The paediatric clinical psychologists are able to help children, young people and their families/carers in several ways.
What is a paediatric clinical psychologist?
Clinical psychologists have special knowledge about child development and learning. They have also studied the types of difficulties that children and families may experience when a member of the family has a health problem. They do assessments and may use a range of ‘talking therapies’ based on research based evidence to offer to children and their families if required.
Where do we work?
• Rose ward
• Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (Amanda Jones Ward)
• High Dependency Units
• Outpatient clinics
• Occasional community (including home) visits.
What do we do?
We help children, young people and their families/carers mostly but not always in times of difficulty. We listen and talk with you and try to find a helpful way forward. We will ask you what you want -which may involve working with a whole family or with a child or parent/carer alone. Our understanding is that most of the people who we are asked to meet are ordinary people experiencing extraordinary stress and/or distress at that time.The aim is to improve the quality of life for the person with a medical condition and their family.
Examples of the help or advice a clinical psychologist can offer?
• Planning for and having medical procedures and treatment (e.g. blood tests or taking medicines)
• Preparing for and coping with change (e.g. an upcoming operation or moving school)
• Behaviour difficulties which may or may not be because of the physical illness (e.g. feeding or toileting)
• Mood problems
• School/learning at school (e.g. ‘bullying’ falling behind with work)
• Answering questions put by the child or others about their medical condition
• Managing challenging treatments or situations so that life can be as ordinary as possible
• The role of parents/carers in a medical setting
• Parents/carers or family worries about the child’s medical condition or treatment.
• The needs of other family members .
Who can refer to the paediatric clinical psychology service?
We accept referrals from anyone (approximately 10% of our referrals are from the patients and/or their parents themselves).Usually a member of the family is a paediatric patient at RBH.
What will happen when you come to see a paediatric clinical psychologist?
We would always seek the permission of the child (if able)and the parent/carer before meeting for the first time.We then like to meet with the child and their parents/carers. It is very helpful to find out about you/your child and their life. Then together we think about your or others’ concerns and what might be helpful. To do this we ask you questions and may keep a record of behaviour or feelings. We may also use some special puzzles games or art work. We then plan the next step. This may involve cognitive-behavioural therapy, counselling, family work, relaxation and/or pain management. We may (with your consent) refer you to a mental health service nearer to your home. If you have any questions about our service, we are happy to answer them.
We have rules about confidentiality.It can be helpful to sometimes share information with your child’s wider care team so we ask you to make it clear if you discuss with us any information you prefer others do not know and we would respect this.If we become worried that a child is at risk, we are legally bound to contact the relevant agencies. An assessment and treatment report may be written and this communication sent to your GP and care team at RBH with your permission. We endeavour to always ask for your comments about these letters before they are sent out.
How to get in touch
You can contact a psychologist directly by calling 0207 351 8251 or sending an email to DeptPaediatricClinicalPsychology@rbht.nhs.uk. You can also speak to a member of staff on the paediatric wards or outpatients departments who will be able to put you in touch with a member of the team.