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Child Psychotherapy Service
Sometimes emotional problems can get in the way of a child’s development. Children may start having behavioural difficulties at school or at home, or they might get very anxious for no apparent reason, or become sad and depressed. Often these problems are the result of emotional distress that is hard to recognise and talk about. Child psychotherapy is a way to treat that emotional distress by exploring the thoughts and feelings that may lie behind it.
Child psychotherapists observe, reflect, and respond in words and play, according to their understanding of the child’s communications. Thinking and talking with a therapist about their troubled thoughts and feelings can help children to put their experiences into words rather than acting on them. They are helped to make sense of their experience and to develop their potential in relationships and at school.
What does the Child Psychotherapy Service offer?
We are a team of experienced child and adolescent psychotherapists who offer highly specialised therapeutic assessments and treatment for children between 5 and 12 years of age with a wide range of emotional and behavioural difficulties, including children experiencing problems with:
- aggressive behaviour
- psychosomatic symptoms
- problems in relationships with peers
- children struggling to cope with significant life events such as divorce, adoption, bereavement or other potentially traumatic experiences.
What is the first step?
A thorough assessment of the difficulties your child is struggling with and of their potential to make use of therapy is done before any recommendation for psychotherapy is made. Usually we will meet with you first to find out more about your concerns, before setting up 2 or 3 meetings with your child, if appropriate. We often find it useful to also have reports from your child’s school or other professionals involved.
Following a discussion with our team, we will then meet with you to feedback our preliminary understanding and what we think would be most helpful for you and your child. At this stage we will let you know whether ongoing therapy is recommended.
If therapy is recommended, how often do sessions happen and how long does the treatment last?
Treatment can last from a few meetings over a period of weeks to regular weekly sessions over a number of years. In some cases, where problems have built up over a number of years or a child has had some very difficult experiences, we might see a child several times a week as it can take more intensive work to build up the sort of strong trusting relationship that is required to effectively help that child.
Will you help me with parenting my child?
Regular meetings with parents, with or without your child present, are an important part of the work we offer. Our work with parents aims to help you make sense of your child’s behaviour and to think about the impact these problems may be having on the whole family, as well as providing an opportunity to explore different possibilities in parenting.
How much do I pay?
The Child Psychotherapy Service is a full-fee service, but since the Anna Freud Centre is a charity, we are able to offer reduced-fee services for some families that cannot afford full fees.
What should I do next?
Contact Natalie Merrett on 0207 7443 2230 or email@example.com who can tell you more about the service and arrange for one of our child psychotherapists to contact you.
Below are some comments children and parents have made about their experience of child psychotherapy
“Talking to my therapist helps my dreams not be so scary”
"Our son's therapy has changed our relationship with each other - we think more now about ourselves in relation to him."
"This is where I come to play, to learn how to think and to become a good boy."