Drive Forward Counselling

What is counselling at DFF?

Everyone at Drive Forward understands the importance of supporting your emotional well-being and that there may be times when you might want to speak privately with a trained counsellor. We can help with this and offer opportunities for free therapy appointments with Richard, an experienced BACP registered Counsellor. The service is available to anyone living in London, care experienced and between the ages of 18 -26. For those under 18, you can access support via your Careers Specialist or Programme Manager.

Richard's sessions were extremely beneficial to me. I have had various counselling and therapeutic intervention in the past but never felt that they were truly effective in helping me to address my childhood trauma. Richard services are extremely unique and specific to supporting care leavers... These sessions were life changing for me and the availability of his free counselling sessions are so imperative for the wellbeing of care leavers.
Care Leaver

Why come to counselling ?

One reason why we often hold onto difficult thoughts and feelings is that we feel others won’t understand or accept us, or that it may even drive people away. Having to hold onto all this can start to feel like a burden that we have to carry on our own. Therapy can help with this, as we often experience a sense of relief when we talk to someone we trust, as it makes us feel less isolated and more connected when we share. We also find that therapy can help us recognise our habits, both in how we think and behave, which makes them more predictable. When they are predictable, we can do something about them. Counselling could be seen as useful for people in transition, for those wanting to get somewhere new – to move forward in life.  The goal is self-knowledge. Ultimately we aim to get a better understanding and acceptance of ourselves.

The Counsellor's Role

The counsellor’s role is to create a safe space in which you can examine your thoughts, feelings and actions and eventually arrive at solutions that are best for you. The sessions are there to help you recognise your own unique strengths, to discover what is preventing you from making the changes you want, and to clarify what kind of life you want to live. The counsellor is not there to convince you of what you should or should not do. Together you and the counsellor will develop new ways of thinking and behaving that allow you move closer to your goals.

When I began my sessions with Richard I was weighed down with tremendous amounts of anxiety and depression which inhibited my ability to function in any professional capacity. I was initially apprehensive of how effective this programme would be for me because I've had many negative experiences with therapy and counselling growing up within the care system. Richard provided a safe space for me, devoid of judgement; in which I could truly open up in, and resolve a lot of my internal conflicts. During these sessions he guided and supported me towards finding a sense of self-worth, which my upbringing did not provide. He has helped me towards constructing a new sense of identity and self-confidence.
Care Leaver

About our counsellor Richard Barnardo

Having been adopted into the family that founded the famous children’s charity, Barnardo’s, I learnt the importance of caring and supportive relationships. This has shaped who I am and how I practice.

My professional experiences in social care taught me that public services often fail people. They can struggle to offer the time and care you need to be heard and understood. I chose to specialise in Counselling to change this.

I believe that everyone deserves someone in their corner — willing to learn what support you value and need most. I want this for all of my clients, regardless of background, age or income.

Richard Barnardo

How to access the service

Your Careers Specialist informs Richard know you are interested; he will call you to arrange a meeting. Richard Barnardo can offer you up to 12 sessions of support, but after this you can arrange to continue the sessions with the Counselling service, however this will be at a slight cost to you. Please discuss this with Richard when you meet with him.
My journey with managing my mental health and emotions have never been easy. Despite years of therapy from multiple providers and constantly reliving old wounds, I have never felt so comfortable feeling vulnerable until I met Richard. Richard has helped me overcome demons I have not been able to confront myself. Every session I’ve had with Richard, he has made feel safe and supported me throughout my darkest times... Without Richard’s support and dedication in building effective rapport, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Managing my mental health will always be a challenge but after my sessions- I know nothing is impossible. 
Care Leaver
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