The Totnes Progressive School Counsellor
The TOPS Counsellor is Maxine Stevens. She recently set up the counselling
service in school through her final placement whilst studying for her Diploma
in Integrative Counseling. Max is a member of the National Counselling
Society and follows their ethical framework. She has worked in schools,
education and social care setting for 15 years. Max is taking further training in
Core Process Psychotherapy at The Karuna Institute which will develop her
Welcome to student counselling
Sometimes in our lives we have times when things can get too much for us
and we need a little help. The counselling service is a place for you to talk
about what you are finding difficult. The counsellor will work with you and to
find a way forward and give you the time and space you need. You can talk in
confidence with the counsellor.
What kind of problems can counselling help with?
People come to counselling for all sorts of reasons, everything is welcome,
every issue will be received without judgment, just support.
The kinds of things a counsellors can help with include:
Anxiety and panic disorders
Misuse of alcohol and drugs
Self-harm - harming thoughts
Relationship difficulties friends/family
Bereavement and loss
Gender and Sexual Identity
Is the counselling private?
Yes, it’s a private session, what you talk about is confidential between you
and the counsellor. The counsellor will not share information about you or the
sessions without your permission. The only time information may need to be
shared is when the counsellor feels the person is at risk of harm. The
counsellor will always talk to you about this first to gain your permission to
share their concerns. This is to make sure you are safe.
The only other time a counsellor talks about your sessions is during
supervision, but this is made anonymous. The supervision is there to make
sure the counsellor is working safely and is doing the best job they can to help
and support you.
What actually happens in counselling?
The first session is all about getting to know each other in a gentle way. The
counsellor recognizes that it might feel a bit scary to meet someone new and
if its your first time seeing a counsellor it might feel a bit daunting.
After the first session you will then see each other weekly if that is what you feel
you need. Usually the student and counsellor will talk together about what you
are finding difficult and we will find ways together to work through these difficulties.
Its your time and space to talk about whatever you like. The
session will last 45 minutes.
At the end of your time with the counsellor you will be asked, if you are willing,
to complete a feedback questionnaire. This will help the school evaluate how
the counselling service is working and if there is more they can do to improve.
Concerns or Complaints
If you have a concern or a complaint that you can’t raise with the counsellor
please talk to Lindsay Braga. Alternatively, any member of staff will be able to
The Counselling Service where possible will try and work around the best time
for you and what fits in with your timetable and school commitments. Your tutor
will help you catch up on any missed work. The school Counsellor is currently
in school on a Tuesday.
How can I arrange to see a counsellor
By visiting Lindsay Braga, she will chat to you and chat to the counsellor to
arrange a suitable time.
You can also email:
By Self-referral to Lindsay Braga
Through your tutor or teacher
Your Parents/Carers can refer you to Lindsay Braga with your permission
In an emergency
When the Counselling Service is closed there is support from telephone or
online service 24/7 and its free:
Young Minds - Text YM to 85258 or young minds.org.uk
Childline provide help and advice to young people on 0800 1111 or
The Samaritans on 08457 909090 or
Nightline on 029 2087 0555
Help is ALWAYS available.