Counselling pair reach out to young people

Gayle Hammill, left, and Lois Powell of The Owl Tree in Tring
Gayle Hammill, left, and Lois Powell of The Owl Tree in Tring

Two counsellors have teamed up to launch a service offering tailored support to children and young people.

Gayle Hammill and Lois Powell trained together and worked independently in the same building before deciding to pool their skills to set up The Owl Tree at the Akeman Business Park in Tring.

Mrs Hammill, 40, specialises in working with children aged five to 11, while her business partner helps teenagers, but they offer support to adults, couple and families too.

The mother-of-two, who lives locally, said that they set up The Owl Tree in response to their clients saying they struggled to find support for their children.

Mrs Hammill said: “We help children with a range of issues such as anxiety, depression, self-harm, parental separation, traumatic life events and bereavement.

“Young people have such a difficult time, because they’re trying to work out who they are and they feel like no one understands them.

“That’s when they can begin to think of self-harm and suicidal ideation.

“There is a lot more pressure on them now and the increased use of social media means they communicate a lot more via text and Facebook, Twitter, etc. This means their relationships and friendships aren’t as concrete.”

Mrs Hammill said she and her business partner came up with the name of The Owl Tree because they wanted a ‘warm and welcoming’ logo that was non-clinical, with the tree representing growth and the owl being an icon of wisdom.

The pair say they aim to break down the stigma associated with mental health issues and also hold sessions for professionals such as teachers, doctors and nurses who deal with heavy issues in their day-to-day jobs.

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