Our Model

Parent Session: the first appointment is made with a parent or both parents to get a comprehensive review of the child's presenting issues, academic and social history and provide the parents with a way-forward counselling model. This also allows the parents to look at possibly enrolling in some parenting sessions as well if the situation requires.


Building Rapport Sessions: the first 3 - 5 counselling sessions have many goals, the most important one being allowing a child to feel safe, comfortable and secure when dealing with a counsellor for the first time. These first 3 - 5 sessions also allows the counsellor to build a careful, thorough understanding of any concerns the child feels comfortable to share in the beginning. But most importantly, it allows the most important aspect of counselling to be achieved - a positive, caring, trusting relationship.


Doing the Work Session: at some point in the counselling experience the child beings to feel safe to discuss their thoughts and feelings around what brought them to counselling. Unlike adults where there are more life skills and life experiences to draw from, the child is often times learning new life skills as well as learning about what has been the challenge, the opportunity, the struggle. In short, the counselling process for a child or teen is NEVER a quick fix and can often take weeks, months or even longer to resolve. These sessions have a combination of play, art work, storytelling, learning, walk and talks, emoting and reflecting on behaviors and consequences.


Parent Review Session: after 10 counselling sessions with the counsellor and child or teen, a parent session is then conducted with one of our clinical psychologists to discuss the progress, assessments and a way forward. To ensure that the child or teen maintain that special and private bond with the counsellor that counsellor does not come to the parent review session. All child - teen counsellors are clinically supervised and their cases are reviewed on a regular basis to ensure quality of care and clinical outcomes coordination. At any time if a child or teen is assessed at being at risk for self-harm or harm to others the parent(s) are always notified immediately.


Resume the Work Session: based upon the outcome of the parent review session, the counselling either is completed and/or resumes and the cycle continues as described above. These sessions will resume with a combination of play, art work, storytelling, learning, walk and talks, emoting and reflecting on behaviors and consequences. Frequently this stage of counselling might uncover unknown issues that the school or parents were unaware of as well as making breakthroughs with the known issues.  




Child and Teen Counselling Services


Every generation parents universally comment on the challenges children and teens are faced with. In the 1960's there was a concern among many on how television, rock and roll music, and teen rebelliousness was at the core of parent worry. The 1970's saw concerns grow into teenage pregnancy, drugs, Vietnam war, bullying and children going off to boarding school. The 1980's and 90's saw a growing focus on learning disabilities, school systems falling behind in reaching children who learned differently, and the changing roles of women in the household that impacted childrearing among others. The growing influence of globalization, student loans, both parents working, digital technology, the internet and social media joined the historic concerns of drug abuse, bullying, academic stress, and employment after college since the late 1990's for parents to remain on top of.


We agree that today's world has made some things in life easier (microwave dinners, smart cars, search engines, better medicine) but we also concur that the challenges children and teens face today are a bit of the old, a bit of the new that make growing up successfully (whatever that really means) more than just "getting good grades in school." As so clearly stated by Ellen Galinsky in her book Mind in the Making; "It is clear that there is information children need to learn - facts, figures, concepts, insights, and understandings. But we have neglected something that is equally essential - children need life skills." At St. John's Cathedral Counselling Service we employ Ellen's seven essential life skills for kids and teens to learn to resolve their issues and support their developmental goals as they spend time with us. Those 7 essential life skills are: self-control, having a perspective, communication skills, making connections with others, critical thinking, taking on challenges, and lifelong learning.



Concurrently as Hong Kong's first positive psychology counselling centre, we also employ the empowering principles of positive psychology to help children be "self-sufficient, self-aware, self-assured." Traditional counselling has primarily focused on the psychopathology of a person and their deficits - negative traits whereas positive psychology address both the presenting issues that impact well-being but also we focus on building character and resilience strengths, developing attitude of gratitude mindsets, developing and sustaining good behaviors that build good mood, and accepting life's challenges and engaging with those challenges in an optimistic, realistic and positive way forward.


We have a dedicated team of clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, art therapists, play therapists, therapist and counsellors who provide services in English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, French, Spanish and Hindi. Our counselling sessions are 45 minutes long (children and teen brains get easily tired in counselling!), we have a sliding fee scale for our services and also offer special package deals (minimum of 5 purchased sessions but NO REFUND). Children and teens find our counselling centre cool, comfortable and does not remind them they are in a doctor's office but instead a place where they can learn and grow. We actually try our best to make our visits fun and non-threatening.


The topics we provide counselling on include:


* bullying and social skills

* sexuality, teen dating and online dating

* anxiety, depression, eating disorders, OCD

* ADHD, Asperger's - Autism Spectrum

* substance abuse, internet addiction

* co-parenting, grief, divorce, adjustment

* phobias, social anxiety, selective mutism (MS), separation anxiety

* anger management, self-harming, school performance

* low self-esteem, shyness, mood regulation


We work closely with local and international schools, medical clinics, hospitals and other healthcare providers to ensure a collaborative and continuous quality of care. We stress to schools and parents alike that there is no quick fix when dealing with today's challenges children and teens are facing, the process can sometimes see a child get worse before she gets better, but with our Duty to Care and Risk Assessment models in place, the bumpy roads the children work though increase their resilience, self-confidence and enhance their 7 basic life skills.