It is recognised that young people from time to time may need emotional support beyond that which is provided within the pastoral care systems in school. Also young people can find it helpful to talk to someone who is outside of their everyday school experience and this is when counselling can be beneficial.
The Independent Counselling Service for Schools is funded by the Department of Education and has been operating since 2007.
On the 1st September 2016, management responsibility for this service transferred to the Education Authority (EA) and the contact within the EA for this service is:
Miss Cathy Bell
EA Regional Adviser
Independent Counselling Service for Schools
Loughview Regional Centre
2-6 Jordanstown Road
This is a professional service underpinned by clear professional standards and operating guidelines which are in the ICSS Handbook.
Frequently asked questions
The ICSS handbook defines counselling as:
“… a way of helping young people through a process of talking, listening and empowerment. Young people are provided with a safe place to express their feelings and thoughts about what they perceive to be an issue in their life. Counselling can help young people to understand themselves and their situation better. It can give them new ways of coping with issues that cause them upset therefore increasing their capacity for learning. Successful counselling is based on trust, self-motivation and commitment.”
Counselling is available to all post primary pupils in grant aided schools across Northern Ireland.
The counselling is facilitated in school but is independent of the school system. All counsellors adhere to high professional standards; receive appropriate professional supervision and opportunities for continuous professional development.
- A young person can decide to go to counselling and request it in school
- A parent can refer their child to counselling
Each school has a key contact for the counselling service. This is normally a senior member of staff who is the link between the school and the counselling service. Check with your school who the Key contact is and talk to them about counselling.