Counselling Services

St Peter’s College, Dunboyne, Co Meath

School CounsellingInformation for Parents and Carers

Introduction

All parents have the responsibility of helping their children to grow and develop.

Your son or daughter may need help with their problems and worries. Sometimes, no matter how well they get on with you as parents, they may find it hard to talk to you. Young people often get helpand support by talking to someone they trust. Maybe a friend, a teacher, a relative or

neighbour can help. Often having a problem or concern can affect your son/daughter’s behaviour andschool-work, and the school counsellor may be able to help.

How can school counsellors help?

School counsellors are carefully selected for their experience and counselling qualifications.

Counsellors are good at relating to young people and are trained to listen without judging. They

can help people sort out their thoughts and feelings about what is worrying them.

The counsellors in St Peter’s College usually provide short-term counselling, up to six sessions, on school premises,and usually in school time. The length of the sessions varies.

What is discussed during the sessions is confidential,but the young person is told that the counsellor may discuss their problems with other people andagencies and get help from them if he or she thinks they are at risk or in danger. Thecounsellor is independent from the school staff but understands the school and works withteachers and other staff to help your daughter/son, while at the same time keeping confidentiality.

If it is necessary to refer the young person to an outside agency or other professional, permission will be sought will from student/parent(s).

How does my son or daughter get to see a school counsellor?

Your daughter/son may ask to see the counsellor or you or a teacher may recommend it.

Counselling needs to be a voluntary process.

Generally, the students in this school who ask for counselling are capable of fully understanding

what is involved and may seek counselling in their own right, without permission from a parent.It is the policy of the school to support a student who feels they need to talk to a counsellor.

What issues can school counsellors help with?

There can be lots of pressures on young people growing up, for example friendships,

teasing and bullying; exams and school work; family relationships, separations and

changes in family circumstances; as well as illness, loss or death of someone close. Young people also have tocope with adolescence and the strong feelings and physical changes that go with it. Evenquite young children can find that the time and space they get from counselling helps themfeel better, and cope better at home and in school.

How can a parent or carer support the counselling?

It will help your son or daughter if you accept counselling as a normal and useful activity, and show aninterest if they want to talk to you about it, without pushing it if they prefer not to discuss it. Counselling is not a magic solution, andsometimes it takes a while to feel the benefit.

Who are the counsellors?

School counsellors are trained for this special type of work and are professionally managed

and supervised. They work closely with school staff and other agencies. All counsellors work

within a recognised code of ethics and practice such as that of the Irish Association of

Counsellors and Psychotherapists (IACP). All counsellors provide references to show their

suitability for the post. They should have obtained, or be aiming for, IACP accreditation or

equivalent.

How can parents and carers find out more?

Information can be obtained from the school. Your child's teacher or tutor will give you more information.

The school counselling service is co-ordinated through Jimmy O’Connell. Other members of the team are Marie Nolan, the School Chaplain, John Tighe, the Guidance Counsellor, Brian McCarthy.

For more details you can contact the school office at 01-8252552

School Counselling Parent Consent Form

I understand that counselling is offered as a service to the students in the school, and I am willing to allow my son/daughter attend counselling if they wish.

I agree to allow my son/daughter to participate in surveys/questionnaires which relate to their education and well-being in school.

I understand that if a referral to an outside agency is indicated for my son/daughter, permission will be sought from us (parents) by the school authorities.

Signed:

Parent:________________________________________________

Parent:________________________________________________

Date:____________________________

Student: ______________________________________ Class___________________________

St Peter’s College, Dunboyne, Co Meath

School Counselling Information for Students

Sometimes life can be tough, and people growing up can be under pressure. Having

someone you can really talk to may be a help - perhaps a friend, a teacher, your parents,

or someone in the family.

At times, everyone feels worried or has problems that may behard to talk about with the people close to you. You may worry about whether they willunderstand, whether you can trust them, whether they will blame you, or ignore yourfeelings. That is when you may think about talking to the school counsellor.

How are counsellors different?

• we don't blame or judge you

• we don't tell you what to do

• we are there for you - whatever the problem

• we are good at listening carefully

• we can see you in school time

• we help you sort things out in a way which suits you

• we understand how your school works and can get you more help andinformation if you need it

• we can give you the time and space you need

• we have had plenty of training and practice to help us do our job well.

Will the counsellor tell anyone about what I say?

We don't ordinarily tell other people about you or your situation without your permission.

But if we think that you or someone else may be at risk or in danger, there may need to

get help from others to keep you safe. We will talk with you about this and together

we will try to find the best thing to do for you.

What kind of things can I tell the counsellor about?

Whatever is on your mind, problems, decisions, worries, and changes. It could be lots

of different things - making friends and relationships, parents separating, losing your

temper and getting into trouble at home and at school, teasing and bullying, losing

someone special, mixed-up feelings, health worries, exams and coursework. All

these things can affect how you feel and how you behave. Talking with you about

your worries and problems is the start of helping you sort them out.

How does it work?

Seeing a counsellor might be your idea, or your parents or a teacher might suggest it. You

don't have to decide straight away. You can meet the counsellor first, to ask questions and

find out more. Counselling is voluntary - it's your choice, and whatever you decide is OK.

You are likely to be offered appointments for regular sessions for several weeks at a room

in school where you won't be disturbed.

With your permission the school may wish to contact yourparents/carers to let them know you are seeing a counsellor, but will not go into details.

Itmay still be possible to come to counselling without your parents being told, and you candiscuss this with the counsellor.

How do I find out more or ask to see the counsellor?

Ask a teacher or Ceannaire or come directly to the school counsellor:Jimmy O’Connell, or Marie Nolan.

You can also speak with the Chaplain, John Tighe or the Guidance CounsellorBrian McCarthywho will link up with the school counsellor.