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Why I’m a child counsellor: Susan’s Place2Be story


After working in a women’s refuge, Susan saw a real need for a service that supported children’s mental health needs. While retraining as a counsellor, she embarked upon a Place2Be school placement. Six
years later, she reflects on her journey… 

Many years ago I had worked at a women’s refuge and I noticed that there was no help for the children, who were often more affected than the women by what had happened in their family life. It really struck me that they needed help. A few years ago, when I was in my fifties I decided to go to university and train as a counsellor. I had never heard of Place2Be and their work in schools but once I was told about them I knew that was where I wanted to do my clinical placement.

I had also had a very difficult and upsetting childhood and Place2Be was everything that I would have wanted when I was a child going through difficult times. You build fantastic relationships with the children and you see how they change over time during the counselling session. Play is so important and you have to let the children be themselves and act things out. It is absolutely fabulous and definitely the best thing I have ever done in my life.

The school I work in is in an area with a lot of low-income families and some of the children have very difficult home lives. Many of them have never been on holiday. So, we see children who are experiencing problems at home, bullying, lack of self-esteem and often worrying about exams too. It’s a real range and building their confidence and resilience is so important.

I had one little girl who came to see me because staff thought she was bullying other children. Over time, she told me how she was the one being bullied. She had no confidence, she wouldn’t speak but by the end of our sessions together she became so much more open. It’s those moments when you really realise the difference you making to a child’s life.

The most rewarding thing about the Place2Be placement is seeing children be themselves. Giving them the space and time they need to act out their worries and supporting them is so fulfilling. I feel that I am influencing the next generation so that they can grow up to have more confidence and a better future.

If you are considering a career in child counselling then I would say just do it. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. You do need to manage your time and it’s not always easy as it’s a lot of work but it is so rewarding. At Place2Be you are also well supported by a School Project Manager – they are invaluable.

I see counselling as my vocation so I plan to carry on with Place2Be and possibly also start my own private practice. I had no-one to turn to when I was younger so I think the work I do at Place2Be is so important – it really does change lives.

Interested in supporting children and young people with Place2Be? Find out more about our school counselling placements.

This blog was written in a personal capacity and does not necessarily reflect the view of the organisation.

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