After an initial assessment lasting up to 90 minutes, it is hoped we will have developed a shared understanding of the concerns and difficulties facing the young person referred (a formulation). This will inform a plan of how to proceed. This may require liaison with schools or other professionals involved with your child. You will be consulted before any information is requested or shared with third parties.
Each young person and family are unique and so the therapeutic approaches, advice and support offered will be tailored to best suit your child and family. The therapeutic approaches, advice and support I offer for a number of mental health difficulties associated with childhood, including but not limited to:
- Behavioural problems including issues with anger and aggression
- Low mood
- Low self esteem
- Anxiety/excessive worries and fears
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Oppositional behaviours
- Relationships within the family
Psychologists are trained in a number of different therapies to address mental health problems and take an integrative approach. We ensure that our approach is tailored to the needs of the child or family and sometimes this might mean combining approaches, such as individual therapy for the young person alongside parenting support. We are able to draw on a broad range of theories and models, and may draw upon tools from a range of different approaches, such as cognitive behaviour therapy, parenting interventions, attachment focussed therapies, narrative therapy or Systemic approaches, which may involve the whole family.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
CBT explores how young people think and feel in situations and how these thoughts and feelings affect the way they behave. CBT helps people to challenge thoughts that maybe unhelpful and helps them change the way they behave to improve their wellbeing.
There are an overwhelming number of authors, theories and approaches that are focused on helping parents to raise their children effectively and achieve a degree of harmony in the household. Each family’s situation requires careful assessment to ensure that the right approach is taken.
Attachment focused approaches
The attachment to primary caregivers (often parents and carers) is thought to be one of the most important predictors of future emotional wellbeing. A number of factors can influence the development of a secure attachment, for example parenting style, parental emotional wellbeing or a significant trauma in the family. Attachment difficulties can cause a range of behavioural and emotional difficulties (e.g. the most commonly heard of ‘separation anxiety’). I can work with the parent or carer to consider how to develop attachment security, or sometimes I work with an adolescent considering the impact of early attachment difficulties and support them to develop resilience.
I have 20 years experience working in diagnostic teams in the NHS in Somerset, offering assessments for children and young people with suspected autism. I still offer these assessments as part of an independent autism team which includes a paediatrician and a specialist speech and language therapist. We all have the required qualifications and training to conduct these assessments. We have all worked in autism diagnostic teams for under 18 year olds in the NHS in Somerset. These autism assessments can contribute to an Early Health Care Plan (EHCP).