295 – Outdoor Therapy for Children

295 – Choice-Led Outdoor Therapy for Children

Enhancing Your First Contact with Counselling Clients – Challenges of Compulsory Placement Supervision

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In Episode 295 of the Counselling Tutor Podcast, your hosts Rory Lees-Oakes and Ken Kelly are back with this week’s three topics:

  • Firstly in ‘Ethical, Sustainable Practice’, we look at crafting meaningful connections and enhancing that first contact with potential clients.
  • Then in ‘Practice Matters’, Rory speaks with Kate Beckwith about how she uses the outdoors, animals, and art to provide children and young people with a unique therapeutic experience.
  • And lastly in ‘Student Services’, Rory and Ken look at the challenges of being asked to have compulsory placement supervision with a certain supervisor.

Enhancing Your First Contact with Counselling Clients [starts at 03:25 mins]

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Your first contact with a client is one of the most important moments in the therapeutic relationship. In this section, Rory and Ken take us through why this interaction is so important, and how you can make it count:

  • A person is taking a big step by reaching out, it’s important they’re not discouraged from getting the help that they need.
  • Look at your online presence and make sure all your contact details are up to date.
  • Admin – keep on top of your emails and voicemails, section out a part of your day that you can dedicate to this.
  • Have a personalised answerphone message – show empathy, name your practice so they know they’ve reached the right place, ask them to say when will be convenient for you to call back, and give a time period that you’ll get back to them by.
  • Avoid counselling jargon in your answerphone message or auto responder.
  • Look at things from the client’s perspective, how can we be personal to the person who is reaching out to us?
  • Don’t overwhelm anyone with information at first contact.
  • Consider offering a free ‘get to know’ session.
  • Invite any questions that they might have.
  • Be careful that a client doesn’t offer too much of their presentation over the phone.
  • Don’t make any early assumptions about a client and what they’re bringing.
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Choice-Led Outdoor Therapy for Kids and Young People [starts at 36:55 mins]

In this week’s ‘Practice Matters’, Rory speaks with Kate Beckwith about her work with the outdoors, animals, and art to make counselling a unique experience for children and young people.

The key points of this discussion on outdoor therapy for kids include:

  • Kate has 2.5 acres of land that she uses for her practice with various animals such as goats, pigs, chickens, and guinea pigs.
  • Practicing outside can allow you to observe a client in a comfortable, relaxed, and facilitating environment.
  • Children find the experience exciting.
  • Outdoor therapy for kids offer them choice and a sense of freedom.
  • You can notice how the client feels internally from their external behaviour and interactions with their surroundings.
  • Helps to speed up the therapeutic relationship.
  • It’s important to find suitable insurance and licenses if you plan on having animals.
  • Put boundaries in place and take extra considerations when it comes to safety and risk assessment.
  • The client is going to need to be wearing sensible clothing.
  • You don’t have to have an incredibly big space to offer outdoor therapy for kids and young people – consider incorporating it into your own garden or outdoor space.

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Challenges of Compulsory Placement Supervision [starts at 01:04:09 mins]

Supervision is so important to your practice, but so is completing your placement. In this section, Rory and Ken discuss some of the pros, cons, and considerations of having a placement appointed supervisor:

  • It’s always important to feel comfortable with your supervisor – you shouldn’t feel the need to hide any of your clients from them, even if you’ve made a mistake.
  • The cost of having a supervisor given to you by your placement might be lower than finding your own.
  • They might have a special understanding of client presentations within the organisation or charity you are placed at.
  • Ideally, you want a supervisor who matches your values.
  • It can be challenging if you’re in a position where your practice manager is also your supervisor – you might feel unable to express if you are unhappy in your placement.
  • You might have more than one placement – this would result in fragmented supervision.
  • You might consider paying for your own supervisor, however then there is a risk of your own supervisor and your placement supervisor contradicting each other. This requires you to independently make and maintain a defensible decision.
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