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(Therapeutic Active Listening Assistant)

TALA offers an emotionally safe and supportive space in which pupils can explore their feelings and experiences. They are heard by the practitioner on a deep level using active listening. Practitioners listen to a child's views, experiences and feelings without judgement in an atmosphere of respect and empathy based on a secure and trusting working relationship. TALA is not appropriate for children who are neurodiverse or have learning difficulties.

TALA runs in 6 week programmes once a week for around 30 minutes. Sessions are confidential, offering the child an opportunity to talk about things that concern them.
The sessions are one to one and are very pupil led involving play based activities where required. TALA offers a child a safe place to talk and it supports them in many other areas:

  • Cope better with issues, concerns and situations
  • Achieve some level of understanding with regard to thoughts, emotions and behaviours
  • Accept their limitations and strengths and to feel okay about them
  • Change behaviours which have negative consequences
  • Look at situations differently
  • Maximise the opportunity to reach their full potential
  • Empowers pupils to find their own resolutions and build resilience for the future.

TALA and ELSA do have differences. ELSA involves the identification of specific emotional literacy targets towards which the child works, guided by the ELSA through a carefully planned programme of support. Whilst ELSA's deliver skills based programmes, TALA's sessions are more pupil led with the TALA practitioner facilitating a ‘helping conversation’ using counselling practices. Again, these are confidential sessions and will only be disclosed if there is a risk to safety. 


Simply put, ELSA teaches skills and TALA offers a time to talk.