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Book Review: Practical Supervision For Counsellors Who Work With Young People

I have been working with young people aged 4 to 16 for the past 10 years. The majority of my work has been within a school setting but not exclusively. I now run my own private practice and before that I worked for Relate. Back in the early days I would have considered myself to be an ‘Integrative’ Counsellor but now I am happy to go with whichever label my client feels works best; Psychologist, Counsellor, Systemic Practitioner, Play Therapist... I let them choose. What I have found is that although the setting (and my title!) may have changed over the years, the young people I work with and the issues they bring, have not.

In my opinion, this book brilliantly highlights the many challenges working with young people brings. It also addresses many institutional issues, such as how to deal with organisational anxieties, and frames them in a way that any reader with some experience can easily relate to. I found it to be a great read from start to finish, easy to follow and containing some wonderful case studies for supervisors and supervisees to draw from.

I have been using the book with my own supervisees. Together we have found it equally useful; highlighting many issues that would not ordinarily be discussed in detail, such as Dependence v Independence in chapter 10 and the fantastic chapter on The Myth of Anger Management.

There is clearly a person-centred approach to Nick’s work as a supervisor but what I loved was his natural ability to combine this with systemic family therapy and the narrative traditions of his storytelling. It was a delight to read and I’d go as far as to say a ‘must have’ text for all supervisors working with counsellors for young people. I particularly liked chapter 6, Counselling in Schools, which for me was refreshing and rang true in its candid description of the fine line you have to constantly tread between confidentiality and the duty of care we hold for our young clients. It also offers practical advice on how to establish good boundaries with organisations drawing from both person-centred and systemic theories; along with the importance of making good staff connections.

With schools and agencies facing more and more pressure to deal with young people’s mental health issues, the role of the counsellor is rapidly becoming more important than ever. This book grapples with the difficult issues through Nick’s wealth of experience and its superb case studies. It’s well referenced and draws on many of the classic child theorists, such as Winnicott and Klein, adding weight to his arguments. It’s honest appraisal of the reality of the role, ‘counsellors have no ‘magic’ wands’, offers practical guidance and a no nonsense approach which makes for an inspiring, uplifting read. Suffice to say it’s difficult to critique such a useful tool; my only request would be for a chapter on ‘externalising’ – working therapeutically through creative play and art – as I know this to be key for many children.

Thank you to Counsellors Café for bringing this book to my attention. I will be highly recommending it to all those working with young people and using it with all my supervisees from now on.

Practical Supervision For Counsellors Who Work With Young People - By Nick Luxmoore

Authors Bio


Kay Brophy is an experienced and respected Psychologist Family Practitioner, and Author. She

is a member of the British Psychological Society (BPS) and The Association for Family Therapy (AFT) and holds a BA(Hons) in Business, a Graduate Diploma in Psychology and a Postgraduate Certificate in Child Focused Systemic Practice from the IFT (Institute of Family Therapy). She has her own practice, Acorn Families, and has been working in schools for the past 10 years. Kay is currently helping educate children about safe ways to express their feelings using fun characters and stories.

You can find more on Kay's work or get in touch via Twitter

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