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Pathways Counselling Service


The Pathways Counselling team have been providing counselling support to primary and secondary schools since 1998.

We offer parents/carers the same confidential opportunity to talk through problems and reach positive outcomes.

We also work with teaching staff around the pressures and demands of home and school life.

The Counselling Team

Our counsellors have a vast range of experience in school based counselling, all are BACP accredited and level three safe guarding trained. All members continue Professional Development and have relevant insurance cover.

We have worked regularly with young people who display issues of:

  • Low self esteem
  • Self harm
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Trauma
  • Anxiety

Basic Counselling Requirements

A quiet and secure room is an absolute essential condition for counselling to be productive. School procedures mean that young people that attended counselling during session time need to have their whereabouts accounted for by means of an appointment slip.

Basic Counselling Requirements

Humanistic based counsellors have trained to work with whatever problem the client brings to the session, however with the high level of training ability the team also use gestalt, transactional analysis cognitive behavioural therapy, solution focused and for primary aged clients non directive play therapy.

To build a trusting relationship with a young person can take time, there is a need for the client to be receptive to counselling. Without this there is no possibility of a relationship developing and trust being built.

Beginnings and endings are an important procedure in counselling, contracts between the counsellor and young person are made during the initial session.


Our counsellors follow the guidelines set down by the BACP code of ethics. Counselling supervision must be regular, consistent and appropriate to the counselling.


Paramount in a counsellor/client relationship is confidentiality. This is explained to the young person before the start of the initial session.

Counselling and Child Safeguarding

The BACP guidelines for Counselling in Schools state that the need to protect children and young people should be sensitively weighed against their right to privacy and confidentiality.

In the case of a potential child protection concern, events may develop that could lead to the counsellor considering that a breach of confidentiality is necessary in the interest of safety.

This only relates to occasions when the counsellor has strong grounds for thinking that an individual may be at risk to serious harm from others or themselves e.g. abuse, or suicidal intent.

The overriding principle in all decisions is that they are made with the ‘best interest of the child’, and it is important that the young person’s safety is paramount in any decisions taken.

Values of Counselling

Service level agreement is maintained by the fundamental values of counselling which include a commitment to:

  • Respecting human rights and dignity
  • Ensuring the integrity of the counsellor- client relationship
  • Enhancing the quality of professional knowledge and its application
  • Alleviating personal distress and suffering
  • Fostering a sense of self that is meaningful to the person(s) concerned
  • Increasing personal effectiveness
  • Enhancing the quality of relationships between people
  • Appreciation of the variety of human experience and culture
  • Striving for the fair and adequate provision of counselling services

The counsellor’s personal moral qualities are of the utmost importance to clients. These qualities are developed out of personal commitment rather than the requirement of external authority.

Personal qualities to which counsellors are strongly encouraged to aspire to include:

  • Empathy - the ability to communicate understanding of another person’s understanding from that persons perspective
  • Sincerity - a personal commitment to consistency between what is professional and what is done
  • Integrity - commitment to being moral in dealings with others, personal straightforwardness, honesty and coherence
  • Resilience - the capacity to work with the clients concerns without being personally diminished
  • Respect - showing appropriate esteem to others and their understanding of themselves
  • Humility - the ability to assess accurately and acknowledge one’s own strengths and weaknesses
  • Competence - the effective deployment of the skills and knowledge needed to do what is required
  • Fairness - the consistent application of appropriate criteria to inform decisions and actions
  • Wisdom - possession of sound judgement that informs practice
  • Courage - the capacity to act in spite of known fears, risks and uncertainty


Evaluations of work can come from both written and verbal source. When counselling ends the young person is invited to complete an evaluation sheet to discuss how they feel counselling has benefited their situation.

Comments from young people

  • I can talk to her about anything and she really understands
    Year 10
  • I can always trust and rely on her, I trust her with anything
    Year 10
  • I’m able to express my feelings
    Year 9

Comments from staff

  • Fewer behavioural referrals
  • A valued and valuable resource
  • Pupils get quality time for themselves


The referrals the team receive can vary enormously from the need of the young person to the need of the referrer and their expectations.

This can cause difficulties as the counsellors priority is the young person’s needs and what they bring to each session would be at this point when it may be felt other counselling/support agencies would be of greater benefit. Signposting could be an option here or collating more information before acting.

Counsellors will attend any multi-agency meetings, Looked After Reviews and other appropriate meetings to support the young person, however, while maintaining the confidential relationship.