History and objectives
Brandon Centre for Counselling and Psychotherapy for Young People is a charitable organisation that has existed for over 40 years. Originally called the London Youth Advisory Centre (LYAC), it was started as a contraceptive service for young women aged 12 to 25 years.
The founder, Dr Faith Spicer, recognised that young women needed to have access to a service that allowed them time to talk through emotional issues that accompanied requests for contraception. Shortly after the founding of the contraceptive service, an information service and a psychotherapy service were initiated for young women and young men due to the scale of the emotional needs of young people in the local community and beyond. These services were made accessible by allowing self-referral and confidentiality, by providing comfortable, welcoming and ‘non-institutional premises’ in the heart of the local community and by receptionists being friendly without being intrusive.
The contraceptive and sexual health service has gained a reputation for working effectively with young women from deprived and disadvantaged backgrounds that put them at risk of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The Centre was one of the first local organisations for young people to pioneer routine screening and treatment for chlamydia. In 2008-2009 the contraceptive and sexual health service helped over 2,000 young people.
The Centre has also acquired a reputation for imaginatively applying psychotherapeutic principles in devising and implementing innovatory services in order to engage and reach out to high priority groups of young people. Many of these services involve making partnerships with mainstream and special schools, youth offending services and advice agencies for young people.
Today the Centre offers an intervention for families of young people in serious trouble with the law and for parents struggling to bring up a teenager whose behaviour is out-of-control. It also provides individual therapeutic help for young people. Combining service delivery with audit and research, including the rigorous evaluation of outcomes, has further enhanced the reputation of the Centre’s psychotherapy service and the contraceptive and sexual health service.
The principal objective of the Brandon Centre is to maintain and develop an accessible and flexible professional service in response to the psychological, medical, sexual and social problems of young people aged 12 to 25 years.
The Centre aims to relieve distress, mobilise personal resources and facilitate growth in adolescents towards responsibility and self-fulfilment. The Centre particularly aims to prevent or alleviate suffering caused by unwanted pregnancy, mental ill health, psychological disturbance and maladaption in adult and future family relationships.
The Brandon Centre’s service extends to a wide range of adolescent problems and is based on a psychoanalytic understanding of adolescent development. There is a particular medical provision for contraceptive, pregnancy and psychosexual difficulties.