Psychotherapy for children and adolescents

If you’re a young person reading this, ask yourself – are you:

  • getting in trouble from too much computer-gazing?
  • not sure where you belong?
  • wanting to perform, maybe to front your band/club etc yet scared of getting all that attention?
  • feeling like all the adults in your life are against you?
  • Spending your time online/on the phone/gaming when you’d prefer to hang out with friends?
  • unsure how to maintain your own view when others have a different take on things?
  • easily phased when thinking about what to do with your life?
  • constantly rowing with parents or teachers (sometimes called ‘flipping your lid’), frequently saying and doing things you later regret?
  • dying to find someone who is outside of your family circle to talk to?

Where appropriate and logistically possible I may work independently with older teens. Over 16s are welcome to consult me in confidence.

Maybe I can help…

Who am I? Just call me Jon. I’m a man who has lived awhile and travelled a bit… As a stepparent I know what its like to live in a family that’s undergone big changes affecting everyone. As a teenager (okay, in a previous life) who has worked a lot with young persons lately I know how important it can feel to have friends: a peer group, to manage fear, anxiety or shyness, to feel able to step up and try out new ways of being and belonging in the wider world.

Boy playing with plastercineI work as a therapist, trainer, musician and theatre performer. I’m not a teacher in the conventional sense – more of an interested listener/conversationalist and experimenter. I don’t ‘fix’ kids (I’d be cautious of anyone who says they can). However through my work I try to help young people feel happier about themselves and stronger inside.

I imagine you’d want to make informed choices and manage life’s ups and downs. If any of this strikes a chord with you I’d be interested in meeting up and finding out what’s getting you down or bugging you as well as what’s fun and going well in your life (that’s important too).

It probably makes sense to do some of this with your folks too, for logistical and other reasons – even if things have been difficult between you all lately. I’m used to playing referee and do my best to make sure that everyone gets a fair hearing.

Assuming all goes well enough we could  then work out if there’s something you and I might accomplish together that could help move  things along…

I have a stack of ideas for example for dealing with angry feelings (which we all have at times). I’m also open to many different ways of working, including using the arts. Maybe you want to find a way of writing lyrics to express how you feel, or of making music that ‘speaks’ to you about a situation or person that’s significant in your life. Perhaps there’s a particular song that captures the essence of what you are experiencing? Any of these can be ways in to working together here. Or you may want to explore a situation using painting or drawing. It doesn’t have to be a piece of art (my drawings rarely are!), just simply making marks on paper, mixing paints to make a glorious colour or a wonderful, gloopy mess can sometimes ‘hit the spot’ or help describe what is going on. I also work with clay, sand tray, poetry, photography, drama, movement – there’s a host of ways of getting started.

Getting started

Child's foot in shoeInitially, wherever possible I meet you together with your parents and any other family members living at home. Meeting together in this way models transparency (‘no secrets’), which helps build trust. It helps us all get acquainted and enables me to learn something from you about the difficulties encountered, what has been tried and what solutions are being sought. In particularly complex situations I may suggest a second consultation to gain a fuller picture of what is happening to advise you better regarding the next step.

Following assessment I can usually advise on recommended therapy options. These might involve individual, group or family-based meetings or referral on to another agency.

Therapy may be brief, comprising a short series of weekly sessions. With more complex or longstanding difficulties, meeting for a longer period of time is generally advisable. In all cases progress is reviewed together on a regular basis.