The children I work with come for many different reasons, but they are all without exception some of my favourite people; I get the honour and joy and pleasure of spending an hour a week in their company, getting messy and creative and helping them to figure out what is happeneing in their lives.
Sometimes I am the adult in the room explaining what other adults may have thought or felt in response to a child's actions; perhaps giving suggestions as to why a parent or teacher said or did something.
Sometimes I am there to help figure out creative solutions to things which bother them.
One example which is always a challenge is the eternal fear children have of ghosts!
It isn't up to me to tell the child that ghosts aren't real, that wouldn't help, would just make me another adult dismissing their thoughts and feelings and understanding of the world.
I don't think I've ever met a ghost but then I have never seen a living Dinosaur and yet my internal logic tells me they existed. The same is true for children; they spend their time figuring out the world, and their logic will go based on the evidence they encounter. In terms of ghosts this tends to be that adults and kids tell ghost stories, and why would they if they didn't exist? Which is very fair.
I tend to say that of all the living people I have met some have been horrible, some have been wonderful and most have just been there, neither all good or all bad, but they wouldn't choose to hurt me if the opportunity was there. For the same reason, if ghosts are real spirits of dead people then the odds are the horrible ones are outnumbered by the wonderful and the ordinary ones, and those would protect the child from the bad ghosts.
Learning to think in this sort of reasoning way, looking logically at feelings, expressing them and opening up about how proportionate feelings and reactions are, this is all part of what happens in counselling.
And also the making of cake! Cake, Salt Art, Painting, whatever creative and enjoyable activity the child would like to engage in which helps to build their self-esteem, displace their anxiety and help them trust the counsellor in order to open up about the things that trouble them.
So if you, or a child you know, is wondering about how scary counselling is, you can tell them that at least at Open Minds it is their choice to come; if they don;t like us they can stop coming, but if they do then they might have fun, and probably get to go home with some new ideas, and whatever fun thing we have made that day!