What is child psychotherapy?

Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy is a psychoanalytic therapy for children, young people, parents and families. Child and Adolescent psychotherapists can help with a range of emotional and behavioural problems that are not easily addressed by other kinds of therapy. Psychoanalytic therapy places a particular importance on the ways in which development in infancy contributes to later development in childhood and adolescence. Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists think about how the child's 'internal' world of thoughts and feelings influences how they experience the world around them.

Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists have an intensive training that enables to listen very carefully to what children and young people are saying about themselves and their concerns. As a part of the therapeutic work together the therapists pay careful attention to what a child or young person might be communicating through their behaviour and play. The therapist also applies this way of thinking about the 'underlying' difficulties of the child to their work with parents and families. Working through a deeper understanding of the difficulties together enables real change and new growth for the child.

What difficulties can child psychotherapy help with?


Child and Adolescent psychotherapists see children with a wide range of difficulties. These difficulties include:

  • low self-esteem and lack of self confidence
  • friendship and relationship problems
  • underachievement at school or college
  • aggressive outbursts or tantrums
  • attachment problems
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • eating difficulties
  • self-harm
  • trauma
  • experiences of abuse


Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists are trained to help children and young people from infancy through to 25 years of age.

how can i access help?


If you are interested interested in the possibility of help please do either telephone or email. If you leave your contact details I will get back to you. You should hear from me usually within a day or two. I will be able to talk with you about whether the concerns that you have would make coming for an initial consultation a good idea.

The initial consultation is usually a meeting that is just between the myself and the parents. In the case of adolescents it could be important for the adolescent to attend the meeting. The initial consultation provides an opportunity for you to discuss the concerns with the me in detail and to consider whether proceeding with further therapeutic help might be the best course of action.

how much does it cost?

I am concerned to take families individual financial circumstances into account in relation to the fees that I charge. I endeavour to offer reduced fees where possible.

My normal fees are as follows: the fee for an initial consultation is £35 and the fee for further meetings/ therapeutic sessions is £55.

Should you are not be in a position to fund help yourself you will find that Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy is available for free through the NHS. It is possible to discuss making a referral to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) with your GP. Unfortunately Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy is a very limited resource within CAMHS and therefore availability is also very limited.


There is no obligation to pursue any further help beyond the initial consultation. I will be able to advise you on whether I think therapeutic help would be a good idea. Further help will only be offered if it is something that the parents, the child or young person wants.

do you offer weekend or evening appointments?

I am able to offer some early evening appointments but I am not in a position to offer appointments on a Saturday.

will you explain what therapy might be best for me?

My concern when meeting with you is to work out what therapy might be most helpful to you. If I think Child Psychotherapy would be most appropriate I would explain why this was so.

If I thought another form of therapy might be more helpful then I would talk with you about this. I would be able to give you details of recommended therapists who can offer alternative help such as:

  • Family Therapy
  • Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy
  • Art Therapy
  • Couple Therapy
  • Adult Psychotherapy

How many sessions will i need?

I would be able to give you an idea of length of time needed after an initial assessment. Sometimes the therapy can be as short as a consultation or two. Other times on-going therapy would be recommended. The period of therapy can be brief, over a matter of months, or, when the difficulties are more long-standing and severe, can last for longer periods of a year or more.

My guiding concern will be to advise on what is really going to help the child or young person overcome the difficulties that are troubling them.

will you write to my GP or employer about me?

I would be happy to be guided by you in relation to who you would like to be kept informed about the therapy for yourself or your child.

In my experience it is important for your GP to be aware of the therapeutic help that is being offered as well as their having updates on how the therapeutic help is going. Sometimes it is also helpful for the school or college to know about the therapy and how things are progressing. Sometimes it might be helpful for employers to know if you need time off work to attend appointments. 

I would discuss all these matters with you.

will my therapy be confidential?

As therapists we are bound by strict Codes of Conduct and Ethics in relation to confidentiality. Under no circumstances will we ever breach your confidentiality without your consent. The only exception to this is if there is a serious issue of risk to yourself or someone else.

how do child and adolescent psychotherapists work?

Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists work in a number of different ways with parents, children and young people. Whatever the problems might be the key to the therapist's approach is taking the time to get to know you and understand your concerns. As therapists we are also trying to understand what the 'underlying' difficulties might be. In getting a deeper picture of things we would be thinking carefully with you about what might best help.

A Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist's way of understanding psychological problems is shaped by psychoanalytic ideas about how children develop emotionally. A key psychoanalytic idea is that emotional development -and the formation of who you are- is shaped by unconscious and conscious mental processes from infancy. The child  develops their own 'internal' world of thoughts and feelings. This 'internal' world is shaped by the child's experiences and, in turn, influences how they experience the world around them.

Emotional problems tend to arise when difficult experiences get stuck with the child's 'internal' world of thoughts and feelings. This troubled coming together of difficult experiences and the child's 'internal' world can present real barriers to the child’s development. Helping with the emotional problems involves bringing the 'internal' thoughts and feelings to light. The thoughts and feelings can then be worked through and the child will then be able to move on with their development.

In parent work, the underlying difficulties can be brought to light by the therapist and parents exploring in detail the problems of concern. Sometimes this process of getting a deeper understanding of the problems, often coupled with some practical suggestions, is enough to enable the child to move on with their development. When individual psychotherapy for the child or adolescent is needed some parent work alongside remains an important part of the therapeutic help.

In individual psychotherapy helping the ‘internal’ thoughts of feelings come to light happens in different ways. In therapy with younger children thoughts and feelings are often communicated through their play. For older children having other ways of communicating what they are feeling, such as through drawings, may remain important. In therapy with adolescents and young people there is more emphasis on finding ways of talking about problems. Whether for a child or an adolescent, the psychotherapy helps by providing an opportunity for them to develop a deeper understanding of their worries that will enable real emotional change and new growth.

Therapy can be brief- involving weekly therapy sessions for a couple of months- or, when problems are long-standing, help over a period of a year or more can be needed. Occasionally when difficulties are both severe and long-standing we would recommend intensive psychotherapy involving more than one therapy session for the child or adolescent each week.

Helping with problems does take time. The therapist would be clear about what they felt was needed from the beginning. Any therapy would follow a pace that was manageable to the child or adolescent.  The objective of the therapy is to help the child or adolescent overcome what is troubling them so that they are freer to fulfil their potential.