Posted on: 19 May 2023

Year of the Child x Psychological Professions was hosted at Trust Headquarters, an event where staff met to learn more about psychological professions, and their work with young people across community, acute hospitals, mental health and educational settings.

We were joined by school nursing, health visiting, Looked After Children, eating disorders, youth offending and CAMHS staff. 

Sarah Hulme, Community Services Director opened the event: “There is so much innovative work happening and we want to showcase this as part of Year of the Child – especially in areas that people may be unfamiliar with. Learning and development for our staff is a key goal too. Not only between teams but to share this information with our staff who are parents themselves.”

We were also joined by Chief Psychologist, Dr Christopher Whiteley, and Director of Therapies, Dr Ryan Kemp.

Dr Daniel Wood, Head of CNWL’s Paediatric Psychology Service (who has been with us for 22 years) introduced the team and the links with seven acute hospitals in North West and North Central London.

Paediatric Psychology work closely with other services to make sure families are getting the right kind of support, including bereavement teams, CAMHS, long-term conditions such as diabetes and oncology but they also see young people who come to an outpatient clinic due to illness or surgery.

“More recently, a big focus has been Long-Covid and the impacts on families,” he said.

Dr Caitlin Neill and Dr Libby Ilett, Clinical Psychologists from Chelsea and Westminster Hospital took a deeper look at psychological interventions and their developmental work with families for persistent and chronic pain.

“It’s surprisingly common. It’s estimated that between 11-38% of children and young people report pain, and it’s more likely in adolescents. It may be unclear what has triggered the pain and why it is continuing, but it can cause high distress and significant impacts on life; social isolation, school absence, increased risk of depression and anxiety. These symptoms can also persist into adulthood. We work with families to explore ways in which the child might live their life to the fullest, despite the presence of pain.”

Dr Julie Sandell, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, spoke about understanding feeding difficulties and the ‘Raising Happy Eaters’ groups at the Cheyne Child Development Psychology Service, a collaboration between clinical psychology and occupational therapy.

Jane Lethem, Head of Clinical Psychology at CAMHS discussed waiting times: “The neuro-developmental team has Saturday clinics to enable working parents to attend more easily – these are popular and improve attendance.”

Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Lead for CYP, Dr Sara Northey and colleagues at the Grenfell Health and Wellbeing Service spoke about the steps they have taken to involve young people in shaping the service, including ‘Team of Life’ a narrative group approach for children aged 8 to 17 which uses sporting metaphors as a way of building strength and resilience within a group environment.

We finished off with a presentation from Becky Harris, Systemic Psychotherapist and Alison Smith, Family Psychotherapist from the National Centre for Gaming Disorders. The centre opened in 2019, receiving 810 referrals since their inception, 380 from gamers and 430 from family members.

“We aim for a ‘win/win’ outcome over a ‘I win/you lose’ outcome,” said Alison.

Thank you to our presenters and the Workforce Development of Psychological Professions for putting on this event. 

Further information