University of Edinburgh

The Accidental Counsellor: supporting others in additional support needs work

Date: Tuesday, 22nd January 2019
Venue: Glasgow
Time: 10 am - 4 pm
Fee: £110



Another chance to catch this course which was held in Edinburgh, April 2018.

Staff often find themselves cast in the role of the 'accidental counsellor' to colleagues and parents. This can leave staff feeling unsure how best to respond. Course participants will have opportunities to explore and better understand:

  • issues underlying parent and staff anxieties and challenges;
  • options for helpful responding: theory and practice;
  • how to address the expectations of others.

The course will have a practical focus, including opportunities both to explore typical situations and to practice different approaches. Participants may have had no previous CPD in interpersonal or counselling skills, whilst those who have such experience will have opportunities to share and deepen their skill set.

Part 1: The Roots of Challenge

  • Common emotional responses: Anxiety, shame, anger and fear.
  • Challenging values, attitudes and actions
  • 4 options for responding - and what we know doesn't help
  • Intentions vs Perceptions: The unique nature of experiencing

Part 2: The Core Conditions of a Helping Relationship

  • Principles of a Person-Centred approach: The self-concept and autonomy. Empathy, Unconditional Positive Regard and Congruence: Why they are necessary - and the inevitable tensions.

Part 3: Emotionally literate responding

  • Active listening; clarifying issues; 'doing with' approaches (problem-solving, solution-focused and restorative)

Part 4: Boundaries matter

  • Expectations and role-clarity
  • Individual and organisational responsibilities
  • Revisiting the 4 options for responding

Participants are expected to undertake some brief pre-course reading which will be available in advance of the course.

Target Audience

All those who work with and support the parents and school staff of children with additional support needs including visual impairment and deafness.


Richard Hendry, ASN Consultant Trainer