Art  Child-Adolescent Psychotherapy  Education

Deborah Shaer​: artist & Arts Therapist 

The role of educational psychologists (EP’s) in schools provide specific assessments related to learning abilities, learning styles, special needs with the focus on education and possibly spilling into areas such as behaviour. Some EP’s are also being trained in facilitating Mindfulness meditation focusing on the breath and supporting the child or adolescent who suffers from anxiety, particularly with regard to exams.  The latter is very common. EP’s also gather information from a network of professionals working with a pupil, including counsellors and psychotherapists to gain a greater insight to presenting issues.

This networking system is important and anyone who has attended multi-agency meetings will know that a child’s needs are discussed from diverse sources such as the head of SENCO (special needs), Child Protection officer, speech and language professionals, teachers, and possibly a social worker and counsellor or psychotherapist if involved. 

I have experienced these multi-agency meetings as very affirming, so far as holding in mind the child or adolescent, and providing important resources and most importantly, sharing information. Of course as a psychotherapeutic counsellor the confidentiality between the child/adolescent must be honoured both professionally and morally unless there is cause for concern and disclosure. And this is already discussed with the young person in the confidentiality agreement from the start.  It’s big work to say the least, on top of everyone’s individual responsibilities outside of this concentrated meeting place.

Schools operate differently so this paper is based on my direct experience and observations in several secondary schools where I have worked, and for me, it is the best environment to facilitate counselling sessions for children and young people.  This work should not be done is isolation. 

Frontline social workers are exposed to extreme cases of disturbing domestic situations. Their caseloads are always serious, funding is lean and inadequate and this means that significant numbers of vulnerable infants, children and adolescents are suffering.  The impact on many levels personally and in our societies when help is out of reach is a situation with far reaching affects and concerns for a future populated with healthy adults.

What happens to someone when there is neglect and abuse from the age of infancy? What happens when an individual's internal resources, thinking patterns, brain capacities, and untouched heart becomes incapable of feeling a sense of love for one’s self and others? When the only concern of a policymaker is the list of low grades in education, poor attitudes and bad behaviours and gang violence with solutions that involve a punishing regime to sort it out, this is where the problem lies.  Political leaders that have no training or experience about the developing brain and whose narrow mind cannot grasp that pupils need nourishment, a loving heart a caring soul, and encouragement - lots of it - individual attention and positive regard then they are perpetuating problems through ignorance. For the very young and the young, the arts, play, fun and laughter trigger happy brain chemicals that diffuse the reptilian the savage sectors of infested thoughts and psychopathic deeds.  Growing up requires essential structures to allow a person to development holistically.

I believe it’s time to move away from expectations such as governmental funding. There is simply too much manipulation and corruption going on there.  Schools, I think, would be better off to assign fundraisers with innovative ideas and benevolent sources.  Politicians and bankers seem to sponge off each other with the co-operation of newspapers and spinning PR gurus.  Looking at what is, and what is real and genuine is more likely to bring fruit bearing branches where they’re needed.

The focus of my articles in this section apply mainly to the education sector but may be of interest to anyone as it relates to working and communicating with children and adolescents in a professional capacity.   

Copyright Deborah Shaer 2016. All Rights Reserved

​Marlene Dumas 1996 (2014: 104)


Dumas M, 2014, Sweet Nothings: Notes and Texts, Ed. Berg, MVD, London, Koenig Books, Tate Publishing.

Author: Deborah Shaer, 5 June, 2016, London

       “If you ask the wrong questions you can’t get the right answers.”         

Education & Psychology