Wiltshire received 92 referrals during 2018/19, an increase of over 20% on the previous year. Nearly all these referrals were accepted for therapy, with offers of therapy going to these families. We are finding that referrals are becoming more complex which reflects the complicated and varied family arrangements many children now live in as well as the increasing pressure of school life and social media.

Most of the families we see are in the south and west of Wiltshire and we are planning to expand our service by recruiting more therapists to cover the rest of the county.  Our therapists try to provide a venue for meeting which is easy for the family to get to. Sometimes schools and GP surgeries can offer a room and some therapists see families in their own offices. Encouragingly, we can show a significant improvement in many children’s wellbeing and functioning following 6 -8 sessions of therapy. We measure this using the SDQ, Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire which is a standardised questionnaire used in many child mental health services across the UK and many other countries.

We are keen to support our own therapists, local schools and others working with children and have been providing 2-3 training days/year. Our most recent was in April 2019 when 23 of us gathered to learn about supporting children on the autistic spectrum who experience anxiety. This is a very relevant topic, many schools struggle to manage these children in the classroom as do parents at home. We also invited parents to this April training day and this provided a very worth while chance for parents and professionals to learn from each other.

We are also planning a safeguarding training, NVR (non-violent resistance) and body image and the impact of social media on young people for 2019/20.

 

Alison Sankey

Chair Wiltshire Family Counselling Trust