There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Grief might happen a long time after the death and manifest itself in many different ways. Confused by the events and the changes occurring, a child will sometimes take on the anxiety of the people they live with. They might feel that they want to protect the adults from further distress by not asking questions about the death or talking about their own issues.
The aim of the counselling is to allow the children/young people to express themselves without any worry that what they might be saying, thinking or feeling is 'wrong'.
If children ask questions the counsellor/support worker will answer honestly and in an appropriate way. This might seem extreme to some parents / carers but in the longer term children have reported that they were glad this happened.
In individual counselling the child will normally work alone with a counsellor. Sessions are for approximately one hour; group work may be longer. Together they will explore the feelings and issues that the young people wish to share. This may be done in a variety of ways, which may include painting, drawing, writing and playing games.
During group work the child will meet with other children of a similar age who have also been bereaved, although not necessarily in the same circumstances. Brief records are kept of each session. All sessions are confidential between the child and the counsellor / support worker but on a very rare occasion it may be necessary to break confidentiality for the wellbeing of the child / young person.
Children and young people have a right to confidentiality and feedback from us to parents / carers will only be with the child's consent and usually whilst they are present. However we will encourage the child young person to share with parents /carers what has gone on in the session and any difficulties that they might be experiencing.
For more information, including our confidentiality guidelines, download our Service Information booklet below.