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Rotherham MAST offer therapeutic interventions based on core conditions of unconditional positive regard, empathy and congruence.  We believe that trusting relationships built on a compassionate and caring approach which are client led are crucial to facilitating change. 

Our Schools Mental Health Specialists are trained Counsellors and adhere to BACP ethical guidelines, including engagement in monthly supervision.  They work onsite in school settings, arranging sessions flexibly to fit with the individual school day, to provide:

  • One-to-one therapeutic sessions drawing upon integrative counselling and trauma informed practices. These include the use of creative mediums to engage children and young people in a self-directed process which addresses mental health concerns of a moderate nature and medium level duration.
  • Group based interventions to raise awareness of mental health, promote self-esteem and address anxiety
  • Staff support and consultation to complement a graduated response to children and young people with SEMH and/or attachment needs



Rotherham MAST offer counselling to staff members which is based on the core conditions of person centred counselling but draws integratively on other therapy models based on client presentation. Schools Mental Health Specialists are trained Counsellors and adhere to BACP ethical guidelines, including engagement in monthly supervision.

Counselling sessions are based in the Rotherham MAST offices sited at Maltby Academy.


Clinical supervision is important for all practitioners and professionals who are working one-to-one with children, young people or adults and/or have direct responsibility for the welfare of staff within an organisation.  As awareness increases about the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACE’s), including the potentially lifelong impact, it is more important than ever that staff who engage with children who have experienced trauma, are protected themselves from the experience of vicarious trauma.

Supervision offers a safe, non-judgemental and reflective space within which professionals can give an account of their work, develop their skills and practice, safeguard good standards of work-related activity and have their own emotions recognised.  Clinical supervision also links to good governance; it reflects organisational culture and ethos, promotes emotional wellbeing, reduces workplace stress and is conducive to staff retention. 

  • Supervision is not counselling – it is different to personal therapy and not about resolving personal issues
  • Supervision is not line management – it is not performance management and not concerned with expectations in terms of daily workload or the setting and achievement of KPI’s

Proctor’s 3 Function Interactive Model provides a framework for supervision which takes account of organisational needs, ‘client’ needs and supervisee needs:

  • Formative (Learning): Developing skills and abilities
  • Restorative (Support): Emotional coping skills in response to stresses of job (not counselling!)
  • Normative (Accountability): Maintaining safety and effectiveness of work

Style of supervision may differ according to the individual; a facilitative style which is question based, encourages reflection (Lewis-Kolb reflection cycle), and incorporates a solution focussed approach may predominate but variously, a prescriptive, confrontative or descriptive approach may be employed within the safety of the supervision session in order to present necessary challenge and optimise self-awareness. Irrespective of style, supervision aims to increase levels of motivation, autonomy and self-other awareness (Stoltenberg and Delworth) as well as emotional resilience and positive wellbeing.


The Mental Health of Children and Young People in England follow up survey in 2020 suggested that 1 in 6 children, aged 5 to 16 years, have a probable mental disorder.  Associations were drawn with experience of household discord, socio-economic factors and sleep difficulties which correlate with research undertaken into the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACE’s).  A child with an experience of 4 ACE’s or more is exponentially more likely to present with challenging behaviour, learning difficulties and problematic attendance.  If unaddressed in childhood, ACE’s impact all factors of wellbeing in adulthood including mental health and physical health problems such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes, as well as increasing the likelihood of being drawn into unhealthy relationships as adults.  It is known that 50% of those with lifelong mental health difficulties first experience symptoms by the age of 14 and 75% by age of 18.

Rotherham MAST are committed to working with schools to offer quality training and workforce development which complements and promotes a whole school approach to mental health and emotional wellbeing, and which incorporates attachment aware and trauma informed practices.   In normal circumstances, the service is able to offer full day training events which combine theory with practical strategies.  During the Covid-19 pandemic, the service is offering a suite of online, short courses to serve as an introduction to the following topics. 


Mental Health Awareness

This session explores the prevailing factors affecting mental health in children and young people, considers indicators of mental distress and the presentation of mental illness.  Participants will be invited to reflect on the relationship between mental health, self-esteem and resilience, and explore interpersonal dynamics based on a transactional analysis approach.

Trauma Informed Practice

This session explores the relationship between adverse childhood experiences, attachment styles and trauma.  It takes a neurobiological perspective to examine the impact of early nurture on the brain.  Participants are encouraged to consider how a relational approach can work alongside practical interventions to effect change.

Supporting SEMH needs

This session considers the shift away from a behaviour, emotional and social difficulty (BESD) framework to the Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs of students as a category within the SEND Code of Practice.  It will explore the delineation between challenging behaviour and SEMH needs, how these needs may present and strategies to use in the classroom setting including restorative practice.

Gender and Sexuality

This session explores specific protected characteristics within the Equality Act which may be applicable in a learning environment including biological sex, sexuality and transgender. The session aims to foster an understanding of what adaptations may need to be considered in line with these protected characteristics, and to facilitate confidence in furthering empathetic, inclusive practice. 

Staff Wellbeing and Mindfulness

This session focuses on managing time effectively both at home and at work, and maintaining a healthy approach to work-life balance through mindfulness and relaxation strategies. These strategies can also be adapted for use in the classroom setting. 


Understanding Anger and Anxiety

This session compares and contrasts the aetiology of anger and anxiety and explores healthy and unhealthy states of being.  It considers how these states correlate with feelings of shame, and strategies which can be used to promote emotional regulation.

Self-Harm Awareness

This session engages participants in a reflective manner to consider why some children and young people self-harm. It aims to compare and contrast self-harm with suicidal behaviour, explore myths associated with self-injury, dispel prejudices and provide safe working practices.

Bereavement and Loss

This session explores bereavement within the context of wider losses and examines feelings of grief.  It aims to provide an understanding of the impact of multiple losses, not exclusive to bereavement, and how children can be supported to manage difficult feelings.

An Introduction to Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

This session aims to raise awareness of what FASD are and FAS in particular and to examine the effects of drinking alcohol in pregnancy, and whether there is a ‘safe’ limit. It will explore the presentation of children with  FASD in school and classroom management strategies as well considering the lifelong implications for individuals with FASD.


Solution Focused Networks

This session supports key professionals in schools to develop supportive networks which draw upon knowledge of mental health needs to engage with effective solution seeking.  It will compare and contrast the Solution Circles Model, the 5 P’s of Formulation and the ABCDE Cognitive Behavior Therapy tool with the aim of providing a model within which innovative and creative solutions are identified to support children with SEMH needs.

Research Evidence Based Workshop: Impact of Mental Health Difficulties on Learning Behaviours

This session aims to explore the ramifications of research studies into the impact of adverse childhood experiences and findings from children’s mental health surveys undertaken in 2004, 2017 and 2020. It aims to provide a reflective space within which Leaders can consider the demographic of their local community and strategies to enrich the Behaviour for Learning Policy.


Rotherham MAST recognises the anxieties and distress felt by parents and carers when their child is experiencing problematic mental health and work closely with staff in schools and other agencies to provide a joined up approach.  While the service does not currently provide direct interventions for parents, the team are happy to provide one-off telephone advice sessions.  These are arranged through pastoral and safeguarding staff in schools.