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Can I refer someone to Safe Speak?

Yes, if you know a child or young person who you think would benefit from counselling please give us a call. Please make sure that the client wants to attend counselling. We will check to see if we have a free counselling service available for your client can access. If not, we can discuss whether we can offer a spot purchasing option.

A Pre-CAF Form can be used to help make your assessment of whether you think counselling is an appropriate intervention. This form is available from the Derby City Council website. Send a copy of the Pre-CAF to Safe Speak when you make your referral.

Written consent will need to be obtained from a parent / carer before counselling starts if the child is still at primary school. This may also be requested for older children following assessment by the counsellor.

What is Safe Speak?

Safe Speak is a confidential counselling service run by Relate for children and young people. We give children a place to work with an experienced counsellor about anything that’s worrying them. Our work for 5-10 year olds can include sand trays and drawing as well as time to talk.

Why talk to a Counsellor?

When children are anxious, this can have an impact on their school work and friendships. Being able to talk to someone outside of their situation can help children to feel less burdened and more able to enjoy their time in school. Counsellors are trained to listen without judging and to help people sort out troubling thoughts and feelings

Who might want to use this service?

Relate staff are experts in dealing with the impact of children and young people’s relationship with themselves and others. Children who are:

• coping with change at home or school

• dealing with loss or bereavement  

• worried or upset about something

• experiencing difficulties in their relationships with friends or with family members

The child will be offered an initial meeting with the counsellor to see whether Safe Speak is the right service for them. If not, we will do our best to help them access the support they need.

How often would the client see the counsellor?

Normally children have a weekly appointment lasting 35-45 minutes. The counsellor and child will review the counselling on a regular basis and decide together when the work will end. Some funding streams will only fund time limited work


Because of the importance of developing trust between child and counsellor, it is important that the content of sessions remains as private as possible.

We have detailed child protection policies and work to the Derbyshire and Derby City Safeguarding Children Boards’ Polices and Procedures. If a child appeared to be at risk of harm, we may need to seek help from parents, school or other agencies to help keep them safe.

What happens in a counselling session?

Usually the child will talk about things that are important to them, they may chose to use other creative materials like paint or a sand tray to communicate. The counsellor will not make them talk about things, but works to provide an environment that feels safe to bring what may be troubling them.

Like more information?

Please contact us if you would like to know more about the Safe Speak service. Currently we offer counselling service for 11-18 year olds at the following sites:

Click on the Where To Find Us button on the left of the screen to find out about our current venues.

Does the family need additional help?

Safe Speak is run by Relate Derby and Southern Derbyshire. As well as Children and young people’s services we also offer support for families and adults. Go to the Relate Derby website for more information on our range of local services


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Counselling service for 11-18 year olds - information for agencies