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Sexual Trauma & Abuse Restorative Therapies

Advice & Support Line
01962 868 688
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Children & Young People

START provides services to all age groups but has a specialist service for those who are Under 18 and need some support to deal with their unwanted experiences of sexual abuse and the sexual trauma that follows these experiences.

We have specialist counsellors, who you can find here, who have had experience and training in working with young people. The team will go into schools and colleges across Central, West and North Hampshire to see children and teenagers, as well as providing a service at one of our offices should a young person want to be seen outside of the school or college environment.

Your Questions Answered about Face to Face Counselling with us:

What is F2F Counselling?

Young people who have been sexually abused can experience many emotions and feelings which can be difficult to recognise and cope with on their own. Feelings can be anger, shame, guilt, confusion, sadness and many more. None of these are wrong, but they can affect your life and your relationships with the people around you and make you feel lonely and afraid. F2F counselling will help you understand your feelings and help you develop strategies to make positive changes in life. Whatever you say is confidential and private to you and the counsellor.

Where does it take place?

Counselling means seeing someone in a safe and secure place that you choose. It can be at your school or college, if they have rooms, and we can talk to the school or college about that, or you can come to us here at the counselling centre in Winchester. It can be during the day or during the evening or on a Saturday morning, whatever suits you best.

Who are the counsellors?

Counsellors don’t have two heads… they are just people who you can trust and talk with about anything you want. Counsellors will not judge you or make you talk about anything you don’t want to. They will not discuss anything you tell them with anyone else… including your family, or social worker or school. Our counsellors are trained in talking with and listening to you. They have loads of experience. They have worked with young people in schools and colleges and understand what you want and don’t want!

I don’t like to just sit and talk and it worries me that I will need to do that?

It’s not all about sitting and talking about your feelings. But there might be times when you do want to just talk. Your counsellor will ask you what you want to do each week, so they can bring in something to do, or you can even make something over the time you are together. You might want to write a song, or draw a picture, or if you like to write you can develop a story.

Sometimes you might want to sit and say nothing much, maybe discuss your friends, or what you watched on YouTube. You may just want to sit and be quiet, or listen to music together or draw or paint or write and that’s all fine, it is your time to spend with the counsellor in any way you choose! Whatever you want to do and feel is totally acceptable because you are in control.

What if I want to stop?

You can stop at any time you like, whether during a session, or have a week or two off if you want to, the time is yours and you decide how to use it and when you want it.

How long will it last?

The counselling is about 50 minutes long each week and will last between 6 and 12 weeks. It depends on how well it’s going, and whether you want to continue. There will be times when you are sad or angry at the end of the counselling and may not want to come again and other times when you feel really good about yourself and want to come the next day!

Can I bring a friend with me or a parent or someone I trust?

The counselling is one-to-one with a counsellor, but at the beginning your friend or parent or person you trust can meet the counsellor before the first session. If it’s in Winchester they can either sit and wait each time or go and have a coffee in Winchester while you see your counsellor. There are lots of places for coffee in Winchester!

What if I want to continue beyond the 12 weeks?

We will talk to you along the way about how things are going and whether we think more counselling is needed, usually it’s not, but we will not just end it if we think there is more to do and you want to continue.

What if I don’t like my counsellor!

We hope you will get on with your counsellor and look forward to your time with her or him. That’s not always the case and if you don’t like your counsellor, or find it hard to talk with them, you can tell us, or ask someone else who can tell us. We will do our best to find someone else to meet with you.

What if I miss my counselling time?

If you can’t make it that’s okay we just ask that you let us know in advance.

We need to let the counsellor know you aren’t able to come.

If you don’t let us know, we will try to contact you (or someone you trust) to find out why and to make sure you are coming next time.

You can stop the regular slots at any time, but if you miss three consecutive appointments we will cancel your counselling sessions. You can always come back at a later time and date when you are ready.

Can I speak with my counsellor outside of the times I see them?

The majority of our counsellors are volunteers and are not contactable outside counselling hours, but you can always call, text, or email the Service Support line and someone will contact you within 24 hours. In an emergency you should speak to someone you can trust. Check out our Advice and Information page for more info.

What if I want to tell someone about someone else who is being sexually abused?

You can call or contact us at any time for advice and information. You can also use other parts of this website to find some answers about questions you might have. If you suspect or know someone is being abused you should talk to someone you trust.

Don’t hold onto any worries you have or think they’re silly, or that you will not be believed. You will be believed.

How do I refer myself / someone else for Under-18s counselling?

Please click here to access our Under-18s referral form.

Call our Advice & Support Line on 01962 868 688 or 01962 864 433


Anonymous SMS Text helpline service: 07860 027 793

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