Frequently Asked Questions

Young people’s questions

What is therapeutic emotional support? – Sometimes things happen at home which may make you feel unsafe. This might be when a grown-up hurts or bullies another grown-up. There might be shouting, fighting or things that feel different to your friends’ houses. You might feel sad, angry, scared or lonely, or just need to talk to someone who understands. Your feelings might be all mixed up inside and you might be unsure how you feel or how to let these feelings out. We are here to listen to you in a safe place away from home and help you to sort out your thoughts and feelings. We can then together help find ways to cope with these.

What can I do there? – This is your time to use how you want to. You don’t have to talk if you don’t want to. You might find other ways to show how you are feeling by drawing, painting, puppets, playing in the sand or using something different. You will not be made to do anything you don’t want to do during your time here. There is no right or wrong way to use your time with us.

Do I have to come? – No. It is your choice if you come or not.

Will you tell other people about our time together? – What you talk or do during your time will not be shared with other people you know. You might want others to know what you have done, which is fine if you want to share this with them. There might be times we need to talk to other people about our time together, if someone was hurting you or someone you know. This is to help keep you safe.

How long does it last for? – Your time can last anything from 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on your age. Usually you will come weekly and we will be 6 times together. Then we can decide together if you need more.

Where? – Sometimes we can see you in school or if you would find it better we can see you here at Family Care/Sphere or another place you might feel safe.

Parent’s questions

What happens when my child is referred? – We only accept referrals when a parent has given consent, so you should be fully aware of the referral. We may take all the information we need over the phone, but sometimes we know there is lots to tell, so we may invite you in to talk things through with us. We sometimes call this a “consultation”, as it is space for you to tell us what has happened, and to talk through the needs of your child. Depending on the age of your child, they may not be present, especially if you need to talk about your experiences of domestic abuse, which we know can feel very difficult.

Will there be waiting times? – Unfortunately we do have waiting times for our support, and you will be told about this when we take the referral. Whilst waiting you are welcome to phone us on our Duty service and a consultation may be offered during this time. Once we are able to allocate a worker, they will be in touch, and arrange a suitable time to meet you and your child. Usually this will be at our office so your child can see the rooms and become familiar with them. You can all decide together the best time for the sessions and when they will take place. This may be during school time, after school, at Family Care, or a venue near to your home.

What is therapeutic emotional support? It is about providing an opportunity for your child to communicate in a safe place about their feelings. We use a range of methods to help your child express their feelings. This may be through talking, art drama and play, as each child and circumstance is treated individually. We use the child’s natural language which is often play, therefore communication between the children’s practitioner and your child is often through symbolic play, art, puppets, story telling, sand tray work. Whilst it may appear at times that your child has simply been ‘playing’, the children’s practitioner uses many skills whilst working with children which allows them to safely explore and express their feelings through this play. Young people may feel more comfortable just talking or using media such as lap tops or photography. We will be flexible and responsive to each individual need. We will not judge or tell your child what to do, but enable them to explore their feelings and worries and identify ways to cope with these.

If my child wants to come here, does that mean I am failing as a parent? – Absolutely not! We might all experience occasions when it feels hard to speak to those closest to us about things which are bothering us. Often this can be because we don’t want to worry those we love best, or because we want help thinking things through with someone else outside of the family. We are not here to judge you or your child, but look to help them find their way through whatever is troubling them. When your child is receiving emotional support from a worker, they will be in regular contact with you, and you will be able to discuss any worries and review progress. As an additional support, we can offer counselling for you, which is entirely separate from our work with your child. This is space for you, and is completely confidential. We have carefully selected final year students on clinical placements, who provide a professional and free service. This can be discussed with your child’s worker.