Children and Adolescent Therapy Services
Every person who comes to psychotherapy is different. While my approach is carefully underpinned by theory, my work is tailored to each person. I do not prejudge, instead thinking about individuals and what would be most helpful for him or her.
That being said, the age groupings below give broad guidelines about my approach to working with people at different ages and stages of development.
Therapy Services for Under 4s
My work with a young child starts with meeting their parents or carers to discuss concerns and think about whether therapy would be helpful. If I don’t think it would be, I would suggest other places to go for support.
When I work with young children, our sessions are play based, rarely relying on talking. I see children in a room which has a good stock of toys, puppets and art and craft materials, all of which he or she is welcome to use. I establish clear boundaries so that children feel safe and secure and am with him or her, playing and helping make sense of the feelings that are expressed through the play.
Throughout the work I am in close and regular contact with parents and carers, perhaps even suggesting combining individual work with the child alongside parent-child therapy or parenting work. (See below).
Therapy Services for 5-11 year olds
Throughout primary school, children face an increasing number of pressures. Parents, carers or teachers may notice a change in the child. Perhaps the child is subdued, having nightmares, not wanting to go to school, and adults around the child are worried about him or her. For some children, having time with a psychotherapist can be extremely supportive.
When I work with primary school aged children, as with younger children, my starting point is to meet with parents and carers. While pre-teens rarely ask for therapy, they will have an increasing understanding of it, and their own opinion about whether it is something that could help. After meeting with parents, before committing to any work, I arrange an initial meeting with the child to talk about the possibility of seeing me regularly, and I listen carefully to the child’s opinion about this.
As with younger children, toys and creative materials are available in the sessions and it is up to the child to decide whether we talk or explore feelings creatively.
Therapy Services for -18 year olds
Adolescence brings with it a host of new challenges on top of those faced by younger children. As young people begin to separate from their parents and carers new, sometimes frightening, feelings may surface.
It may be that teenagers seek help themselves; it may be that parents and teenagers look for help together, or it may be that parents and carers look for help without the teenager’s knowledge. Whatever the reason for contact and regardless of who contacts me I am happy to talk through the situation and think together whether I am able to help, and if not, where would be a better place to go. However, therapy can only help if the young person is genuinely engaged in the process.
When working with teenagers, it may be that talking is the best way of communicating. However, I always have art materials available so that if someone doesn’t want to talk we have another way of communicating.
Therapy Services for 18s
As well as working with children and young people, I am a trained and experienced adult therapist. Adults may come to me with concerns about a young person and on discussion we may decide that it would be helpful for the adult him or herself to have some counselling. Or adults may contact me directly to discuss me providing counselling for them.
As with children, when I work with adults, while often language is the main form of communication, I always have creative materials to support non-verbal communication.
As therapy is confidential, it is not good practice for one therapist to offer individual therapy to more than one member of the same family. If the need arises, I would help identify appropriate therapists for other family members.
Parent-Child Psychotherapy for South Hertfordshire
Rather than working with a young person alone, at times it may be helpful to work with parents and children together. We may feel that the best way to support the child is to look at and support relationships within the family.
Parent-child psychotherapy can be particularly beneficial for children who have had a change of main carer, such as for children who have been adopted. Working with parents and children together to help establish a secure bond (or attachment) between a child and their carers can be invaluable.
Parenting Skills for South Hertfordshire
Sometimes behaviour that at first may seem linked to anxiety or other mental health problems, on discussion appears to be linked to the difficulties that parents have had in establishing rules and boundaries.
As a social worker, I am qualified and experienced in supporting families who are experiencing such difficulties, including:
• Sleep problems
• Fussy eaters
• Toilet training
• Severe tantrums
• General challenging behaviour
I can meet with parents and carers to discuss possible reasons for their child's challenging behaviour, and work with them to think about re-establishing boundaries and control.
Working with Schools in South Hertfordshire
I have extensive experience of working with schools both to discuss individual children who are causing concern, and in planning delivery of programmes promoting good mental health to groups of children, parents and staff.
Please contact me if you would like to discuss this further.
“Thank you so much for all your wonderful work. You truly helped our son through some difficult times and always had his best interests at heart. We appreciate all your support.”
Mother of a 12-year old boy
“I can’t express how much you have helped me and how much more positive I feel on a day to day basis…
You made me feel like I wasn’t alone and gave me to opportunity to confide in someone who wasn’t my parents”
17-year old girl