Dr. Dhillon-Stevens

Child Psychologist
Why offer therapeutic services for children, young people and families?

I aim to help children, young people and families with their worries and difficulties that may be getting in the way of your child’s life or family life.

Every child has worries and problems as they grow up but sometimes these get more frequent and interrupt your child’s development. Each individual reacts to worries and difficulties in their own unique and intensely personal way. Children can experience all sorts of pressures and difficulties. Some problems can have a serious and significant effect on a child’s future.

Worries and difficulties come out in a variety of ways. These are called symptoms and children may have a mixture of symptoms, which are often experienced in non-verbal ways. Some of these worries may include any of the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Nightmares
  • Fear of separation
  • Bereavement
  • Self-harm
  • Withdrawal and isolation
  • Sadness, depression and suicidal ideas
  • Confusion and decreased concentration
  • Trauma
  • Relationship / Family / Sibling difficulties
  • Eating difficulties
  • Bed wetting
  • Anger / aggression / violence
  • Difficulties at school
  • Issues to do with death and dying
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional issues
  • Identity development in terms of ‘race’, sexual orientation, disability
  • Bullying & Cyber Bullying
  • Attention Deficit Hyper -activity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Understanding & supporting children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and complex needs
  • Parental separation / divorce

How can therapy help?

If the problems have been ongoing for a long time and family and friends feel they can’t manage or don’t know what else to do – then it is time to think about seeking professional help.

There are a variety of professional services for children and young people. However, if a child is under 18 it is usual for the parents / carers to be contacted should further help be required.

An Initial Meeting:

Upon receiving a referral the referrer will be contacted and an initial appointment is made with the parents / carers. Following this the assessment process takes place. This consists of three consecutive sessions, which help to identify the issues, for the child to engage and understand the process and to ascertain if this is the most appropriate therapeutic approach for the child concerned and the presenting problem (s). The length of the sessions depends on the child's age, concentration and capacity to use the therapy session. The maximum time for any session will be 50 minutes.
A follow up meeting then takes place between child / parents / carers and therapist to discuss the assessment. The child is present for the first half of the meeting and then some time is spent with the parents / carers and the therapist. This process may differ as some children do not want to be present but the aim is to encourage the child to share their experiences in the assessment, build a more open relationship between all parties and consider a way forward.

The therapist may need to inform the child’s GP that they are seeking therapy but this will be discussed with all parties concerned before any contact is made.

What is Child Art Psychotherapy?

Sometimes children find it difficult or loose their ability to express themselves verbally. Child Art Psychotherapy helps children to communicate their worries and problems through the use of art and images. A child’s artwork often tells a detailed story about his or her mental and emotional state. The image provides a platform through which the child is helped to verbalise and communicate their emotions. The therapist does not interpret the art work but facilitates the child in a client centered way to make sense and meaning for themselves of their work and how this links to their current difficulties. The therapist provides a safe environment in which the child can safely explore their problems.

What is Parent -Infant Psychotherapy?

Becoming a parent can be a rewarding as well as stressful time, adjusting to parenthood can be difficult especially if there is no help, support or guidance. At times, as a parent, you may feel worried and distressed, struggling to understand what your baby is trying to let you know and may well re-experience what it is like to be helpless, needy, frustrated, even abandoned and worn out. At worst such troubling feelings may well leave you, as a parent, believing that ‘ you are not a good mother or father’, which may add to your distress and anxiety. At such times discussing and talking with psychotherapy professionals, family members or friends can be both helpful and supportive.

Some of the issues which parents bring often include:

Persistent feelings of stress and anxiety following a traumatic birth
Feelings of low mood, anxiety or difficulties in adjusting to parenthood following the birth of baby
Previous experience of multiple miscarriages or still birth.
Difficulties in bonding or forming a relationship with the baby
suffering from antenatal or postnatal depression
Experiencing sleep problems and exhaustion
Anxiety and concern as a parent about your baby’s feeding, sleeping or excessive crying.
A baby who is too difficult to comfort
Experiencing difficulties around separation and reunion

What parent infant therapy can offer

The approach I offer in parent-infant therapy is to create a space where:
We can talk and think about both you as well as your baby’s needs, in a way that may help you both understand and tune-in to the varied ways your baby communicates as well as your own responses to them.
We can help parenthood become an easier and more enjoyable experience and one in which both you and your baby thrives.

What happens in a consultation?

In general the work is brief. It is brief because the infant parent relationship is so new and thus difficulties are thought to be short-lived and more easily rectified once understood.
I would normally see you and your baby together for an initial consultation to learn about the family’s needs and decide with you as parents what would be the best way forward.

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