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By Hilary H^'f

Member of the Council of the is

nearly ITYoung People's was




four years since the Consultation Centre

Burgh House, Hamp-

stead. The Youth Studies and Research Foundation who started this project were anxious to provide a place not attached to any other agency, easy of access (but at the same time fairly unobtrusive), where young people could come and talk about their problems with highly trained and experienced staff. It was decided to select the staff from people whose training had been based on psycho-analytical principles, but it was also recognised that while most problems would be of a psychological nature, legal queries would arise, as well as practical demands for information about further education classes, youth clubs and even hostel addresses. At the beginning, four consultants were appointed (two men and two women) who were all psychotherapists. There are now six. Most of them are also working with children or adolescents during the day. Each, with the exception of the Director, works two and a half sessions at the Centre. Two sessions are used for seeing clients, and the extra half session for staff discussion and recording. The procedure at the Centre is very simple. There is no form-filling; only the name and address are given to the secretary downstairs, or a code number may even be used?but this is not often asked for. They may then choose whether they wish to see a man or a woman. It is a principle of the Centre that there should not be a long waiting list, and of course during the first year, people could just walk in. Nowadays, people who ring up can usually make an appointment within a week, but if anyone does walk in they are usually asked to wait, and if necessary someone will stay on and see them after 10.0 p.m. It has been found, generally, that the problems of the young are so


urgent that if, because we happe" Ue be particularly pressed, we havf th make an appointment too far abe' th the appointment may fail to be ^ h so we try whenever possible to; n

people within the week. The intervi? usually last about 45-50 minutes,11


pressed by the previously mentis lack of form-filling and by this 1^; use of time for them. They find it P to believe that busy adults can r^ spare 50 minutes to discuss their Pf. lem. They also find very re-ass# the extreme confidentiality of the For example, we would never get



find that the young






parent Without



contact them at home or at out their permission.





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About 450 young people have 11 seen at the Centre since it opened. first six months was extremely and Officers and Staff waited patiefl determined not to be hurried into a'1 ing the image they wanted the Ce" to have. At first, most of the chet were referred by social workers various fields, school teachers, doc' and Citizens' Advice Bureaux, ei Now, a good many are either referrals or sent by another clie They come from every part of from the Home Counties, and sprinkling from farther afield. find a solution in one or two visits; majority come between three and times, and a certain number comeJl still further sessions. It is important to make clear no treatment is done at the Ce*1 The consultants use their skill to asS t the problem rather than to treat; determine whether it should be with as presented, or whether are underlying problems which long-term help. In these latter c3s j they are referred elsewhere for tre t ment. Before this happens, the cas? always discussed with the Psychi^








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Centre. A General Prac-? UUoiSer ner is also available clients to see

course, is particu&sary-? ?s>of.have y Useful if adolescents




t^ie'r emotional difficulfrom a physical cause, which are certain has been neglected by thpi ?Wn ^ *s interest to note hovv People, particularly those not ln8 at home, are not registered vviti,



,-maQy '5 a doctor.


y?un? people who visit the

from every kind of backran?e in intelligence Obv1 rnanual workers to graduates. ^ more difficult for the Word ,to Put their problems into even s0> there have been a few L 0 ^ave been helped. The Centre is on but thn to ,any?ne from 14-25 years, majority fall between the ages of and 19, The problems vary trefilers anc* very ?ften ^e initial *s a superficial or minor one, Which 0stensibly justifies the young Seeking help. It is then for the t0 decide whether to deal With

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Young People's Consultation Centre.

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