Yvette Lambe

Counselling Children and Young People MSc

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  • Year of graduation: 2018
  • Current job title: Counselling Manager and Clinical Supervisor
  • Current employer: Service Six
  • Company website: https://www.servicesix.co.uk
  • Industry sector: Charity Supporting Children, Young People and Families

Your University Journey

Why did you choose your course at UON?

I chose the course at UON to grow and develop my practice and to specialise in counselling children, young people and families. The course covered all aspects of my chosen development, with each of the modules focusing on areas such as child development and child mental health. The course also invited guest lecturers such as Valeria Ugazio, who specialises in family systemic therapy and wrote Semantic Polarities and Psychopathologies in the Family. These additional lectures broadened my knowledge and experience.

What aspects of the course did you enjoy the most and why?

The modules on family therapy were a significant area of learning and have really supported my practice, as well as empowering my position as a counselling manager. I’m now better able to triage families into the most appropriate therapeutic intervention to meet their presentations and needs, as well as liaise with other professionals such as social workers, to agree on treatment plans for children, young people and families.

The completion of my dissertation was one of the most considerable developmental areas of my personal and professional development on the course. My research focused on an area with minimal research – counselling children and young people who have experienced sexual trauma and fell under pre-trial therapy protocols. Under the guidance of my tutors and my dissertation supervisor, my research evidenced how post traumatic growth could be achieved without the incident being verbally discussed, but also how the law needed to change so that the children and young people had a voice. In May 2022, the law changed and now they can have a voice in the counselling room. This research supported my work with Service Six and securing the contracts with East Midlands Children and Young People Sexual Assault Service for Northamptonshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire.

My studies also supported my position as a counselling manager in that we now only recruit counsellors or therapists with a child/young person’s specific qualification, recognising the work as a specialism. All of my work as a manager, a therapist and a clinical supervisor is a consequence of the MSc course and I’m truly grateful for the time and support provided to me by my tutors and UON.

Your Placement

Did you complete a placement?

Yes, I completed my placement with Service Six prior to my promotion as a child and young person’s counsellor. My work was with children and young people involved from the referral process, acquiring more information, such as chronologies, which support case formulation and appropriate intervention, to then organising parent meetings, professionals meetings and end of therapy reports for professionals. I was also responsible for the completion of all case data and any reporting of safeguarding concerns.

Please describe how your placement benefitted you?

The placement allowed me to experience being with a larger community of counsellors and play therapists. I learnt rigorously about safeguarding children and young people – having a team of designated safeguarding leads felt safe for me as a practitioner as I always had a team I could consult with and hand over any reporting of safeguarding to. The placement offered in-house NHS training, as they are a provider of NHS funded counselling sessions, an administrative team to support me with any IT issues or case file issues. The placement was robust in its infrastructure and provided me with appropriate referrals to meet my competencies as I grew in practice throughout the course.

What employability skills did you develop during your placement?

After I graduated, I was promoted to Clinical Lead Therapist, and in January 2023 I was promoted to Counselling Manager, responsible for 43 counsellors/therapists over four counties. This was only achieved as a result of my experience and knowledge gained from my postgraduate course. After graduating, I gained my Senior Accredited Membership of BACP, and completed the Service Six Service Accreditation for BACP – again, it’s the knowledge gained from the course that enabled me to achieve this.

I have national private medical providers contact me via LinkedIn to recruit me. I was also contacted by a national charity to be the author of their trauma website, which was an amazing achievement. As a result of this, I’ve written a children’s book, only possible because of the course and how much I learnt from my tutor.

How do you think the placement helped you to gain employment after graduating?

My placement offered me employment after graduating. I feel privileged that they saw in me the ability to step up!

Do you have any tips on applying or getting the most benefit from your placement?

Too many graduates rush into private practice. Once you’ve graduated, be humble, continue to learn from your placement. At Service Six, once graduated and if places are available, sessional contracts are offered so that you can continue your development within a professional and robust clinical framework.

What advice would you give a student about to begin a placement?

Ensure you have picked the right placement for you. Consider the time you can offer and what the placement can offer you – don’t feel pressured into accepting days and times which are going to be problematic to your life, work or studies. Look at the clinical supervision provision – this can be costly – some placements cover this cost, so make sure you check! A placement is like choosing a home, does it feel right for you?

Also, don’t leave it to the last minute. At the beginning of your course, start contacting potential placement providers – whenever I’m contacted by placement students who have just started their course, I’m impressed that they’re being proactive.

Finally, in your interview, be yourself. It’s similar to being a therapist, so be real and honest.

Your Career Progression

How do you think your studies have helped your career or personal development?

I wouldn’t be the counselling manager at Service Six if I hadn’t completed my MSc at UON. The knowledge and experience I gained, and the qualification itself supported my career development. Personally, I felt more confident in my abilities as a counsellor during and after graduation – my aptitude for academic work was my nemesis which I overcame during my studies.

Describe your career progression so far, and any plans you have for the future. Are there any particular hurdles you may face?

Soon after graduation, I was offered the position of Clinical Lead Therapist. During the past two years, the counselling department has doubled in size and geographical locations, which led to my promotion as Counselling Manager. I also retain a small private practice and some lecturing work. In the future, I’ll continue supporting placement students, which is hugely rewarding, as well as undertaking research projects.

Which, if any, skills and knowledge/understanding gained on your degree are most useful in your current role?

The completion of my dissertation has supported me with two research projects. One with UON, in collaboration with Service Six and Northampton Rape Crisis, which focused on ACES and supporting families with a new model of supporting children, young people and families who have experienced domestic abuse. I’m currently working with Kidscape UK and Service Six supporting children who have experienced Traumatic Bullying which is with York University. Without my experience form UON, I wouldn’t have had the knowledge to be part of this research project.

Your advice

In one sentence, what advice would you give to undergraduates interested in this career path or anything you wish you had known earlier?

Have confidence in UON and your tutors – this course can provide you with skills, knowledge and experience – working with children and young people is so rewarding.

In ten words, or less how would you summarise your UON experience?

I became the therapist that I could and can be.