I’ve chosen to work with young people aged 16 and up. There are different things to take into account when working with children younger than that.
When working with young people under 16, the cooperation of the parent(s) or carer(s) is essential for the process to fully work. Parents and carers are the main models in a child’s life, including the counsellor they will be seeing and trusting with their feelings and difficulties in expressing what they might be going through. Therefore, input and support from parents is essential.
As adults, we have learned, through better or worse circumstances, how to work out what we are feeling, how to address it – by seeking counselling ourselves or by talking it through with those closest to us – and work through it to regain balance in life. As such, we are in a great position to support our children and young people to do the same, understanding that their life experiences are not extensive yet, and are learning to do what we already know how to do, to a greater or lesser degree.
It is important to be aware that some young people, particularly those 16+, might not want their parents involved in their therapeutic process, which relates to the Gillick Competencies:
“parental right yields to the child’s right to make his own decisions when he reaches a sufficient understanding and intelligence to be capable of making up his own mind on the matter requiring decision.”
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