Counselling really does make a significant difference to the well-being of young people who have used our services. Feedback from young people after completing their counselling shows that:
- 98% understand themselves better
- 98% feel more positive about the future
- 98% say counselling has definitely helped them
- 90% feel more able to overcome life’s challenges
- 87% say their relationships with others have improved
Case Study: Clare (Age 15)
Clare (age 15) – real name disguised
Referral by GP
Clare’s problems were quite complex; severe depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation. She had moved from a mixed school where she felt under-challenged academically to a private girls’ school, but struggled to adapt socially and felt completely isolated; going for weeks without speaking to anyone. GCSEs felt too much and she was having severe panic attacks. She attempted suicide twice and was seen once by CAMHS, but came to OTR while waiting for further CAMHS support. All medication was locked away at home. She felt her issues ran deeper than the ‘Adaptive Disorder’ that CAMHS diagnosed. She had also recently ended the relationship with her boyfriend, kept secret from her religious parents. She usually only slept for 3-4hrs a night.
What happened during therapy:
Clare was very tearful and said it was the first time she had spoken openly to anyone (including CAMHS) about how she felt. She didn’t like to ‘be a bother’. They worked on ways she could communicate more openly with her parents about how she felt and what she needed. For example, when alone in the house, her urge to take her own life was sometimes very strong.
Her parents had not taken this seriously and when her panic attacks became increasingly severe and frequent, she spoke, with her therapist, to her mother about her suicidal thoughts, and her struggles at school. Initially her mother got angry and stressed, but after calming down she supported her to revisit her GP and re-contact CAMHS SPA for an appointment (they had been waiting 4 months).
She developed coping strategies for a school trip and other challenging events. This included accessing online support, whatsapping friends, a mindful colouring app, audio books and creating a ‘notebook’ of drawings and positive support from ‘herself to herself’, as a reminder. She found all of these very helpful. They discussed how school could support her, and she went into school with her mother to discuss this. CAMHS then prescribed anti-anxiety medication. Each week they worked with the things that worried her. CAMHS then offered CBT, and Clare had to stop coming to OTR, but she knew she could return later if she needed to.
Outcomes of therapy:
- Clare felt supported, listened to and understood
- she could talk to her mother about what she felt, and needed, and got support
- she got an earlier appointment with CAMHS
- she spoke to her school who made adjustments which supported her continued attendance
- she developed coping strategies that she found useful and supportive
- her panic attacks and suicidal thoughts decreased.
Case Study: Alice (Age 16)
Alice (age 16) – real name disguised
Referral by CAMHS SPA
Alice’s grandfather, who had supported her, had died 4 months previously, followed by her dog. Her father was an alcoholic, and her parents argued constantly, waking her at night. Her relationship with her father was strained due to his anger and lies. Her mother felt very controlling and Alice was under pressure to go to a top university. Home life felt like prison; she could hardly wait to leave but wasn’t sure how she’d survive till then as she felt barely able to cope.
Initially Alice didn’t want to come to therapy and found it hard to talk. She was detached, unemotional and very angry. Exploring her feelings initially felt new and scary. At home emotions were never expressed or talked about. She began to realise how angry she was with her parents, and began to find the therapy very useful in helping her gain clarity about her life – she felt supported and safe to talk, and she felt understood, which was a new experience for her and helped her relax and feel more normal.
What she worked on:
· her friendships and relationships, and how to communicate more effectively
· sharing her feelings – she took a huge risk in sharing what was troubling her with a friend – and it was a revelation to her that she felt ok and that it also helped her
· learning not to take on her parents’ problems which she couldn’t solve, but to focus on herself and getting to university
· developing far better sleeping patterns
· coping strategies, discovering which helped and which didn’t.
Alice felt supported in therapy, and said she felt so much better with her new perspective on life that she no longer needed to come. She left with a resolution to see her friends more and focus on herself and her A-Levels
Here’s what young people tell us about how counselling has helped them: