Working therapeutically with children and young people
Our child psychologists and therapists are trained in several models of therapy, so that therapeutic work can be tailored to best meet each individual child’s needs. This is always placed within the context of understanding and working with the family and school systems around the child. Approaches used in our service for children and young people include the following.
Sensorimotor psychotherapy is a body-centred talking therapy developed for working with experiences of attachment and trauma and can be a fun and playful approach for children and young people. It helps the child to understand more about how their brain, body and mind works together, to recognise when their fight-flight-freeze system is being activated and to learn ways of calming and settling these responses. By mindfully bringing movements, gestures and physical responses into therapeutic work, the child can be helped to safely experience regulation from another person (the therapist), to self-regulate, to make new meaning of their difficulties and to learn new ways of relating to themselves and others. Dysregulation and unresolved trauma often underlie many childhood difficulties and when addressed at this implicit level (through the body), difficulties can be prevented from escalating or continuing into adulthood.
EMDR is an approach which also addresses the impact of experience on a deeper level. EMDR can be used with children as young as 2 years old (sometimes even with babies), with the support of their parent or carer as co-therapist. Activities such as stories, play and drawing are incorporated into the EMDR in order to help the child to process difficult or traumatic experiences in a way that feels safe and manageable for them. As with sensorimotor psychotherapy, this approach builds in techniques which help a child to establish a ‘felt sense’ of feeling safe and strong, which they use within sessions and outside of sessions in their everyday lives.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
Cognitive behaviour therapy is adapted for use with children and young people as appropriate to their age. This can be a useful approach to help children understand the connections between their physical feelings, thoughts, emotions and actions. It also enables them to learn how to notice their particular responses in different situations and to learn tools for dealing with each aspect of their response and to be able to recognise and step out of unhelpful cycles.
Assessments From A Systemic Perspective
Assessments and some therapeutic work are carried out from a systemic perspective, which focuses upon the composition of a child’s family and the different relationships and interactions that occur within it. Sometimes a child’s difficulties can be an expression of wider concerns within the family or school system and working with parents or the school directly can be the most effective way of resolving problems or distress.
Psychological Problems We Can Help With
Our experienced therapists offer an individually tailored child and adolescent psychology service to help with a wide range of psychological problems. These include all of the following:
- Bullying and relationship problems
- Exam or performance stress
- Anxiety problems and phobias
- Sleeping problems
- Obsessive problems
- Eating problems
- Childhood trauma and abuse
- Anger management
- Adjustment problems
- Asperger’s Syndrome
- Behavioural problems
- Problems relating to fostering, looked-after children or adoption