Therapeutic Support and Counselling


Merit is lucky to have commissioned the services of Dr Andy Cornes (FBPsS) a Consultant Counselling Psychologist/Family & Systemic Psychotherapist. He comes into Merit for one day a week.

Andy has provided assessment of students at Merit and also for schools who wish to identify presenting problems. He has also provided treatment for psychological issues and difficulties and has supported parents with family therapy. A knowledgeable and experienced practitioner Andy has already provided training sessions for staff and it is hoped that he will be able to lead training conferences to be held here at Merit and he is available for all schools in Stoke and the surrounding area.


Helen Brunt an experienced and highly qualified counsellor provides counselling at Merit and forms part of the Therapeutic Team. Students are able to see a counsellor on a regular basis and benefit from the expert service she provides. While there is no specified time limit for students to continue seeing a counsellor we find that students self regulate and relationships continue during informal sessions instead of formal appoinments.


Many schools include wellbeing on their curriculum but few take it as seriously as it is taken here at Merit with dedicated lessons and holistic approach.

Curriculum wellbeing

Wellbeing is taught as a separate subject and covers topics which often students have been afraid to face in the past. With the guidance and support of a highly qualified practitioner difficult topics are unpicked and a new view is often adopted. This is linked with ‘why do we think this way?’ and ‘what has made us feel like this?’ Students re-evaluate their values and beliefs and realise that they are stronger and more able than they had previously believed.

Individual wellbeing

Alongside of wellbeing in lessons students have 1:1 sessions which focus on their specific issues however this is addressed in a slightly different way. All students undergo a strengths analysis and their five signature strengths are used as a focus for development. Many of our students often don’t feel that they are strong in any area and the recognition of their ability ensures that they move from strength to strength.