Q. What is a Clinical Psychologist?
A. Clinical Psychology is a broad branch of psychology that focuses on diagnosing and treating mental, emotional, and behavioural disorders. A Clinical Psychologist is trained to doctorate-level and may work in many areas, depending on the population they choose to treat, including children, adolescents, families, adults and older people. They may work from a clinic, in people's homes, in schools, workplaces and in communities and although they often work within teams in the NHS, they are also qualified to work within private companies and also completely independently.
Q. How do I know if this is the right service for me and my child?
A. A lot of parents worry about whether their concerns are worth seeking help for and whether they are seeking it in the right place. The initial consultation appointment is a chance for us to discuss the concerns you have about your child, get to know each other more and consider together what may be the best way forward for you. Following this appointment, I will issue a report which will outline my recommendations but there is no obligation to follow these or to continue working with me. My aim is always to work with you and your child to make sure that any recommended steps are agreed and collaborative.
Q. What is the difference between a Clinical Psychologist and a Counsellor, Psychotherapist or Therapist?
A. There are many different professions in this area that overlap in their work and it can become very confusing when you are trying to seek help. The terms 'Counsellor', 'Therapist' and 'Psychotherapist' are often used interchangeably and there are a wide variety of different training routes to these professions. These professionals are all trained to use talking therapies with clients and often specialise in one specific type of therapy (such as CBT). Clinical Psychologists are trained to doctorate-level in psychological theory, practice and research and therefore have training and experience within a wide range of types of therapy, as well as working with different populations of people and different psychological difficulties. The term 'Clinical Psychologist' is a legally protected title and all Clinical Psychologists must be registered with the HCPC and are therefore bound to their high standards and codes of practice.
Q. What is the difference between a Clinical Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?
A. A Psychiatrist is a trained medical doctor who has specialised in mental health disorders. This means that Psychiatrists have trained for seven years as a medical doctor, followed by specialising in psychiatry which can take up to another four years of study. Generally speaking, Psychiatrists do not offer talking therapies and focus instead on the assessment, diagnosis and management of mental health disorders, including medication. Clinical Psychologists, on the other hand, are not medical doctors and therefore have no medical training, although they are able to diagnose a number of mental health disorders. They have trained for a minimum of six years, as well as a number of years of practical experience, to become qualified and carry out their profession.
Q. Can you prescribe medication?
A. No. Medication can only be prescribed by medical doctors, including GPs and Psychiatrists. However, where appropriate and following assessment, a Clinical Psychologist can support recommendations for medication alongside any psychological work they may be doing with a client.
Q. Do you offer Educational Assessments?
A. Generally, unless Clinical Psychologists have significant experience of these assessments, they do not offer Educational Assessments as these are more appropriately administered by Educational Psychologists who have specific training and experience in assessing educational attainments (i.e. reading and writing skills). Clinical Psychologists, including me, do offer cognitive assessments, which identify a person's general cognitive ability ('intelligence') as well as strengths and weaknesses such as verbal and perceptual skills, working memory and processing speed.
Q. Will you be working with my child individually or will I be involved?
A. This tends to be flexible; I will always involve parents in the initial assessment as well as a feedback session at the end of any individual work with a young person but where appropriate, sessions may be with parents either alone or alongside the young person as well. The most appropriate way of working will be determined by the outcome of the assessment but also any other issues that are raised as we go along.
Q. Can you see my child at home or in school?
A. Yes, this is entirely possible but these sessions would incur extra charges, which would be discussed with you before any commitments are made.