Counselling Service

Working in partnership with NHS Blackburn with Darwen and NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups

What does the service provide?

Pre or post diagnosis counselling & support for children who are on the waiting list for assessment for or recently diagnosed with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in East Lancashire or Blackburn with Darwen.

Counselling gives children and young people a confidential and regular space to talk about what autism is and what it means to them, the worries or problems they are experiencing pre and post diagnosis.

Being free to talk things through in a confidential setting, with regular appointments over a period of time can often help young people gain new and different perspectives. This can lead to changes in how they feel about themselves, their diagnosis, their relationships with others, their emotional regulation and help them to develop self esteem, resilience and confidence.

Counselling & Autism

Counselling can help you with things like understanding autism/ASD, self esteem, coping strategies, relaxation techniques and relationship/friendship issues.

Action for ASD Counsellors are trained to listen and understand young people; to see things from their perspective. Counsellors do not give advice or tell children & young people what to do - instead they help children & young people to make their own choices to facilitate their diagnosis, personal growth, self-awareness.

About the counsellors

What qualifications, experience and supervision does the counsellor have?

All Counsellors hold a recognised, formal qualification in Counselling, such as a Diploma or a Degree, plus a range of appropriate experience and training to work with autistic children & young people. Action for ASD counsellors are also members of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) they will engage in regular training and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and work with BACP’s Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling & Psychotherapy. In addition, counsellors receive regular, ongoing clinical supervision.


Who can come to counselling?

Action for ASD Counselling Service is open to children & young people in East Lancashire & BwD, who have received a diagnosis of Autism.

  • Counselling for secondary school children & young people aged 12-16 years.

  • One to one support is available for primary aged children aged 4-11 years.

What kind of things might a young person talk to a counsellor about?

The children and young people can talk about their diagnosis of autism and the impact on their daily lives, understanding emotions including anger.

How many sessions are offered?

We offer up to six counselling sessions to young people from age 11 years, and creative play to children aged 5-11. The session will be reviewed and extended if this would be beneficial to the child or young person.

When and where do appointments take place?

Appointments take place weekly or fortnightly in or out of school in a private, confidential room. It is helpful for sessions to take place in the same room each week to promote feelings of trust, safety and confidentiality. Please note, counselling will take place over phone or a virtual platform.

Can appointments be made outside of school hours and holidays?

Yes. Appointments can be made during school holidays at venues in East Lancashire & BwD. Please note our counselling is currently held via phone or virtual platform due to Covid-19.

What if a child/young person misses an appointment or is not in school?

If a child/young person misses an appointment, they will be offered another appointment. If two consecutive appointments are missed and the counsellor does not hear from the child/young person or parent carer it will be assumed that the young person no longer wishes to come to counselling.

What if a child/young person wants to stop coming to counselling?

Children and young people are free to end counselling at any time. During the first session they are advised of this and are asked to let the counsellor, parents & carers know if this is the case.

How to access counselling & support

At Action for ASD we accept counselling referrals for children & young people who are struggling to understand their diagnosis or would like to explore their feelings around diagnosis.

Please contact our children’s service via email or call 07809 903852 to request a counselling referral form