Willow Wood has recently been successful in acquiring funding (from a number of sources) to enable us to develop a children’s and young person’s individual counselling and therapeutic service, with a focus on groups.
The service will provide specialist individual counselling, group therapy and post and pre bereavement support to children and young people aged seven to 17 struggling with loss and experiencing varying levels of emotional distress which are impacting on their ability to cope day to day.
The aims of the service are:
- to help young people aged seven to 17 who have experienced the death of a loved one or somebody important to them
- to help young people develop an understanding of loss and change
- to look at strategies and provide practical tools to help individuals cope, while meeting other young people who are in a similar situation.
We plan to integrate the service into the existing counselling and bereavement support services for the patients, families and loved ones of those who died in the hospice, which is provided by one employed family support bereavement counsellor and one volunteer counsellor.
Becoming a part of the existing service will help give structure, supervision and governance to the new children’s and young people’s service.
Referral pathways have been developed and integrated into the hospice; day care and inpatients and general staff within the hospice are aware of the criteria for the referral pathway. Information leaflets which outline the essential components of the counselling support service and the monthly open bereavement support group are sent out on a monthly basis to the next of kin.
The funding that we have managed to acquire has enabled us to purchase arts materials, therapeutic games and other relevant resources, as well as furniture to redesign and create a therapeutic space.
Trained and experienced staff, including a counsellor, will facilitate the group and individual work.
Young people will participate in a variety of creative activities and games, from board games, arts and crafts activities, memory books and boxes, to drama based activities and circle time sharing.
The provision of support will focus on:
- enabling young people to normalise the process of grief and its range of emotions
- encouraging and supporting the expression of feelings
- learning about the effects on significant changes in their lives
- develop new coping skills and build resilience
- exploring communication and personal support networks
- share experience and have fun with a small group of other young people to ease any sense of isolation.
While the first phase of the children’s and young people’s service will act as a resource for all those children who have a connection with the hospice, we hope to be able to extend the service in the future to all those children and young people affected by bereavement and loss who reside in the Tameside borough.
If you would like to learn more about this service, contact Jonathan at the hospice.