Introducing our special guest- Cathy Coombs Psychotherapist/School Counsellor and advocate for Well-being and Mental Health amongst young people.
Cathy has had an inspired career working with young people as a Specialist Teacher, Psychotherapist and School Counsellor. As a school counsellor young people are drawn to Cathy’s empathic nature, which means she has seen and heard almost everything. Founder of Surrey’s Learning and Counselling Centre Cathy knows how important her services are to her community.
Cathy finds as the years go by young people are expected to cope and deal with issues that simply were not there twenty years ago. The introduction of social media, the internet, increased celebrity status, exam pressures, and school entrance pressure has meant that our children have more to cope with. Cathy has witnessed an ever-changing world of ‘complex issues’ which are vital to a child’s personal development, growth and well-being.
Working closely with others, Cathy has established and developed whole school approaches to mental health and well-being. This much needed service has been integrated throughout her school in many different areas e.g. pastoral care, PSE programme, with a variety of mental health workshops especially for exam year groups, group sessions, advisory counsel to staff and parents. Safeguarding issues, referrals to children’s services e.g. CAMHS … to name a few.
Her job is constantly evolving as societies needs alter and change. Being on the front line Cathy can adjust to these changes quickly. Cathy has had a stunning career supporting, maintaining and delivering a high standard of support throughout her career. Mental health and well-being is a huge passion which she has been lucky enough to share with children who have specific learning difficulties e.g. dyslexia, speech and language and processing difficulties in both specialist and mainstream schools including some of Surrey’s top Independent schools.
Glad to have you on board this week Cathy, thank you for joining us.
Wow! Thank you for that incredible introduction!! And thank you for having me.
Back To School – You Got This!
As we are quickly approaching a new school year, life as a student has changed possibly forever. But one thing that has not changed is your fears and anxieties of the unknown. School life gave you a secure platform to become independent and to develop a ‘good sense of self’.
Now that the learning environment has changed, you must adapt as quickly as you did to home-schooling and Covid-19 demands. To this change, I have no doubt that you will rise to the challenge with strength and humility.
But resilience requires flexibility and if I have learned anything from young people over the years that word ‘flexibility’ represents your ability to accept change very quickly. However, this change must be supported by your parent/guardian/caregiver.
How can your parents help you to do this without adding extra stress? Here are some helpful tips and coping strategies that you and your unit might find useful:
Listen to individual fears and anxieties R.E.M we are all different and there are no set rules or answers.
Age appropriate – use drawing as a visualisation tool, a way of setting the scene on a new school environment. What might the school look like? Draw social distancing markers to help with visualisation, friendship groups, and people wearing masks and in some cases PPE. The use of visualisation can be a powerful strategy that can help ‘set the scene’. Almost pre-teaching you what school might look like.
Use visualisation: Imagine a balloon filled with worries or concerns. Tie a ribbon around the end. Hold it firmly. Let it go into the bright blue sky. Watch it disappear. Leaving you lighter and freer.
Talk about being in smaller friendship groups.
Try wearing your uniform and mask before you start school (this will ease you into change).
Try the APPLES approach it’s simple:
Acknowledge: uncertainty as it comes to mind.
Pause: Do not react at all – Pause and breath.
Pull Back from your thoughts: Do not believe everything you think. They are not facts.
Let go: Let go of any negative thought or feeling it will pass. You do not have to respond. Use visualisation as a tool.
Explore: Explore the present moment be mindful of your breathing and bodily sensations. Be aware of the ground underneath you, notice sounds, sights and smells.
Smile: You are present.
September will be here and a new normality upon us all.
My sincere best wishes for you and your family – YOU GOT THIS X
If you are interested in hearing more about the services that Cathy has to offer you, feel free to contact us firstname.lastname@example.org and we will put you in touch.
For GCSE exam results questions your first point of contact should always be your school and your teacher. You can also try the following places to find help.
Pearsons own Edexcel so if your exam board was Edexcel try Pearsons for help.