In recent weeks I have spoken to many members who have resumed their work with CYP clients. Getting back to face to face work with CYP is at the forefront of many therapists' minds.
I am nothing but impressed talking to members about ways they have changed their rooms, materials and tools to meet hygiene requirements. I have spoken to many members about rearranging rooms, spaces, chairs, toys, play areas. Members have told me of many diverse creative ways they have found to continue their work with young people while adhering to safety restrictions outlined by the government.
Most schools are now closed for the summer holidays, but many therapists are using this time to prepare for the new school year and returning to their work with children and young people.
There are lots of guidelines to be considered in our return to work with CYP and many rules to be followed. We are hearing that children are anxious about returning to normal life, schools and their old routines. I think we need to be prepared to hold this anxiety, perhaps along side our own or our families own anxiety too.
I returned to face to face work a few weeks ago in a school setting and I can honestly say it felt great. To see my clients in the flesh and not online felt amazing and what I enjoyed the most was meeting new clients. Those young people who were able to reach out and ask to receive some support, face to face, that is why I love my job.
However it was a very different landscape that I returned to. I was unable to work from any of our counselling rooms due to the small size of each room and instead I worked in a large empty classroom with all the furniture removed. Clients accessed this room by following a strict one way system around school where they would enter this temporary therapy room through an open door. I would then close the door and see my client to their plastic, wiped chair. All windows were open and we had bottles of sanitizer and packets of wipes to hand. A special hygiene bin was provided for tissues and wipes.
Our session was quite normal once we were started but with nothing that we could touch. At the end of the session, I would see my client out of the room into the one way system and would then wipe the room down, empty the bin and leave the room to air before my next client.
In September we are able to return to our counselling rooms but will still adhere to the hygiene measures in place around touching and wiping things. Play and art work will begin again but with individual packs for clients, again ensuring hygiene and safety at all times.
Going forward we know the landscape looks different and feels different for us all but especially the young people we work with. It will take careful thought and consideration for each and every therapist how they go forward, what toys, tools and materials they use and how to ensure safety measures are correctly followed.
It is likely that there will be a huge uptake in children and young people seeking counselling and support this autumn term. It is maybe once again helpful for us all to reflect upon our self care and ensure that we have good supervision and support in place to hold us as we return to our work with CYP.
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