Our Services

We create a safe and non-judgemental space where children and young people can shape the way they’re supported in their healing process. They learn how to live their own new story.

graphic-readingRosebank offers free counselling and support services to children and young people who have experienced sexual abuse. We believe in the value of early intervention and work with children and teenagers. Many of our clients are teenagers and young people. We also work with supportive, non-offending family members as part of a holistic approach to healing.

Support services

A child or young person should feel safe and secure before they begin counselling – that’s the most important foundation for therapeutic work. It’s hard to focus on counselling if you have to worry about where to sleep or whether you feel safe at home. We try to support our clients to secure a stable environment first.

For example, if a young person needs to get out of their home environment, we could advocate on their behalf with housing and youth services. If a child has a medical condition, we can assist with doctors, hospitals and other services. We counsel non-offending family members to support their children and young people more effectively.

It’s only when a child feels safe and secure that they can they start to heal through therapy. It sets the stage for recovery in the child/young person’s whole life.


graphic-butterflyAs the kids heal, it’s just like watching a flower open. It might sound corny but that’s what we see.  We watch them blossom and grow. — Rosebank counsellor

Our approach

Counselling children/young people is very different to counselling adults. If a child doesn’t have the language or understanding to talk about what has happened, then traditional speech-based therapy is probably not going to help them very much.

At Rosebank, we use a cross section of therapeutic modalities. Our approach is highly creative and designed for the individual. Where we start and what we do depends on the age of the child, how verbal they are and how connected they might be with their feelings and emotions.

No pressure or expectation

Children and young people bring what they want to their sessions. There’s no expectation that they have to have a conversation, or be re-traumatised by having to tell their story as a traumatic event. If they want to, of course that’s fine and our counsellors can hold that space so they can be free to tell it. The session room allows a child to speak without feeling responsible for their story. He or she doesn’t have to worry about protecting our counsellors in the way they might worry about protecting their family. They can share the enormous trauma without feeling they need to spare their parents or others from hearing it.

Sometimes our clients start in a non-verbal way and gradually, as trust builds, they choose to verbalise. They often do this on their way to creating their new story. The main thing is that they have control.

The Child or Young Person Sets the Pace

We give the child permission to be what they want to be in their session. We move at a pace that is comfortable for them, with no pressure to talk before they are ready. Children/young people often look forward to the sessions, as they are a place of creativity and exploring – a safe, fun and playful space  where they can let go and discover new possibilities for themselves.

What people don’t realise is that there’s often lots of laughter in the counselling room. Yes, it can be a sad atmosphere at times but it’s often a very happy place… — Rosebank counsellor

Rosebank’s Creative therapy

All children respond to trauma differently. Some young people are almost immobilised, disconnected from the world when we first meet them. Rather than going through the excruciating and often non-productive process of trying to engage in traditional therapy, we try different things.

graphic-bubblesWe enter the child’s world by finding the things they’re really interested in and we connect with them on that level.

We will bring out all sorts of activities and see what gels or interests the person. Maybe it’s scrapbooking or flash cards or craft activities or drawing. The therapist waits to see what the child naturally gravitates towards and gently works from that.

Creative therapy reaches out to the person with no demands. There  are no expectations, no pressure, no stress. They can sing, they can draw, they can talk, they can be creative. These things give the therapist so much insight into the child’s world and provide important clues to building the rapport that will support their healing.

Often I’ve worked with younger children, trying to connect them with their feelings again. Do you know that song, ‘When you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands?’ We sing that together with another part too: ‘When you’re sad and you know it, have a cry.’ And it’s just one of the ways to get in touch with normal feelings and break down the barriers.  We’re building greater self-awareness and a sense of self and we’re creating a safe space to explore and celebrate that. — Rosebank counsellor

We had a young girl who just loved music from the 1970’s  and her family and friends couldn’t understand it. Why would a 16 year old love that? We decided to use that music as the therapeutic mode. She brought in her favourite tracks, discussed the lyrics, described what it was that really engaged her about it. Her counselling sessions were the one place she could simply immerse herself in the love of it.  And it enabled a lot of good work to be done and trust to be built… — Rosebank counsellor

Working with young people

Often when we start working with young people they’re very flat in mood. They can come across as quite depressed and unmotivated: isolated in lots of respects, even from their peers.

In the time we work with them, they’re able to put things that have happened to them in a better perspective.

They learn to trust again and to see that the world can be a safe place as well.

graphic-cartwheelThey begin to understand that it’s a great waste of life’s possibilities to let one experience taint your whole perspective on life and get in the way of forming friendships.

Through counselling they learn that yes, crappy things happen in life, terrible things happen in life…but good things can happen too. They learn that it’s how you deal with what has happened and move forward that matters. It’s the story you yourself can write, that’s important.

We love working with young people. We watch them draw strength and build resilience so that whatever might come around the corner, they know they can cope.

Just last week, I finished working with a young woman. She’d been coming to us for three years. She’s 18 now. In our evaluation of how the counselling has been for her, she actually thanked me. She talked about how she’ll carry what she’s learnt with her forever. And she thanked me for teaching her resilience. It was a beautiful conversation and her words were a beautiful gift for me as well. It shows the wonderful reciprocity between counsellor and client. — Rosebank counsellor

Working with families + others

At Rosebank, we support and work with, not just with the children but with their families and the people who are important to them. (We do not work with members of the family who are accused of violence.)

Sometimes we might work with the child’s school too. Or liaise and advocate on their behalf with medical, housing, or youth services.

The Benefits of Counselling

How Children Heal From Trauma

Children feel the benefits of counselling in many aspects of their daily lives. For example, they’ve told us that counselling has helped them in these ways:

> To focus in class to do their schoolwork

> Understand their feelings better

> Make new friendships

> By having a safe space where someone listened to them

> Gave them ways to get to sleep

> Feel better about themselves

> Build their confidence and resilience

> Provided a place where they can be themselves

> Feel a sense of being connected with the world

> Not feel as worried about things