Philippa Downs Counselling for Children

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Frequently Asked Questions

What if I am thinking about my child having counselling but I'm not sure it's right for them and I've got lots of reservations about what's involved?

You are right to think carefully about what is best for your child and people are often a bit nervous about getting in touch. Give me a ring or drop me an email, outlining the basics of the problem and your concerns. We can then think together about what will be most helpful and whether counselling is the right course of action. I also do my best to help you find an alternative source of support if I can't help your child.

How long do sessions last?

Each 1:1 session with a child is 50 minutes long
Each session with parent/s is 1 hour
Sessions with parents and children vary in length depending on the issues being addressed but are usually 1 hour

Sessions start and finish at the agreed time.

How many sessions will my child need?

I offer both short and long term work. Before deciding what approach would be most helpful for your child, I always do an assessment, but I am very happy to have a chat on the phone to give you an idea of what would be involved before this.

What is involved?

Free telephone consultation

I offer a free initial telephone consultation of about 20 minutes. During this time you are free to talk through, without any obligation, the issues that are concerning you and ask any questions about me and how I work. This should give you a good idea of whether you would like to proceed to the next stage. If for any reason I can't help, I will always try to refer you on to someone who can.


The assessment is a meeting where we can discuss the issues that have brought you to contact me and talk through how I might be able to help you and your child. It is important because we want your child to feel as comfortable as possible when they come for counselling. However, parents often find this first meeting helpful as we begin to look at the problem in a different way and start to open up opportunities for change. It also provides you the chance to ask whatever questions, reservations or worries you may have about counselling for children or in general.

I am very used to the understandable nerves of both parents and children when we first meet and I keep the whole process very informal and friendly. I usually have a meeting of about an hour with the parent/s to talk through the problems and then a separate, shorter meeting with your child, either on the same day or at another time, depending on what we agree is best. I will also speak to your contact at the school if we agree this will be helpful and include follow up phone calls in the cost of the assessment.

What should my child wear/bring to their sessions?

It is advisable for your child to wear comfortable clothing. We may do some art and craft during the session - we don't make much mess, but occasionally there might be a bit of a spill, so it's preferable if they are wearing something you don't mind washing!

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