Counselling by Nicola Stewart

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Welcome to my blog!


Being a mental health specialist and trainer is a varied and rewarding role.  Read my thoughts on current press, pace and progress regarding children's mental health and the support services available to families.

By Nicky Stewart, Jun 21 2020 09:20AM

Following Government guidance published on 15th June 2020 schools are currently planning to welcome more pupils back through the school gates. As a school counsellor I am very aware of how hard our teachers and school leaders have been working over the last 13 weeks since lockdown began. Schools have never actually closed, contrary to some public opinion. This subsequently means we have school staff who have not had a break in over 3 months; they have given up their evenings and weekends supporting their school community - whether that be reviewing continual policy changes, planning on-line lessons, running their key worker provision, delivering FSM vouchers, keeping children safe, calling parents, cleaning/rearranging classrooms...the list is endless.

Running at this pace on high alert for this long will have an impact. Addressing this emotional impact is important to understand how we will all move towards recovery. So HOW are we going to feel next week? Let's address the emotional impact here...

By Nicky Stewart, May 19 2020 07:13AM

After the enforced long extended break from school due to the COVID 19 pandemic we will need to spend time managing the rupture to our school relationships. This disruption in relationships can be damaging for some and this is based around the theory of attachment. 'Attachment is a deep and enduring emotional bond that connects one person to another across time and space'. (Ainsworth, 1973; Bowlby, 1969).

Attachment theory explains how the parent-child relationship emerges and influences subsequent development. All children need secure attachment to at least one care giver to make sure they develop emotionally and socially. If a child doesn't have the security of a positive attachment to help them learn how to manage emotional and social situations, they may develop insecure attachments. Doing so can impact on their cognitive development - the way they learn and how they come to understand the world.

By Nicky Stewart, Apr 22 2020 11:53PM

This week many schools 'returned', albeit virtually, to begin a new term on-line with their pupils. Many school staff have spent their Easter break upskilling themselves with the technology required to deliver this on-line curriculum due to the school closures during the COVID19 pandemic. This enormous effort by our education staff to pull together and adapt in these trying times is testament the profession.

I have had the pleasure of working in schools as a counsellor for the last 13 years and I am always humbled by the dedication and commitment of teachers and support staff. In my role I offer support to the whole school community so I am fortunate to see the inner workings of these institutions and that is why I am passionate about supporting our teachers now more than ever. This period of on-line working will need careful review and continued support to protect the wellbeing of, not just our staff, but pupils too.

By Nicky Stewart, Mar 21 2020 08:36PM

You have no doubt been practically preparing for the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This may have included making arrangements to work from home or arranging support in preparation for school closures. Whilst organising this you may also be managing difficult emotions for yourself or your family. It is essential at this time that we all pay attention to how we are going to maintain a good sense of wellbeing. Following the 5 Ways to Wellbeing you can access the support you need. I have put together a list of activities for all the family so you can plan out ways to look after your wellbeing over the coming weeks.

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