Frequently Asked Questions

You’re in safe hands

Getting help

Put simply, worry happens in our mind when we focus on negative thoughts, past events or things that could go wrong in the future.  Stress happens in our bodies.  It is our physiological response to a real or imagined situation that our brain has interpreted as threatening.  Anxiety involves worry and stress.  When we are anxious, our mind is caught up in worrying thought processes and our bodies feel stressed.  Many children and young people that we work with prefer to label their experiences as worry and stress, which is why we use those terms more frequently.

It is entirely normal for children to experience worry and stress; for a young child to be afraid of the dark; school age children to worry the night before a test or a teenager to be preoccupied with friendship groups.  For 1 in 8 children, worry can become a more serious habit that causes distress and limits their life.  Your child is not alone. 

Some children are able to tell their grown-ups that they are struggling with worry or stress.  Most of the time, it will be communicated to you through their behaviour, behaviours which may leave you feeling confused, frustrated and uncertain about the underlying cause.  Here are some common behaviours linked with worry, stress and anxiety that may help you determine if your child needs additional support.

  1. Avoidance – your child may be especially shy or clingy.  They may no longer want to be alone, leave the house, see their friends, go to school or engage in hobbies, even if these were things that they previously enjoyed.
  2. Irritability or explosive anger outbursts – your child may have started to engage in explosive tantrums, seemingly out of proportion to the situation.  These are most likely to occur when avoidance is no longer possible and they are forced to confront whatever is concerning them.  You may also notice them becoming more aggressive towards you or their siblings.
  3. Tearfulness – you may notice your child bursting into tears easily, for no apparent reason.  They may seek regular comfort from you and be unable to describe what it is that’s upsetting them.
  4. Feeling unwell – your child may complain of persistent stomach aches or feeling sick even though the GP has assured you there is nothing wrong.
  5. Losing sleep – your child may find it challenging to fall asleep, stay asleep or wake up in the morning.  They may also complain of frequent nightmares. 
  6. Giving up – your child may give up easily on things even though you know that they are capable of achieving them.
  7. Perfectionism – your child may be setting themselves unobtainable standards, which results in them taking a seemingly long time over tasks or getting easily frustrated over the tiniest mistake.
  8. Preoccupied – your child may seem distant and distracted, as if they are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders.  This makes it difficult for them to be present or connected with you. 
  9. Reassurance-seeking – your child may have started to seek more frequent reassurance from you yet may question or reject this when you offer it. 
  10. “What if” – your child may repeatedly question the future and live in constant fear of illness, death, burglary, failure or rejection.
  11. Regression in physical abilities – your child may have started to experience toileting accidents or suddenly require carrying or feeding even though they are physically capable of doing these tasks themselves.

We know that the best possible outcomes are achieved the earlier we intervene with childhood anxiety.  We offer an initial telephone discussion free of charge to establish if you require our services. Get in touch if you’d like to find out more

Choosing the right person to work with you and your child is important, which is why we offer you a free telephone discussion before meeting with you face-to-face.  This conversation will give you an opportunity to ask any questions about the work that we do to support children, young people and their families.  It will also give us a chance to hear more about your intentions for seeking support and the goals that you would hope to achieve following on from any work that we might do together.

Getting the right specialist help for your family is the absolute priority. If we conclude that your child’s needs are outside our area of specialism, then every effort will be made to provide you with recommendations for alternative support.  In some instances, the best service for your family may be a multi-disciplinary team of professionals, in which case it may be suggested that you seek a referral for the local NHS service.

Yes.  We welcome all families including those whose children may have received treatment elsewhere.  We will ask for details of this support in our assessment meeting so that we have a better understanding of what is helpful and what is less helpful for you and your child.  This will ensure that you receive the very best care tailored to your needs.

It is really common to feel anxious and uncertain about engaging in psychological support, particularly if you are troubled by worry and stress.  Our team have years of experience engaging with children and young people and building a trusting relationship with them.  We understand that there are times when a child or young person is not ready to commit to psychological intervention.  We also know that there are times when parents want to have space for themselves.  Whatever the circumstances for meeting with us without your child, we will be able to support you effectively. 

Our first meeting

If we agree that it would help to meet with your child, we would always encourage you to talk to them first about the appointment, in words that they can understand.  Here are some suggestions for how best to do this: –

  • It’s not uncommon for children and young people to be anxious about seeking help, so approach this conversation with ease and enthusiasm at a time when your child is calm and relaxed.  Offer them hope and talk to them positively about how you think we can help your family.
  • Talk to your child honestly about the reasons for the meeting and answer any questions that they have.  Provide your child with your psychologist’s name and offer a brief description about what we do.  For example, with younger children, psychologists are often described as “feelings doctors” who talk to families to help them solve their problems and feel better.  Older children might be reassured to hear that we work with lots of young people for the same reasons and that they can speak with us in confidence. 
  • Mental health difficulties are often associated with feelings of shame or embarrassment.  We understand how important it is to put everyone at ease in our first meeting and avoid anyone feeling singled-out or responsible for the current situation.  You can begin this process by talking about any difficulties your child is experiencing as something that is happening to them rather than something that is part of them.  Listen out for any language or words that your child uses to describe their difficulties and try to adopt this when you talk to them about their problems. 
  • We always enjoy getting to know each family and actively encourage children to come to the meeting with something they’d like to share with us.  You might like to help them pick out their favourite toy, game or book, a photo, a special momento or something they’ve created.  Anything that is important to them and they feel comfortable sharing. 
  • Associate the appointment with something pleasurable.  Think about the timing of the appointment within your child’s day and, if circumstances allow, follow it with some enjoyable time together. This will help create positive associations with your child, enabling them to engage more confidently in our work together. 

We offer online or face-to-face consultations within the comfort of your own home.  Feedback from the children and young people we work with indicates that they feel safest discussing their worries here. 

Our priority in our first meeting together is to put your family at ease and get to know you by gently guiding you through a series of questions about your family’s strengths, your child’s development, behaviour and any strategies you may have tried to resolve the problem. We are very happy for you to ask us questions too. To aid this assessment, we often use engaging, age-appropriate tools or activities as well as questionnaires or charts. As there is often much information to cover in a psychological assessment, this appointment lasts 80 minutes. This ensures that, by the end of the meeting, we will have come to a shared understanding of the problem, identified goals and priorities for how you would like things to be different and considered practical strategies to support you and your child. You may also be provided with information sheets and recommendations for materials, books or resources that may help your family.

This always depends on the unique circumstances of each family.  Sometimes we work exclusively with parents who want to learn how best to support their child.  Other times, it’s helpful to provide a safe, confidential space for children to discuss their experiences, learn about their brain and develop some new skills and techniques. 

If we agree that meeting with your child is helpful, we tend to follow these general guidelines.

  • We only see toddlers and preschool-aged children with a parent or guardian present. 
  • Children in primary school may like the opportunity to talk with us on their own but only if the child and family are comfortable with this.  We understand how important it is for parents to feel part of their child’s support team and, if your child does meet with us on their own, would invite you to join us for the final part of the session.
  • We often encourage young people aged 12 and above to decide if they would be more comfortable meeting with us alone or with their parents.  We continue to appreciate the involvement of parents at this stage of childhood and will do this in a way that permits the young people we see to trust us and feel comfortable engaging with us.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality is very important to us.  Not only is it our legal and professional responsibility to protect the confidentiality of anyone accessing our service, we also understand how important it is to building a trusting relationship with the children, young people and families we support. 

If you decide to work with us, we will provide detailed information about confidentiality in our business terms and privacy policies for your consideration.  We do not release information that you or your child share with us to any other people including GPs or teachers unless this is explicitly agreed with you in advance.   

In exceptional circumstances, we may need to pass information on to other agencies where we are concerned about you or your child’s safety or where there is a legal duty (e.g. a crime has been committed).  Although we do not need your consent to share this information, we will make every effort to discuss this with you first unless doing so would increase any risks to you.    

We aim to keep parents informed and involved in therapy work, even if they are not present in the consultation.  We believe that it is important to share information to help you understand the work we are doing with your child, the progress that they are making and how you can best support this within the home. 

If children spend some time in the session alone with their psychologist, we respect their confidentiality.  We always request their permission to share any specific or detailed information from their time with us, even with parents (except when there are concerns about risk of harm).  A level of confidentiality is required to build a trusting relationship with a child and a safe space to share their worries and concerns. 

Our support packages

You and your family deserve a service that meets your specific needs, goals and resources; not a one size fits all approach.  We will work with you to create a bespoke psychology support package to address the specific strengths and needs of your family and child, from a one-off consultation to a tailored package of appointments, guidelines and resources.   We understand that engaging in psychological intervention is a significant commitment both financially and in terms of time.  After the initial assessment we will provide an estimate of the approximate number of sessions that will be required and all associated costs.  This will be reviewed regularly throughout the course of our work together.  We aim to be open and transparent about our costs and will do everything we can to provide you and your child with the very best care using the resources you have available. 

No.  Rather than labelling children’s experiences as symptoms of a mental illness, Clinical Child Psychologist are curious about why these symptoms occur, wanting to understand feelings, thoughts or behaviours in their context.  Our intention is not to formally diagnose “what’s wrong” with a child but to empower children, young people and their families to make sense of their experiences and learn effective skills to transform their worry. 

We adhere to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommendations and, during an assessment, will be interested in understanding the type of worries that your child is experiencing, as well as severity of these worries and their impact on life.

No.  Clinical Child Psychologists are specifically trained in psychological techniques.  We are skilled in assessing and supporting children and young people experiencing distress using a wide range of highly effective therapeutic models.  Medication support is provided by Child Psychiatrists.  Your GP will be able to provide you with further information about this. 

Yes.  If it is appropriate and advantageous for your child, we are happy to liase with schools and education settings as long as we have your explicit consent to do so.  We value any opportunity to promote the psychological wellbeing of children and young people and positively shape the support that they receive.  We have worked for decades alongside educational teams, offering training, consultancy and supervision and are well placed to advocate for your child’s needs by providing written guidelines or offering training or consultation to staff.

Prices

We have provided a breakdown of all our prices on the relevant services pages to help you understand what our services cost.  Following an assessment, we will be able to confidently recommend a package of care that meets your child’s needs along with an estimation of costs.   

We offer a free telephone discussion to establish how we may be able to help you and your child.  All our other services require payment. 

If you would like to access psychological support free of charge, you can seek a referral to your local Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services (CYPMHS).  Your GP or school nurse will be able to provide you with further information about your child’s suitability for these services and waiting times. 

No. This is not an option at present time.

Contact us to arrange a free, confidential, no obligation telephone discussion with our Clinical Child Psychologists