How can we help?

There are times when we all need someone to talk to. Young people, like adults, can be adversely affected by difficult and stressful situations and may find it hard to cope. Counselling provides the opportunity to talk about things that trouble them, in confidence, with a qualified counsellor.

While the issues brought to counselling by young people vary from person to person, some typical examples are:

  • Low self esteem or confidence
  • Feeling anxious or depressed
  • Bullying
  • Relationship problems
  • Family difficulties
  • School or work related stress
  • Self-harm
  • Loss of someone close to them

Young people often talk to friends, family or teachers about their problems, but sometimes it is helpful to speak to someone who is not involved in their every day lives. Counsellors do not give advice, but listen without judging and help the young person to sort out their thoughts and feelings. Together they can explore strategies to manage themselves and their relationships more effectively.

What services are available?

Counselling is available to those aged 11-18 years old, whether in school or not. Most sessions are delivered in a private room within one of the two local High Schools in Portree and Plockton, but can also take place in a community setting. In school the sessions last the duration of a school period and are rotated each week, so that the same subject is not missed each time.

What about confidentiality?

Confidentiality is central to the counselling process. It helps the young person to build trust and to feel free to discuss whatever is troubling them. However, the safety and welfare of the young people are paramount and this may take precedence over confidentiality if it becomes clear that they, or someone else, is at significant risk. Young people are made aware of this during the introductory session.

Young people may not always want their parents to know they are attending counselling. Under Scottish law, young people have the right to make the choice, as long as they are assessed by the referrer to have the competency to make that choice with sufficient understanding. We do encourage openness with parents where that is appropriate and parents can be supportive by showing an acceptance of counselling as a normal and useful activity, while respecting the young person’s right to keep the content of sessions confidential.