Home Page

School Counsellor

Hello, my name is Melissa and I am the School Counsellor.

What is counselling?

Counselling is an intervention that allows children and young people to explore, understand and overcome issues in their lives which may be causing them difficulty, distress and/ or confusion.

A counselling relationship has identified boundaries and an explicit contract agreed between the young person, counsellor and parent or carer.

Good mental and emotional wellbeing is an integral part of children and young people’s holistic development. When this development is inhibited, counselling can be an effective and important resource.


The aims of counselling are…

  1. To assist the child or young person to achieve a greater understanding of themselves and their relationship to their world.
  2. To create greater awareness and utilisation of their personal resources.
  3. To build resilience.
  4. To support their ability to address problems and pursue meaningful goals.

Why might I need to see a counsellor?

Sometimes children or young people need a space where they can share their feelings away from friends, family and teachers. Counselling offers a non-judgemental, private and safe place to explore emotions.


Signs to look out for …

  • Persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness.
  • Constant anger and a tendency to overreact to situations.
  • Persistent worry, anxiety, or fearfulness.
  • An inability to concentrate, think clearly or make decisions.
  • An inability to sit still.
  • Exposure to a traumatic experience.
  • Preoccupation with physical illness or their own appearance.
  • A loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed.
  • Changes in patterns of sleeping or eating.
  • Reclusiveness, preferring to be alone rather than in the company of friends or family.
  • Performing routines obsessively throughout the day, such as washing hands or cleaning things.
  • Experiencing regular nightmares.
  • Substance misuse.
  • Taking part in violent acts.
  • Self-harm and/ or expressing thoughts of suicide.

The Session …

What happens in the counselling room?

The counselling session takes place on a one to one basis, at the same time and place every week for 50 minutes. This consistency and regularity of session times is an important aspect of the counselling process so good attendance is important.


The psychodynamic approach is a talking therapy which allows the child to freely express themselves, using a range of toys and art materials. The child will be allocated a toy box and sand tray, which will not be shared. This allows the child to create their own personal world in their box, knowing it is kept safe and secure. They will also store their artwork in an individual file so they can reflect on their therapeutic journey.


Sand play

This is a nonverbal, therapeutic intervention that makes use of a sandbox, toy figures, and sometimes water, to create scenes of miniature worlds that reflect a person’s inner thoughts, struggles, and concerns. It allows the opportunity to resolve conflicts, remove obstacles, and gain acceptance of the self.


Expressive Art  

Creative expression can help children to explore their emotions, develop self-awareness, cope with stress, boost self-esteem, and develop social skills.


The Psychodynamic Toolkit

Therapeutic toys and materials that are used to aid the session …

  • Toys that easily relate to real-life such as a dolls’ house and furniture, doll family, puppets and clothes, farm animals, cars, trucks, food, shops, toys, money, etc.
  • Toys that permit the expression of more aggressive feelings, such as, wild animals, soldiers, monsters, etc.
  • Toys for creative expression and emotional releases such as sand, water, building blocks, paints, pastels, play-doh and sensory materials such as ‘goo’ and ‘slime’.
  • Toys for projective play, such as animals, fantasy figures, superhero’s, medical kits, small-world houses.
  • Art materials including a range of paper in different sizes, colour, thickness and textures, drawing materials, scissors, string, glue, paints and tape.
  • Miscellaneous materials which might include soft toys, cushions and blankets.



The contents of each counselling session are confidential between the counsellor and the child unless the child’s welfare or safety, or that of another, is considered to be at risk of significant harm. In this instance, the necessary information is shared with the Safeguarding Lead who will speak with the child and make a decision on any further action to be taken. The Safeguarding Lead will share this information with the child’s parents unless doing so is considered to be putting the child at risk.

To contact Miss Purnell, our School Counsellor, please use the form below.