Counselling service

Counselling service

“Counselling has helped me to feel more confident.”

“It helped me to understand myself better.”

“It helped a lot … discussing my problems instead of locking them away.”

“It has really helped me to talk more to my family and people around me.”

At times, everyone feels worried or has problems that may be hard to talk about. Talking to family and friends can be really helpful, but sometimes children and young people might feel like they need to talk to someone else. This might be because they don’t want to worry those they love, or because they want to think things through with someone who is outside their situation. The academy offers a counselling service which provides a safe place for students to talk privately about difficulties they may be experiencing.

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How can counselling help my child?

A counsellor is someone who will help your child to make sense of the difficulties that are troubling them. As well as listening, counsellors assist young people to clarify their problems, see patterns in their thinking and/or their actions, and support them to make positive changes. A counsellor does not tell someone what to do – instead they help them to work things out for themselves so that they can take steps which are right for them. Counselling can also build resilience by supporting young people in finding their strengths and learning skills to cope with life’s challenges.

What can my child talk about in counselling?

They can talk about whatever is on their mind. Some of the concerns that students bring to counselling include: feeling worried/anxious, feeling sad/depressed, difficulties controlling anger, loss of someone close to them, bullying, relationship issues with friends and/or family self-harm, confidence issues, sexuality, problems with food, drugs, or alcohol.

Is counselling confidential?

In order for young people to feel safe and trust the counsellor to help them, it is important that what they talk about is not shared with anyone else. However, if the child or someone else was at significant risk or in danger, the counsellor would need to speak to the Designated Child Protection Officer at the academy to agree the next steps to keep the child or others safe. Wherever possible the young person would be involved in this process. The limits to confidentiality are clearly explained to the young person at the start of counselling.

How can parents/carers help?

It will help your child if you see counselling as a normal and useful activity. Be ready to listen, but if they prefer not to talk it is important to respect their choice. It is quite natural for parents to be anxious about what may be being said in sessions but the counsellor will not be judging you or your child, but looking to help them find their way through whatever is troubling them. If your child does want to talk to you, try to listen to them without judgement or criticism and allow them their point of view.

Will parents/carers always be informed?

Young people may not always want their parents/carers to know they are attending counselling. If a child asks for counselling and is capable of fully understanding what is involved, they have a right to receive counselling without the permission of a parent/carer. This confidentiality is important so that they can feel confident to speak freely about their concerns, however, we do encourage openness with parents/carers where this is appropriate.

How does my child get to see a counsellor?

We are lucky to have two counsellors at the academy: Ms E Carlisle & Miss L Holden. Students can find out more about counselling, or get an appointment, by emailing Students can also be referred via their Head of Year.

Parents/carers can also make referrals by contacting the academy either via email or by telephone on 0161 795 3005. It is important that counselling is voluntary and this will be discussed with your child at their first appointment.

Counselling is also sometimes recommended by teachers or support staff in the school who may be aware of a young person experiencing emotional difficulties.

How long does counselling last?

Counselling appointments take place in a private room during lesson time for 30 – 40 minutes. Students will not be taken out of English, Maths or Science lessons and the appointments will vary each week so they will not always miss the same lesson. The number of sessions depends on the issues being discussed. There is usually an initial set of between 4-6 sessions, but in some cases there can be less or more.

How can I find out more?

If you would like to find out more about the counselling service, or you have any concerns about your child’s wellbeing, you can contact Ms Carlisle or Miss Holden on 0161 795 3005 or by email to

Where can I get support out of school hours?

This past year has been a stressful time for both adults and young people, and feeling more worried or anxious is an understandable and natural response. Young Minds is a UK leading charity supporting children and young people’s mental health, and they have produced some really helpful information for parents to help support children’s wellbeing. If your child is struggling with worry or anxiety here are some ways Young Minds suggest you can support your child. They also suggest places where you can go to get more help.

Emily Carlisle

BA (Hons) PGCE Dip. Couns. PGCert CBT MBACP

I started working as Academy Counsellor in January 2017. Before this, I worked as a counsellor in a high school in Bury for three years. I have also worked as an English and Maths tutor at a college, and for Connexions – a service for young people aged 13- 19 that offers advice, support and guidance. I have worked for different charities gaining a lot of experience counselling both adults and young people. I qualified as a counsellor in 2008.

Lorna Holden

Dip.Couns. RegMNCS

I joined the academy in November 2020 having qualified as a Psychotherapeutic Counsellor in March 2020. After a rewarding role in Human Resources Management for 25 years, a life changing event led to a career change and three years of study. During my studies I volunteered with Rochdale MIND offering counselling support to residents of Rochdale borough and its surrounding areas. I am also a qualified Hypnotherapist