“It would be nice to have someone to talk to who is not a friend or family.”
“There have been so many changes lately, I hope that my child is doing okay.”
“I want my child to have a network of people to go to when needed.”
There are some children and youth who, for a variety of reasons such as personal temperament or life circumstances, benefit from an ongoing professional relationship. Having someone who is not a friend or family member as part of their team of people enriches their lives. Supportive counselling provides a predictable, safe environment to explore the thoughts and feelings that occur in daily life.
Such a relationship may be viewed as a lifelong relationship, at times utilized frequently (weekly or bi-weekly) and at other times less frequently, with long breaks occurring, perhaps for periods of years. This open-door policy creates an emotional safety net that provides comfort and security even when not being actively utilized.
Oftentimes supportive counselling is an outgrowth of providing support for a life crisis incident. At other times, children and youth may request professional support, recognizing their own need for the relationship. Caregivers of children may at times recognize that a child requires more support than what is currently available.
Children utilize the therapy relationship in ways that best meets their needs. Young children may benefit from play therapy. Puppets, sand tray, drawing, and acting are some ways children might relate. Older children and teens may enjoy more conversational activities but at times similarly benefit from creative interventions that aid in communication when words are hard to find.
Supportive counselling is helpful to parents and caregivers of children as they can be assured that the child is receiving added support for life experiences, learning new approaches and language for dealing with feelings, and simply having a relationship that is fun and focused solely on the child.