A Space For Exploration and Understanding
As a psychoanalytic child psychotherapist my training has rigorously prepared me to observe and make sense of how children and young people express their thoughts and feelings in what they do and say. This includes exploring thoughts and feelings the child is aware of and those of which they are less aware or unaware.
Together with the child or young person, I explore patterns and connections between their feelings, thoughts and behaviour and their experiences, gradually working towards a shared understanding of how each child is shaped by what happens to them, and the strengths and vulnerabilities which are part of each child. The worries and difficulties which bring the young person are explored in the sessions, as are hopes and fears for themselves and others, important relationships and the child’s sense of self in the context of these relationships, and others beyond.
Understanding underlying conflicts and anxiety in the child (and sometimes in the family around them) is essential to support each child’s optimum growth and development and their fullest engagement in the wider world.
I help children with a wide range of difficulties which may impact on their development and their personal relationships with family, friends and peers and on school work. These may include sadness, anger, depression, grief, anxiety, behavioural concerns like bullying or being bullied, oppositional and uncontrolled behaviour, withdrawal and isolation, insecurity, issues of sense of self, issues of sexuality and gender identity, self-harm including cutting, eating difficulties/disorders and learning difficulties.
Length and intensity of therapy depends on each child’s needs and will be discussed after initial consultation(s) with parents and (usually three) assessment sessions with the child.
Family context is important and periodic meetings with parents are offered throughout therapy.
The not-for-profit organisation Understanding Childhood offers a series of very useful leaflets addressing important aspects of children’s emotional development and behaviour. There is also some information for children and young people embarking on psychotherapy here on my website.
Consultation to parents and carers
As a child psychotherapist I may meet with parents and carers without the child present. These sessions include exploring the particular meaning of the child for the parent and their ideas and feelings about the child. Parents’ own experiences of growing up tend to substantially shape their perception, understanding and expectations of their children. Parents' current circumstances, including anxiety and conflict, can impact powerfully on parenting and on children. Exploring the links between parents’ and children’s experiences can do much to help parents make sense of their children’s feelings and behaviour.