Paediatric clinical psychology
Our team of clinical psychologists provides psychological support for behavioural or emotional issues directly associated with a child/young person’s medical condition or physical health difficulties.
We create treatment plans to fit the needs of each individual family. Treatment can include a mix of approaches, for example:
- psychological therapies including acceptance and commitment therapy, motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and solution focused therapy
- creative techniques including toys and art materials to help children express and explore feelings
- working with medical colleagues to help with good communication and linking in with other contacts such as your child’s school
- carrying out a neuropsychological assessment to help us see how your child’s condition may be affecting their thinking skills, learning, behaviour and/or emotional wellbeing
Clinical psychologists are a regular part of the hospital team. We do not provide medicines or do any of the medical tests your child/young person may be used to in hospital. We use talking therapies and creative ideas to help your child.
There are many reasons why families see clinical psychologists:
- dealing with treatment and procedures
- getting used to a medical diagnosis and the experience of feeling ‘different’
- helping manage physical symptoms and pain
- managing the emotional feelings caused by a condition and/or treatment
- dealing with uncertainty and bad news
- dealing with illness and everyday life, including school
- support after a trauma
- relationships with family, friends and healthcare professionals
- helping identify any difficulties with learning, memory, attention or organisation that some children can experience as a result of their medical condition or treatment
The first appointment may last an hour or more and we usually meet with the child/young person and their parent/guardian.
The child/young person will also have the opportunity to speak to the clinical psychologist alone if they wish to.
At the first appointment, we like to hear about the child/young person’s hobbies, interests, friends and family, as well as the background of their medical condition.
If we decide together with you that it would be helpful to return for further appointments, we will arrange this at the first appointment.
Follow-up appointments will help us:
- get to know you better
- understand what may be causing the difficulties
- make a plan to support you
Follow up appointments usually last less than an hour.
If you and your child/young person would like to speak to one of our clinical psychologists, please ask your medical consultant or a member of your medical team.
When we receive their referral, we will write to you to gather more information.
Outpatient appointments usually take place in the Clinical Psychology Department on the second floor of the Children’s Hospital.
We also offer online appointments using Microsoft Teams and/or telephone appointments.
If your child/young person is admitted as an inpatient, appointments may take place on the ward.
Clinical Psychology Department
Second floor, Children’s Hospital
180 Falls Road
Belfast BT12 6B
Tel: 028 9615 0934
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm