As parents, our greatest hope for our children is that they have a wonderful and carefree childhood, where they learn the life skills necessary to flourish as adults in the world. However, just like adults, children can experience challenges and roadblocks in their lives for which professional support can help. Whether struggling with behavioural or emotional difficulties, or adjusting to a major life event, these challenges can cause great distress. This can significantly interfere with both academic and social functioning and also day-to-day family life.
My approach is flexible and I always adapt to the needs of the child or family using evidence based therapies:
Assessment and Psychological Therapy
I provide detailed assessments and individually tailored therapeutic interventions for children, adolescents and families with a wide range of presenting difficulties:
Anxiety / Phobias / Panic
Low mood and depression
Obsessional problems (including OCD)
(for instance following parental relationship breakdown)
Social difficulties / Bullying
SUPPORT FOR Parents and Families
Parenting support and advice (Find out about parent consultations here).
Supporting your child to recover from emotional/psychological difficulties.
Improving understanding, communication and relationships within your family.
My normal course of action is to provide an initial consultation during which we can talk together about the issues that are causing difficulty and decide how to proceed. Children, young people and parents may come together to this initial appointment or on their own depending on their age and developmental stage. Ongoing appointments may be weekly, fortnightly, or less often. Appointments are generally 50 minutes, although sometimes 25 minutes works better for the child.
Frequency of appointments and other aspects of the treatment would be discussed together at an initial consultation appointment. I am happy to liaise with a child or young person’s school with regards to their difficulties and management.
Being a teenager in today’s society is difficult. As well as worrying about body image, exam results and dealing with peer pressure, teenagers now have the additional worry of how they are perceived online. A constant stream of images of perfect lives and perfect bodies on social media can lead to feelings of insecurity and inferiority.
Teenagers may turn to unhelpful coping strategies to deal with these pressures such as using alcohol, drugs or self-harming. An initial assessment followed with evidence based treatments can help to support teens going through difficult times.
My training allows me to draw on a number of models of treatment, including Cognitive Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal therapy and mindfulness to provide an integrative approach that is tailored to the client’s needs:
Cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT) helps improve a child or adolescent’s moods, anxiety and behaviour by examining confused or distorted patterns of thinking. CBT therapists teach children that thoughts cause feelings and moods which can influence behaviour.
During CBT, a child or adolescent learns to identify harmful thought patterns. The therapist then helps them to question this thinking with thoughts that result in more appropriate feelings and behaviours.
Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT-A)
Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT-A) is a treatment for adolescents with depression, which looks at the relationships around the young person.
IPT-A helps the adolescent to make sense of the difficulties they are experiencing and to understand how their relationships with other people contribute to how they feel.
MINDFULNESS BASED THERAPIES
Mindfulness is a useful starting point for managing stress and anxiety. Mindfulness is simply noticing what is happening right now. When you notice what is happening around you, it can help you to calm down when you’re sad, angry or frustrated.
I have put together a short guide to help children and young people make the most of this simple technique:
HOW TO EXPLAIN MINDFULNESS TO YOUNG CHILDREN
“Mindfulness is taking notice of how your body feels and what you see, smell and taste. Maybe you even feel emotions in your body, perhaps through a tightness somewhere, or a good sensation.
Mindfulness is also noticing what your mind is doing. What happens when you start noticing these experiences? When you notice what is happening around you, you focus more deeply, and that attention to your own senses will help you improve in diverse areas of your life.
Improved focus can help you achieve at higher levels in sports, school or music. It will help you score higher on tests, too.
We always do better when we’re able to pay attention to what we’re doing, right?
Another thing –
Mindfulness helps you to cope with tough emotions and mindfulness can make you feel more relaxed”.
HOW TO EXPLAIN MINDFULNESS TO Teens
When talking with adolescents, you could simply expand on the previous explanation and say that mindfulness is a basic life skill that can benefit us all in many ways.
A popular way to put it is to say:
“Mindfulness is about paying attention in a particular way – on purpose, in the present moment and without judgment.
The non-judgment part means that we simply have an experience without contemplating if the experience is good or bad.
By doing this, we develop more self-awareness, emotional balance, and impulse control. It’s about recognising our inner and outer experiences and understanding how they affect our well being”.