Reach Counseling For Children & Families With Special Needs
What is Reach's Counseling For Children & Families?
Reach Counselling Services provides counselling for children and teens who are in our programs, their caregivers, siblings and other family members, as needed. We know that raising a child who has extra needs can be challenging for that child and the family, and Reach Counselling can help with the mental health concerns that arise because of this situation and others that families find themselves in.
Counselling may address a variety of issues ranging from anxiety and depression, adjusting to a new diagnosis, marital stress, sibling issues and other mental health concerns. Reach Counselling is not meant for long term counselling (more than 10 sessions) or severe mental health disorders or crises, however referrals can be given for these situations.
Direct services for younger children up to age 12 include therapeutic play using sand tray, puppets and art. Adolescents are encouraged to use art to express difficult feelings as well as the typical ‘talking therapy’ familiar to adults counselling. Family or couples therapy is also used when needed.
The service is open to any family in REACH who has a child with a developmental delay or diagnosis, or any family that is already accessing one of our other services.
This service also provides educational seminars for parents and child care professionals on topics such as self-esteem, depression, attachment, and anxiety.
Reach understands that having a child with developmental challenges can create extra stress. Talking with a counselor can often be helpful. A counselor can create the opportunity for the client to review their options and gain new perspectives. Outcomes for children are more likely to be better when parents feel positive and can cope.
Referrals to Reach Counselling can be made by the parent or by a Reach consultant or outside agency or professional with the parent or guardian’s consent.
What is Therapeutic Play?
Therapeutic play is counselling for children. Children generally have a harder time expressing what they feel or what they are going through, so play in a therapy space allows them to express themselves through the metaphors and activities of play. The counsellor encourages this expression and enters into the child’s play to reflect what is going on in the child’s life and help them to find solutions. Therapeutic play can help with childhood issues of grief and loss, transitions, trauma, depression, and anxiety, as well as other difficulties that the child is experiencing. Expressive therapies such as sand tray, art, writing and movement can be helpful for adolescents and adults as well.
Parents need to be available during the child’s sessions, and at Reach are given a comfortable place to wait until the child is finished. Parents may be invited into some sessions and should always be available for the child to check with during the session so that the child feels safe. Parent sessions will be scheduled regularly to review the themes of the child’s play and review positive parenting strategies.
Counseling For Children & Families With Special Needs
Families with a child who has a developmental disability and are not receiving other Reach services can be referred by a professional from another agency in the community or can self-refer by contacting the Program Coordinator.
The Reach Counselling Services Program is neither a long-term nor emergency service. If the situation is an emergency, the crisis line should be called at 604-951-8855. If it is anticipated that more than 10 sessions will be needed, an alternative counselling service should be used.
The Reach Counselling Services Program is funded in part by the Government of Canada. The United Way of the Lower Mainland facilitated this funding through the Emergency Community Support Fund. The Reach Counselling Services Program is also funded by the Envision Community Endowment Fund.
Contact us now!
P: (604) 946-6622, ext. 347
L: Delta, Surrey, & Langley areas
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is the feeling of being unsafe, uneasy or apprehensive. It can be specific (“I’m afraid of dogs”) or vague (“I’m feeling really uncomfortable and want to get out of here”). The origins of anxiety are a mystery to researchers, but most agree that many body systems are involved in our anxious reactions to things or events. Our sensory system perceives something that alarms us which sends signals to our brain which activates chemicals that are sent to the muscles to either move or be on guard (fight or flight), and to our organs such as our heart and lungs to work faster in case we have to move quickly. These reactions, even if there really is no threat, can make us feel threatened and anxious. And the more this happens, the more we feel anxious unless we learn ways to address what our body feels and what our mind and feelings are telling us.