Catherine Clouse Counselling Walton-on-Thames, Surrey

Adoption Focused Counselling

I am an approved adoption counsellor, OFSTED registered through Barnardos Link Adoption Support Service. Adults and young people may decide to seek counselling for many adoption-related issues including:
- preparing for adoption
- early placement difficulties
- emotional distress
- ongoing feelings of loss and grief
- low self-esteem
- a sense of isolation and loneliness
- doubts and fears for the future
- identity confusion
- longing to re-establish contact with an adopted or permanently placed family member
- telling subsequent children or partners
- questions around tracing now adult adopted child
- unexpected contact from adult adopted daughter or son
- managing reunion and subsequent relationship with now adult adopted son or daughter
- You may be seeking support if you are a prospective adopter, adopter, have been adopted or are a birth family member and you would like counselling around adoption-related issues.

Who might come for adoption focused therapy?
- Adopted and long term fostered adults
- Adoptive parents, prospective adopters and foster carers
- Adopted or fostered children
- Birth parents and other birth relatives
- What might this cover?
- Work out new strategies
- Develop insight and understanding
- Manage stress
- Learn more about the life long effect of adoption
- Experience peace of mind

The Law in respect of Counselling for Adoption Issues
In December 2010, the law changed so that only counsellors and psychotherapists registered as an adoption support agency with Ofsted are able to offer specialist adoption services. These amendments to the Adoption and Children's Act of 2002 were designed to ensure that the one in four UK individuals affected by adoption in some way are provided with support and services from practitioners who hold the proper qualifications and experience.

A counsellor offering Adoption Focused Counselling should have attended specific training in this field. This applies to ‘any family member’ that is wanting to attend Counselling to discuss Adoption in any way. The status of ‘family member’ is extended beyond the Adoptee and the Adoptive Parents. You could be a Birth Parent who is going through the adoption process whether through choice or not. Others affected may include Siblings, Grandparents, Adoptive Siblings and so the list goes on. You could be wanting to talk about something that is happening in the here and now, the past or even the future with regards to adoption.

The most important thing to note is that your counsellor needs to be able to relate to your situation with an understanding of the adoption process whether that is current or in the past. The issues of loss, rejection and attachment are just some of the things that might be around for you due to what you have been through. The era of the adoption will make a difference to your circumstances and your counsellor needs to have an awareness of this.

Whether you are considering adopting, tracing or reuniting, you are an adoptee or a birth/adoptive family member I am able to offer full support. I am trained and approved by the specialist organisation LINK to offer Adoption Focused Counselling (through Barnardos).  LINK also provide a helpdesk run by professionals for any questions you might have on this subject tel: 01206 562438 Mon – Fri, 10am -1pm.

Depending on your position within the Adoption Process there may be an opportunity for you to apply for funding to aid your adoption focused counselling via the Adoption Support Fund or your Local Authority to assist in the cost of your Counselling.

The government has set a fair access limit for the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) for 2017 – 2018. The fair access limit has been set at £5000.00. Specialist assessments can also be accessed. The limit for these assessments is £2500.00. Local Authorities can provide matched funding in complex cases. Families can request an assessment of their family’s adoption support needs. In the first instance, contact your Local Authority. The initial assessment is made by a social worker who submits an application to Mott MacDonald who administers the fund.


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