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It has been a long journey to arrive here, at our lovely our new centre in Milnathort


All my work and hours put in have eventually paid off and here I am opening my own private practice. I’ve worked for other agencies for around four years now, with adult clients, survivors of mainly, childhood sexual abuse. I have also worked with children of primary age with a wide range of issues and/or worries.


I remember the moment in class, studying for my diploma in therapeutic counselling when a representative from Place2Be, which won the Well-being in Schools Awards 2016, came to speak with us, detailing additional courses offered for counsellors also wishing to work with children. I was moved by the speaker and how receptive the children seemed to be to counselling, when brought up with it around them, knowing it’s okay to feel, be heard, speak up and have their own space to play, be and work out what’s going on for them.


When I was at school there were no counsellors, only guidance teachers and of course the school curriculum was at the root of their agenda.  It was an everyday occurrence for children to feel unheard. Someone listening to me, looking at things from my frame of reference, taking into account diversity, acknowledging and validating how I was feeling would have made a world of difference to me, as i am sure it would for many of us from older generations.  The world has moved on and the pressures on children and adults alike have moved with it.


Now, I often hear, from other responsible adults (parents, teachers, care workers), in my work with children in schools, things like So and so is very angry.  And, given time to consider the child’s situation, I think of course they’re angry after what’s happened to them - as an adult you would be angry and wouldn’t be able to sit down, be quiet and read your book.  Working through anger is a process and anger is a valid emotion.  But, for children in schools as for adults, there should supportive facilities to assist with this.  Unfortunately, there just aren’t enough at present.  What there is offers little choice and adults as well as children are being short changed in understanding their emotive and mental well-being.


For every adult I have consulted with in my time as a counsellor, without exception, they have brought up issues from their childhood, when the foundation for who they are was being established and built. This continues and patterns form - with early intervention, which is how Place2Be work and is proven good practice in working with children, we can give children the tools they need not only to help make sense of what’s going on for them now but to carry with them as they grow.


In play-led therapy with children, we work at the child’s pace and follow their lead. Noticing the therapeutic change in children, is very touching.  I normally witness change when children start linking metaphor, which comes from actions in their pla,  to themselves.  Early on, for children as it is for adults, the acknowledgement their play touched upon their reality may have been far too painful for them. This shift occurs quite naturally as clients start to listen to their inner voice, to who they are. From this, other aspects of self and of their life start to click into place and reccurring

themes are picked up on which spill into other strands of their life. The client finds their own autonomy.


This is all great when counselling like that offered by Place2Be is available in schools for children or a variety of therapies are readily available to adults.  Play led school counselling is becoming far more

common in cities and Place2Be work in Edinburgh and Glasgow. However, the first hurdle, I had to get over when working outwith schools or NHS referrals was children not being used to having counsellors around or knowing any peers who had a counsellor.  This is sometimes the case with adults who may expect counselling to be like the CBT type sessions predominantly offered through the NHS too.  There should be no stigma in wanting to maintain good emotive and mental health throughout life, from childhood through to old age.


It was a travesty to work in agencies outwith the big cities and see children who only knew what they saw in films.  There seemed to be a real fear of coming to counselling, a stigma and a thinking there must be something really wrong with them. Each time, it took several sessions to overcome this.  This is in comparison with children actively seeking counsellors out at schools and smiles with greetings as I would walk down the corridor.


Immediately, seeing the deficits and how children as well as adults were being failed, cycles of hurt entrenched, I wanted to open a service outwith the cities, central to other Scottish locations where I could make a difference in mental health.  My drive was that this would help the little people who would become big people who would maybe have their own little people, able to handle their own emotions, take care of their well-being and know it’s okay not to feel okay.


And for the big people, just like me, who didn’t get help like that when they were little people, perhaps don’t have the tools to develop fuller emotive and mental well-being without them, I wanted to show there can be accessible help out there which isn’t cognitive behavioural therapy, takes all of you and your needs into account, works on your level and isn’t time limited, working at your pace.


All-of-You Therapy’s journey and how it came to exist is, after all, relatively simple. We want to be there for all of you - whether you are a little person or a big person.  We want to be all inclusive, here for people who need a bit of help, and for those who feel they need a bit more than that.  So no-one is left to struggle, without the tools to understand.


The simple truth is, we care.



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