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Say hello to Norris and Penny, the newest members of our family support team

So let’s introduce them properly.

Norris the Worry Monsters


(short for No Worries)

Job title: Worry Monster

Main responsibility: To eat worries

Key skills: Received an A* in hugs from worry monster school

Enjoys: Telling jokes

Penny the Worry Monster


(short for Penny for Your Thoughts)

Job title: Worry Monster

Main responsibility: To eat worries

Key skills: Excellent cuddle-giver

Enjoys: Singing

Both Norris and Penny* are highly qualified to eat children’s worries. All the child has to do is write what’s worrying them on a piece of paper and feed it to either monster. Sometimes just having the monster eat their worry is enough to make them feel a whole lot better. Sometimes it helps start a conversation with one of our therapists about what’s on their mind.

Worry monsters are brilliant, because when you’re counselling children, you can’t engage with them in the same way you would an adult. You have to find different ways, often through play, to help them express what they’re feeling.

Many of our children – not just those under our clinical care, but their brothers and sisters too – can be dealing with some really difficult thoughts, emotions and fears. Things they don’t want to tell their parents because they feel mum and dad already have too much to worry about. Things that they find it difficult to find the words for. Things that can feel really scary to say out loud.

So we look to make it easier for children to tell us how they feel, to make it easier to find the words. That’s where Norris and Penny come in. And we have other tools too. We might, for instance, play ‘feelings jenga’ with the child. We will write a series of questions on pieces of paper – like ‘My biggest fear is ….? and stick each to a jenga block. When the child pulls a block out, the game is to answer the question they find on that block. But the therapist has to answer the question first. This helps to build trust and helps the child feel that it’s safe to share their feelings.

Because once they do, it can make a huge difference – to how they feel, to how they cope with those feelings, to how they behave. And that can make a big difference to their mum and dad too.

So, good luck Norris and Penny, we wish you all the best in your new roles – now, go get eating those worries!

*Norris and Penny were named by Edna Bruniges in our Facebook competition. We loved the names because they’re cute and have meaning. Brilliant! Thanks Edna.

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