top of page

“Not” by Erin Hanson

You are not your age,

Nor the size of clothes you wear,

You are not a weight,

Or the colour of your hair.

You are not your name,

Or the dimples in your cheeks,

You are all the books you read,

And all the words you speak,

You are your croaky morning voice,

And the smiles you try to hide,

You’re the sweetness in your laughter,

And every tear you’ve cried,

You’re the songs you sing so loudly,

When you know you’re all alone,

You’re the places that you’ve been to,

And the one that you call home,

You’re the things that you believe in,

And the people that you love,

You’re the photos in your bedroom,

And the future you dream of,

You’re made of so much beauty,

But it seems that you forgot,

When you decided you were defined,

By all the things you’re not.

My work with young people

For any young people reading this, I hope it will help you to decide whether you might like to work with me. 

I used to work in schools, community centres, alternative education settings and for specialist youth counselling organisations, for 15 years.  I then moved into my own office and became self employed in 2017.

I know relationships with adults can be tricky and it can seem a bit of a jump to consider talking to one.  This is why the timing for counselling is very important.  I also won't work with anyone unless they decide themselves that they want to do so. Therefore, if a parent or someone who cares for you contacts me to make an enquiry I will always meet with you first. We would also set up an agreement about keeping what we speak about private, unless you tell me you are in danger, and this is explained to your parents or other adults who are involved with you as well. You can ask questions about the therapy during a planned call in advance of a first meeting too, if you would prefer.

If you are under the age of 16 and you make contact with me yourself you will need to involve a parent or appropriate adult. This is because it is helpful for you to have support from another adult outside the counselling - someone who is aware you are attending and who can offer you additional help.


If you decide to work with me, we’ll be focusing on your goals and going at your pace. I don’t tell people what to do and I don’t pretend to be an “expert”. I listen well and I try to understand things from your point of view. Basically, I offer you the opportunity to talk to someone outside of your normal life about whatever feels ok for you to talk about.

Trust takes time to develop but the theory is that through having this space on a regular basis to talk to someone who is tuned in, accepting and understanding of you, things will gradually begin to change. This includes how you feel about yourself, how you deal with your relationships, your moods, behaviour, your ability to cope, and lots more.


Sometimes people don’t like to talk, find it too difficult or feel concerned that they won’t know what to say for a whole session. I understand this – every time I meet with someone new that’s a whole new relationship and we will work together to find a way to communicate. It’s not all about the words, and sometimes just getting yourself into the counselling room is the hardest thing about it.


If you think you might be interested in a non talking type of therapy you might like to consider a something called Jungian Sandplay. Just to clarify in case you are put off by the “play”, this is not just for kids and does not involve actually playing with toys. It’s just the name Dora Kalff, the person who founded it, gave to it. In this type of therapy you set up pictures in a big rectangular box of sand, using miniature figures and objects. The process of actually doing this is often peaceful and calming, and the beauty of it is that you don’t need to explain or even understand yourself what it’s about and it will still work on a deep level. 

I hope this has answered some of your questions about counselling. Some other sources of help for young people which I can recommend are:


Childline | Childline 

Info, advice and support on many issues such as friends, bullying, family, health, sex, feelings, school

YoungMinds | Mental Health Charity For Children And Young People | YoungMinds

Advice and support for mental health and wellbeing

Start360 | How can we help you?

Support with health, drugs & alcohol, jobs

Hope Again Support for bereavement

bottom of page