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A History of Helping

Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy is a long-established form  of therapy. It is a core element of the therapeutic help offered within Child and Adolescent Mental Health services across the country. Since it's early beginnings in the 1920s an extensive body of clinical research has amassed: pioneering contributions have been made both to the understanding of child development and to how therapy can help children experiencing a wide range of emotional difficulties.


evidence of effectiveness

Research has become of increasing importance in terms of providing evidence for the clinical effectiveness of different forms of therapeutic help. There is substantial evidence for the effectiveness of Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy:

...there is now enough research evidence to claim that psychodynamic therapy is an evidence-based treatment with effect sizes similar to or superior to those reported for other psychotherapies…it is encouraging that the benefits of psychodynamic therapy not only endure after therapy ends, but increase with time.  This suggests that insights gained during psychodynamic therapy may equip patients with psychological skills that grow stronger with use. (Harvard Medical School, 2010)


Several reviews over the past few years have provided useful summaries of research on the effectiveness of child and adolescent psychotherapy. Kennedy (2004) carried out an independent Systematic Review of research into the effectiveness of psychoanalytic psychotherapy for children and young people, while Kennedy and Midgley (2007) conducted a Thematic Review. These have recently been updated by Midgley and Kennedy (2011). The Systematic Review found that child psychotherapy was effective in helping children and young people with:

  • depression
  • anxiety and behaviour disorders
  • personality disorders
  • learning difficulties
  • eating disorders
  • developmental issues