School Counselling Service

Information for young people 

What is counselling?

The opportunity for a young person to talk about things that bother them with a qualified counsellor.

Counsellors are trained to listen without judging and to help people sort out their thoughts and feelings about whatever is worrying them. Imagine a confusing jigsaw where all the pieces are difficult to match together. Talking through a problem in counselling is like sorting out all the pieces so we can make a picture that makes more sense to us.

Counselling is about helping you to work things out for yourself, making decisions and choices and helping you to look at things differently. It can help you to feel better about yourself.


What kind of things do people talk about in counselling?

Whatever matters to them - whatever is worrying for them. It could be lots of different things.

"My parents are splitting up. Is it my fault?"

"Everyone else has loads of friends, but not me. What is wrong with me?"

"I'm worried because I feel like lashing out at people all the time."

"I am getting bullied every day and I don't know what to do."

"I've got loads too much homework. The more it piles up the worse I feel."

"...... has died and I've never felt this bad before. I'm afraid I will feel like this forever."

"I don't know where to start. I just don't feel right. I've got thoughts and feelings I don't understand. Everything feels really hard."

"My parents are shouting at me all the time. We're always arguing. Why won't they let me do what I want to do?"



Everything that is said is a counselling session is private and confidential.... This means that only you and the counsellor will know about it.

This is your time and your space with somebody who is there for you and nobody else. Of course, if you want to discuss what's been said in a counselling session with anyone else that is your decision. However, if the counsellor thinks you are at serious risk of harm, first she will talk to you about it if possible. Then in Ysgol Penweddig if a child needs to be kept safe, the counsellor would talk to Mme Izri, Deputy Head and Child Protection Officer.


Want to see the counsellor?

Nicola Dunkley, the counsellor, works in Penweddig on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

~You can call in to her room, which is the Swyddfa Asiantaethau Allanol, on the left at the top of the stairs which go up from outside the cafe.

~Or you can text her on 07583 987187 to book an appointment.

~Or you can ask a teacher to arrange for you to see the counsellor.

~It's fine to meet up with Nicola first before you decide whether you want a counselling session.

Counselling is voluntary. It is your choice whether to accept the service or not. Whatever you decide will be fine. (Remember: it's impossible to know if something will help without trying it first!)


Comments made by pupils who have been to counselling in secondary schools across Wales

Having counselling has helped me a lot. I have been able to discuss my problems instead of locking them away, which is what I used to do. It has been a big help to me.

It helped me to understand my problems and overcome them.

Counselling helped me have more confidence in myself.

It helped me really to talk more to my family and the people around me.

I don't feel ashamed to admit that I need help because now I know that I am not the only one that needs help."


Information for parents 

Why have a counsellor in school?

A school-based service brings counselling to young people in a place that is familiar, safe and secure. If children and young people are able to receive emotional support from a qualified professional they will have greater opportunity to fulfil their potential.  If a young person has their head full of worries there is no space for thinking about what they are trying to learn. Counselling can help your son or daughter unpack their worries and then it could be easier for them to concentrate on work and remember things they are trying to learn.



Counselling is a chance to talk about concerns without fear of them being discussed anywhere else. This means that the counselling content won't be discussed with parents unless the young person requests or gives their permission for this. This can be difficult for parents to accept at times, but ensuring the confidentiality of the work is essential for establishing trust so that young people feel confident to speak openly and freely about what is concerning them.

However, if a pupil appears to be at risk if significant harm it may be appropriate to seek help from other agencies to keep them safe. The counsellor would aim to discuss this first with the pupil concerned.

All counsellors receive supervision of their work with young people to ensure the quality of their practice. This is done such that confidentiality is maintained.


What if I don't wish my child to see a counsellor?

If a young person asks for counselling and is able to understand what is involved in the process, they have the right to access counselling. Parents and carers may not deny them this right. We should, however, prefer to have your support for this work and we are always happy to talk with you about any concerns you may have about the idea of counselling.


What if my child refuses counselling?

The decision about whether or not to take up counselling is entirely voluntary for young people, just as it would be for an adult.


Can I support the counselling work?

Yes and we welcome this. Our experience show that the most helpful thing a parent can do is to show an acceptance of counselling as a normal and useful activity; and to show an interest if their son or daughter wishes to talk about it, but not to press them if they don't. We acknowledge that this not an easy task and it is quite natural for parents to feel anxious about what may be being said in sessions.

Our hope is always that talking to a counsellor will lead to greater openness with parents and families, but you will need to allow time for this to happen.


If my child wants to see a counsellor, does that mean I am failing as a parent?

Absolutely not! We all experience occasions when it feels hard to speak to those closest to us about things which are bothering us. Often this can be because we don't want to worry those we love best; or because we want help thinking things through with somebody outside the family. The counsellor will not be judging you or your child, but looking to help them find their way through whatever is troubling them.


How does a pupil get to see the counsellor?

Referrals can be made through the school's pastoral care system, or your child's Head of Year, or you can request counselling for your child, or your child can self-refer by dropping in to see the counsellor on a Wednesday or Thursday or by texting for an appointment: 07583 987187


Data protection procedures and Evaluation

All information and counselling work undertaken by our staff is kept securely by the Counselling Service in line with current data protection regulations. After the counselling has finished your child will be given an evaluation form that they can complete anonymously and return. This lets us know how well we are helping the young people that we see. If there is any cause for complaint, you or your child are welcome to contact the counsellor or Mme Izri or Phil Layton, Area 43, who manages the school counselling service in Ceredigion. (Phil Layton: 01239 614566 or

Nicola Dunkley (Counsellor) - 07583987187

Area 43 - Freephone 0800 8497979 (may be a charge from some mobiles)