On the Couch with Helen And MonicaSummer is nearly upon us, or so it would seem after quite a fabulous April weather wise, and so this is usually when we “grown ups” turn our minds towards thoughts of holidays, relaxing time out and sunnier climes!

However summer holidays aside, from SATS to Uni; there seems to be a pervading sense of stress amongst, children, teenagers and young adults just now, as they cope with the annual summer ritual of exams and tests!

With this in mind, and the almost contradiction of seasonally winding down, when young people are seemingly winding up, this led us to muse about the impact such academic expectations might have on young people?

A child’s world is very different, and quite separate in many ways from the adult view, and quite often we can forget what it was like to be a child. Mention undertaking a test or an exam however, and most adults will shudder at the memory, and in some cases cringe at the idea of being under such pressure.

The focus on academic achievement is culturally very important in our society, and this starts very early in our children’s lives. You only have to look at the news to see there is much focus on the impact of meeting University tuition fees, coupled with the annual ritual of GCSE & A level results, all which are vitally important. Sometimes, however if we are not mindful, this focus can become in danger of superseding the emotional impact on a young person’s self-esteem and growing sense of identity, and place in the world.

We are seeing more children and young people come through our doors for counselling, and it is a strongly held belief that until we dramatically improve the relational experiences of our young people that we will continue to see the level of emotional distress in adulthood that we see today.

It is with this in mind that we thought it would be beneficial to invite the renown children’s psychotherapist and Director of Education at the Centre of Child mental health to host a major conference for Teachers, Social workers, therapists and any one who works with children and young people (including parents), at the Manchester Conference Centre on the 15th October 2011. You can find out more and book your space here.

To coin a phrase, ‘children are our future’, and we feel passionate about creating an environment where children are able to express themselves without prejudice or judgement. A place where children can experience their true emotional vitality and in doing so “Be fully Called to Life” (Guntrip; 1973).

Helen & Monica

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