What is Children’s Counselling?

Children’s counselling may involve talking, play, creative expression such as painting and drawing, games, and sand-tray play. Children work through their thoughts, feelings and issues of concern through creative expression, play, and games. Both verbal and non verbal forms of expression are encouraged and valued in children’s counselling.

South West Counselling has a child therapy room and art, play and other creative expression resources to provide specialised facilities for children’s counselling.

In the same way that talking with a counsellor is more than just talking for adults, play, games, and creative expression are more than just play and fun in children’s counselling. Through these activities in the therapeutic setting children can tell their stories, make sense of their world, and process thoughts and feelings. Children’s counselling also acts to support a child’s strengths.

Children’s Counsellors at South West Counselling work with young people who are dealing with difficult issues and life events such as:

  • Divorce and family separation
  • Traumatic experience/s
  • Excessive fears, worries, sadness, anger
  • Loss and Grief
  • Low self esteem
  • Self confidence problems
  • Trouble developing friendships
  • Neglect and abuse
  • Depression
  • School-related problems including bullying
  • Body image issues
  • Self harm
  • Foster and adoption issues
  • Illness and hospitalisation

Counselling for Older Children & Teens

Counsellors at South West Counselling work with older children/teens dealing with issues such as low self esteem, body image issues, depression, anxiety, painful feelings, friendship difficulties, relationship difficulties, bullying, school problems, grief and loss, self harm, feelings of emptiness or numbness, and thoughts of death or suicide.

Counselling can assist older children and teens to talk about their life experiences and make sense of them. Counselling can also help teens and older children to express and understand difficult emotions. Counselling also acts to support a young person’s strengths.

Counselling the older child/teen is based on a non-judgmental, respectful, and supportive relationship between the counsellor and the young person. Counselling does not involve telling the young person what to do, but rather supports the young person to make their own positive decisions.

How to talk to your child about going to counselling

 If your child asks why they are going to counselling you could say something like:

‘Sometimes when things are hard at home, with friends, at school, it can help to have a place just for you with someone who can listen.’

 You can adapt this to suit the age and situation of the child. For example if your child is very young you could say something like:

‘Sometimes it can help to have a place just for you with someone who can listen. It’s okay if you don’t want to talk as there are games and toys there you can play with instead.’

For older children/teens it can be helpful to talk about the confidential nature of counselling, and that the counsellor is nonjudgmental, respectful and supportive.

Support for parents and caregivers

It is important to remember that children’s counselling reflects the child’s journey- how the child makes sense of their world and expresses themselves. Your child may bring up things that you feel uncomfortable about or might not want to talk about. Sometimes the child’s behaviour can become more challenging to the parent.

You may wish to consider seeking support for yourself, for example engaging in individual counselling for yourself, engaging in relationship counselling with your partner, or attending a parenting group or course.

Accessing support for yourself can help you to prepare yourself in advance for the possibility of your child bringing up things you feel uncomfortable about, or the possibility of you child’s behavior becoming challenging. Accessing support for yourself can help to support your strengths as a parent. It can also help you to give your child the support they need.

Accessing support for yourself can be beneficial at any stage of your child’s counselling.

Helpful contacts

Kids Helpline for Kids and Teens

Ph: 1800 55 1800

Websites for Kids and Teens

Parenting WA

24/7 parenting support and information

Ph: 1800 654 432 or (08) 6279 1200

Relationships Australia Parenting Courses

General information about parenting courses:

To find out about Parenting Courses in your area: 1300 364 277