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The Little Troopers Therapy Programme is now up and running. Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, this tri-service progamme offers free one-to-one psychotherapy sessions and community therapy groups for forces children. The programme is being delivered by clinicians from The Owl Therapy Centre. We spoke to Nicola Lathey, Clinical Lead at The Owl Therapy Centre, to find out more. 

How is the Owl Centre involved in the Little Troopers Therapy Programme? 

The Owl Centre is delighted to have been selected by Little Troopers to be the delivery partner for the Therapy programme. Together, we have created  three bespoke packages of intervention for military children: 

  1. 100 blocks of 1:1 therapy for military children who are struggling with various aspects of their military life such as moving school and friends, having a parent who is or who is about to be deployed and changes in family dynamics, to name a few.
  2. 50 group sessions for teenagers to explore feelings associated with military life.
  3. An on-demand parent online workshop which focuses on managing stress and anxiety in a military family’s life.
Why do you think it’s important that military children are offered support that specifically explores Armed Forces life, as opposed to generic wellbeing support? 

Military children have to manage the regular stresses and strains of primary and teenage years, which can be significant enough, on top of any challenges or changes that military life throws their way, which can be a whole lot more. They also struggle to access regular support services from school or the NHS because they move around the country so much.

Who is eligible for support? 

Children must have a parent currently serving in the British Armed Forces to be eligible. The issues they are experiencing must be related to forces life as this is what the programme really explores and seeks to address. It’s also important to note that this is an early intervention programme so it is not for children who are in crisis. However, if you are on a CAMHS waiting list and are looking for other avenues of support, this programme may be worth considering. 

What can families expect from a one-to-one session?

The 1:1 sessions are delivered face-to-face and cover a number of different topics.  They are:

  • Exploring feelings and understanding emotional regulation
  • Dealing with uncertainty and change
  • Relationships
  • Therapeutic Life Story work
  • Resilience
The programme is also offering group sessions for military teenagers. How will these sessions be different from the one-to-one sessions? 

The groups centre around exploring feelings about being a teenager and living in a military family.  We have found that many of the teenagers haven’t spoken to anyone about their feelings before, perhaps assuming that they are unique to themselves.  The group platform allows them to open-up and understand that what they are experiencing is shared between them all.  It can bring out real and raw emotions in a safe space, at the same time as having fun with a like-minded group of people!

How many clinicians do you have across the UK? 

The Owl Centre has more than 600 clinicians across the UK covering a range of different disciplines; Speech and language, OT, psycho-therapy, psychiatry, counselling, and more.  They all share the Owl Centre’s values of clinical excellence, high quality services, loyalty and integrity to the families they work with, and warmth in the sessions they deliver.

Are they trained to specifically support military children?

The Owl Centre is lucky – we have a number of clinicians who are either from military families themselves or have experience of working specifically with this client group.  We have allowed these clinicians to guide us in order to create the very best bespoke packages we can devise.

There is also going to be an on-demand video session for parents launching later this year. What will be explored in this session by the therapists and what will parents takeaway from the session? 

In a nut shell, the session will give parents tools to manage emotions and stress in the home environment.  The parents will also receive a toolbox of handouts, ideas, suggestions of things they can do with their families.

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Nicola Lathey

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