Our therapeutic approach

Place2Be's therapeutic approach sets out the clinical principles that guide our work.

The Place2Be service is underpinned by an evidence-based and integrative therapeutic approach.

Three broad strands of therapeutic influence – the Person-Centre, the Psychoanalytic and the Systemic – are brought together in everyday practice to inform and guide Place2Be counsellors in their work.

Elements of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Solution Focused Therapy are also applied where appropriate to the needs of children, young people and parents.

The fundamental aims of Place2Be in the school setting are to enable children and young people to:

  • settle and find their place alongside their peers in the classroom (relationship)
  • understand and more effectively manage their emotions and behaviour (self-awareness)
  • feel free to be more curious, to learn and make as much educational progress as possible (play)

In achieving these aims, it seeks to build children’s emotional resilience and promote their general well-being at school and in their families and communities.

Place2Be offers a whole school approach. Close involvement with school staff and parents means that Place2Be establishes itself as a trusted presence in a school and it is in this context that it carries out its counselling and other activities. The range of this work is extensive.

It includes:

  • long and short-term individual counselling which takes place in a specially equipped room, called the Place2Be room;
  • brief self-referral meetings with individual or small groups of children or young people (Place2Talk);
  • short-term group work;
  • parent counselling
  • whole classroom work with teachers
  • consultation to teachers (Place2Think)
  • Mental Health Champions training programme for class teachers and school leaders.

Safe, ethical practice
is a priority. Place2Be abides by the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) Ethical Framework and all staff and Counsellors on Placement are fully trained in safeguarding processes and procedures.

What happens inside the Place2Be room?
Place2Be counsellors are trained to offer children and young people a safe and supportive environment in which they can explore their worlds freely and without judgement. Creative activity is the language that young children use to develop their self-awareness and an understanding of the world around them.

For this reason it has a serious developmental function. Through creativity children learn to experiment, solve problems, co-operate and develop an understanding of others. Through play, children learn to think. Although young children may be willing to talk and discuss their difficulties, many find it easier to use play and creativity to explore their world and their place within it.

However, it is not just children who use creative activity in this way; young people and adults may choose to express themselves verbally but can also benefit from using creative media to explore and express their emotional worlds. Each counselling relationship is unique and Place2Be counsellors are trained to communicate with children, young people and adults in whatever way most suits that relationship.

Relationship, Self-awareness and Play
These three core principles underpin the three fundamental aims of Place2Be’s service, as described above. They have also been identified as factors which facilitate growth and resilience in children and young people and bring about therapeutic change. Of course, the service offered by Place2Be will be relative to the development of the individual.

Research indicates that the quality of the therapeutic relationship is one of the most accurate predictors of outcomes. A safe and helpful therapeutic relationship requires a high level of self-awareness in the counsellor. Play is the language of the child and a vital part of child development. Playfulness in its broadest sense is a powerful form of communication for children and adults alike. The Place2Be counsellor needs to be creative and ‘playful’ as well as verbal in order to offer a full range of possible modes of communication.

Place2Be lays emphasis on the importance of the training of its child and young person counsellors and of others involved in providing therapeutic and educational services to children and young people. It has established:

  • a well-developed in-service training for its employees and Counsellors on Placement, drawing on its extensive therapeutic practice in schools since its inception.
  • a full qualifications pathway for child counsellors from beginner to Masters level practitioner.
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