At Ethelbert Children’s Services, we train and equip our residential staff teams and foster carers to adopt a therapeutic approach to childcare based on mutual respect, understanding and unconditional positive regard. However, children living away from their families often need more specialist therapeutic services to help them unravel any childhood trauma they may have experienced, understand why they cannot live with their families and to assist them to develop good levels of self-esteem, identity and resilience that will be necessary for them to function successfully, effectively and responsibly in later life.
As professionals in the children’s sector are aware, public mental and emotional health services for children and adolescents are under increasing pressure and services are difficult to access when they are most needed. Waiting lists of several months are not uncommon and the high threshold criteria for young people to access services can make it impossible for some children to receive the help they need, when they need it.
Ethelbert Children’s Services have a multi-disciplinary approach to therapeutic services and believe that a ‘one size fits all’ model cannot be flexible enough to cater for the diverse needs children and young people can present. Operating from a semi-rural, dedicated Therapy Centre, our panel of qualified and experienced therapists can provide the optimum intervention for each particular child or young person.
Therapy services can be provided to children and young people as soon as they have settled into placement and formed trusting relationships with the staff team. This will ensure a ‘safe base’ which is essential if assessment and subsequent therapeutic interventions are to be reliable and effective. The timescales for achieving initial placement stability are different for each individual child or young person; however, we consider a period of between 10 and 15 weeks to be the average.
Our Therapy Services Manager works closely with our residential and fostering teams to source and coordinate bespoke therapy programmes for children and young people, best aligned to their individual and specific needs. Traditional talking therapies, such as psychotherapy and counselling, are available to those that would benefit from this nature of service, but specialist therapies and creative therapies are also available to individuals who would benefit from an alternate approach. Our extensive panel of consultant therapists collectively provide a range of theoretical orientations and techniques that include: child centred counselling, psychotherapy, systemic therapy, cognitive behaviour Therapy (CBT), together with creative therapies that include music, art, drama and play.