Why online counselling?
Many young people find it difficult talking to a counsellor face-to-face. It can also be hard to arrange a suitable regular time for those who don't have transport, or live miles away from a town. Online counselling is an accessible and flexible alternative and can sometimes be a good first step towards face-to-face counselling.
At TIC+, your child can have online counselling if they live in Gloucestershire and are between the ages of 11 and 21.
How do I know if my child needs counselling?
Here are some signs that might mean your child needs counselling. Some of these signs are fairly common; many children will do the things on the list at some point. But when the behaviours become extreme or last for a long time, you may decide your child needs professional help.
Long periods of sadness
Your child may seem to be sad for several days or weeks. Nothing helps them feel better. You try to entertain or distract them but nothing works. They may be tearful and not be able to stop. Young people often show sadness through their actions, so they might get into trouble and break rules.
Living in the past
Your child may be focussed more on the past than the present. Some young people can’t stop thinking about death, their parents’ divorce, or the move etc. This is normal right after the event but at some point young people should be able to move on and talk about the present.
If your child has little or no interest in being with friends, wanting to be alone all the time. They don’t laugh, joke, or enjoy anything they’re doing.
If your child is self-harming or has thoughts about self-harming.
Problems saying goodbye
If your child finds it hard to leave you at the beginning of the day. This is a problem if they were used to saying goodbye before the problem occurred.
Lack of concentration
Some young people have a hard time getting things done. They may be distracted or can’t settle on activities or jobs you give them. They may not follow instructions well and they may complain that they can’t concentrate.
Changes in daily habits
Young people may change what they normally do. Some may wake up, but not want to get up. Or they can start having problems going to sleep. They may have nightmares. They may eat much more or much less than before. You may have trouble predicting what your child is going to do or when they’re going to do it.
Feeling a sense of responsibility or guilt
If your child thinks a divorce or a death is their fault or that they are responsible for taking care of you or a sibling.
Some young people may be angry all the time. They may often get into fights and take their anger out on others.
Feeling anxious and worried
If your child is worrying a lot. They may be worrying about their work or that someone they love will die. Sometimes the anxiety is non-specific.
Many young people do the things above at times. If the problems start suddenly after a divorce, death, or other stressful event, the child may need extra help. Getting help is important if:
• the signs are more extreme than is normal for your son or daughter
• they are long-lasting
• you’ve tried to work with your child, but the problems continue.
What is online counselling?
Online counselling is a one-to-one instant text chat with one of our qualified counsellors that’s a lot like texting, and you can be done on a computer, phone or tablet.
If your child chooses online counselling they will be allocated a counsellor who will meet with them once a week, usually on the same day and at the same time.
Your child will first need to contact us, or you can do this on their behalf. We'll take a few details and then send instructions explaining how they can access online counselling.
What information is needed to make a referral for online counselling?
When you contact us to make a referral for face-to-face counselling it would be helpful if you could give us the following information:
- Full name
- Date of Birth
- Ethnic Origin
- School or college
- Contact details
- GP name and address
- Brief summary of why counselling is required
- Relevant background information
- Other agencies involved (where known)
- Previous counselling history
- Disabilities that may affect access to counselling
How secure is online counselling?
We’ve done everything we can to make sure the conversations your child has with our counsellors are as secure as possible. We use a super-secure web platform that uses the most advanced encryption technology you can get. For more information, read our Security & Confidentiality document.
How can my child get online counselling?
Your child will first need to contact us, or you can do this on their behalf. We'll take a few details and then send instructions explaining how they can access online counselling. Counselling will only be effective if your child wants it and is happy to chat with one of our counsellors. So before requesting counselling for them, we ask that you talk to your child and get their agreement.
When is the online counselling open?
If your child chooses to have online counselling the sessions are weekly with the same counsellor. Appointments will be arranged for a day and a time that is convenient for them.
What will happen in my child's counselling sessions?
Counselling is a safe place for your child to talk about the things that are concerning them. The counsellor will listen without judging them and will help them make sense of the thoughts, feelings and situations they face. They’ll help them work out how they might be able to cope better. The counsellor will go at their pace and won’t ask them to share anything until they’re ready to do so.
How can I help my child when they have online counselling?
We asked some young people how their parents or carers could help them during counselling...
"Don’t ask too much about what we talk about in our sessions, but also show a bit of interest. We want parents to show they care, but if they pressure us to talk it can make us not want to."
"We worry about upsetting our parents or making them more worried about us, so that can make it difficult for us to tell them things sometimes."
"Find out about the problem we have, and the best ways to help us (from internet, speaking to our counsellor)"
Respect their right to privacy
Our counsellors work to a strict code of ethics and promise the young person will receive confidential counselling. This is essential, because it enables the young person to share emotions and thoughts without fearing it will be repeated to anyone else. What is said in the counselling session will not be discussed with parents or carers, unless the young person requests or gives consent for this, or if they choose to tell you about it.
Sometimes this can be hard for parents. It’s very common for parents to worry about what their child is saying in the sessions, but ensuring the confidentiality of the counselling work is crucial for establishing trust between the counsellor and the young person. Although the content of the sessions will be confidential within the counselling service, we require the right to breach confidentiality in some specific circumstances, particularly if we think the young person is at risk of serious harm.
Show acceptance of counselling
Meeting with a counsellor can be a scary prospect for a young person. Your child may need to be gently encouraged to engage with the service. Our experience shows that the most helpful thing a parent can do is to show that they accept counselling as a normal and useful activity. If your child is reluctant, it can sometimes help to encourage them to give it a try for just one session, and let them know that if they don’t like it, they won’t have to do it again. Counselling won’t be effective if the young person is really not willing to attend, so it’s best not to pressurise them to do so.
Show an interest in their counselling
It’s great to show an interest in their counselling, but don’t pressurise them to talk. Children and young people respond differently when they have counselling – some will want to talk to their parents and friends about their sessions, and others prefer to keep it to themselves. Both responses are normal. If your child prefers to keep things to themselves, it isn’t easy for parents and carers. But don’t forget it is a normal part of their development towards becoming an independent young person and then adult. The best thing to do is to show an interest and ask them how it’s going, but don’t press them if they don’t want to talk about it.
Remember counselling might not make things instantly better
Be mindful that counselling isn’t always a quick-fix solution. It’s quite natural for it to seem as if things haven’t changed, or have become more difficult, before they start to get better or easier.
How much does the online counselling cost?
TIC+ is a charity. We have always worked very hard at raising funds so that we can provide counselling for children and young people without having to make a charge. We’re delighted to have received funding from NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group to allow us to provide an online counselling service for children and young people in Gloucestershire. However, we welcome any donations or support from parents and guardians, if they feel able. Please see our donations page for details.
What if I have something to say about the TIC+ service?
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Your child decides you they need some counselling.
You or your child contacts our office team. We take some details so we can set up the online text chat 1-1 counselling.
We give your child a unique number and they give us a password so we can identify them when they come in to the TIC+ Reception & Counselling room.
We send an email with some details and instructions, mobile phones, tablet or pc are all compatible with the chat software we use.
Just click on the TIC+ Reception & Counselling button at the bottom of the website page to gain access to the TIC+ Online Counselling.
If your child chooses the drop-in they won't need an appointment, they can get online counselling during our open hours as soon as we have their details! If they choose scheduled counselling their counsellor will make contact to arrange a suitable appointment to meet online.
Your child enters the TIC+ Counselling Room and begins a text chat with our online counsellor.
Your child is pleased they used the TIC+ online text chat 1-1 counselling service!