they are at Treloar’s; starting with music therapy and then progressing to play therapy and more verbal based counselling as communication and cognitive skills develop.
We also help students to practice relaxation techniques such as mindfulness and visualisation to help regulate difficult emotions, we might also use CBT based approaches to support students to cope more effectively with day to day struggles. We also have therpaists who are trained in the Rewind technique to support students with specific trauma.
Many of our students also come with experience of multiple hospitalisations, sometimes difficult family history, trauma, and may present with a range of behavioural and emotional issues. Statistically, there is a higher likelihood that our students will experience additional mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, psychosis, etc. at some point in their lives (compared with cohorts in other educational establishments). Our students may have communication difficulties and utilise a range of communication devices, whilst others may have limited cognitive ability and little communication skill at all. Meeting the mental health needs of students with such complex and co-existing challenges requires more specialist expertise than the average school/college counselling service. The approach needed is much more likely to be a long-term psychotherapeutic approach
At assessment, all students will have some element of counselling provision applied to their funding to enable access for all should the need arise. This may just be for 6 sessions to support settling in, exam stress, transition or similar issues or could be a longer term offer depending on need. We appreciate parents consenting to this support for school students which can be invaluable in enabling them to access education fully when difficult events or changes might have an adverse affect on their studies.