My placement with KidsAid

Natasha Williams, Creative Therapist

I have always felt drawn to a career of supporting children and young people who have additional behavioural and emotional needs. My undergraduate degree was in Special Educational Needs and Inclusion, and whilst I enjoyed the course and considered many future paths within specialist education (in a SEMH pathway), I realised that a big part of how I understood young people’s presenting behaviours and emotions, was related to the child’s understanding and response to environmental or traumatic experiences. This is when I found myself following a therapeutic approach to my work with children, and this naturally led me to a career of counselling.

I studied my MA in Counselling Children and Young People at the University of Northampton. I was attracted to this course due to the placement availability and the training and expertise of the lecturers within their field/therapeutic modality.

I found KidsAid through the university’s list of prior placement providers. I researched many providers and found that KidsAid supports my values, ethos, and mindset as a therapist and as a professional working with children and young people. I was particularly attracted to their focus on creative practice, and the opportunity to practise in both therapy rooms and in schools. When I reached out to KidsAid, I felt comforted by the welcome and support offered to me and felt immediately at home within the charity.

My experience of my placement at KidsAid was everything I could have dreamed my placement to be. All aspects of my placement not only met but exceeded my wildest expectations. I was offered clinical practise which allowed me to be challenged and develop as a therapist but was not beyond the scope of my trainee status. My clients were varied in ages, needs, and interests which allowed me to develop skills and confidence in all areas of my clinical work.

The support I received from the charity was incredible. I had regular contact with the Clinical Lead, who provided me with support and advise when I was unsure of my skills in specific modalities (play therapy, for example, as this was not widely covered in my training). The Charity Director and Administrators are a constant comfort and source of advice. My Case Manager provided me regular support with my client work and was available to discuss any concerns I had for my clients.

Policy, practice expectations and procedure of managing client paperwork etc. is clearly set out from the very beginning, which provided comfort in knowing my expectations as a member of the team, and comfort in knowing the procedures after safeguarding disclosures/concerns are dealt with seriously and immediately.

As a student on placement, I was offered additional support in terms of supervision and paid travel expenses. KidsAid also provided me with a budget for client toolkits – which was a great support for providing individualised support, based on clients’ interests.

It has been incredible to watch the growth and development of the charity over the period of time that I have been privileged to work with KidsAid. The charity is developing exponentially and is providing more and more support for children and young people (and their families) across Northamptonshire, not only in counselling practice for children and young people but in psychoeducation and support for schools and parents, wellbeing groups and more.

I am truly honoured to be a part of an incredible team and organisation which are determined and passionate about developing the support for children and young people across the country.

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Tuesday 31st May 2022