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Services

Assessment
Individual Adult Therapy
Child and Family Therapy
Adolescent Counselling
Supervision
Family and Parenting Assessments

Assessment

It is one of my responsibilities as a clinical psychologist not to start therapy unless I am confident that I understand the problems well enough to make the appropriate treatment decision. That requires that I conduct an assessment. The extent and length of the assessment will depend on a large number of variables. For example, the number of people involved, ages of people involved, the complexity of the problems, and whether there is information from other professionals. Sometimes the assessment can be completed during the initial interview and therapy can start before the end of the first session. Alternatively, an assessment can sometimes require more than one session. Generally though, the process and outcome of an assessment is therapeutic because of the information that is gained and the therapeutic relationship that is formed.

Individual Adult Therapy

The approach I take to individual adult therapy is informed primarily by Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness processes. Research in the last twenty years has shown CBT to be the most effective therapy for Anxiety and Mood disorders. It is also an approach to therapy that lends itself very well to Psycho-Educational and skills-based treatment. This means that my role is to help clients understand their psychological functioning and then to teach the skills involved in managing and coping more effectively. It is a very open and transparent form of therapy in which clients develop the skills to cope more effectively in the present and the future.

Child and Family Therapy

When children are the focus of a referral I prefer to work as much as possible with the child and parents together. I do sometimes see children on their own for counselling, though not very often when children are younger than 8 years of age. However even with older children it is generally a good idea to include parents in therapy. Parents frequently know more about the behavioural problems of their child than the child does. It is often more of a concern to the parent than it is to their child. Parents also need to manage and care for their child and I find it helpful for the parent to learn from me how to do that. There are some children’s problems that require individual child therapy, but that is something the assessment will determine.

Adolescent Counselling

Adolescents often prefer to be seen on their own and they have reached a level of maturity that enables them to make use of individual adult therapy as outlined above. Generally my approach is to meet with adolescent and parent together for the first session and decide early on if I will work individually with the adolescent. In that event I will give the parent an opportunity to share their concerns with their child and me. The parent then leaves the session and returns for some feedback at the end of my session with the adolescent. That feedback is discussed first with the adolescent because I will respect the adolescent’s wish for confidentiality. However, as with younger children, I think it is generally best if parents know what their children are experiencing and I encourage adolescents to share information with their parents.

Supervision

I supervise a number of other mental health professionals – clinical psychologists, counsellors, social workers, and alcohol and drug counsellors. I have provided group supervision for residential youth workers and victim support workers. Receiving supervision is a responsibility of work in this area. It helps to ensure that our clinical work is ethically and professionally sound and that clients receive good service.

Family and Parenting Assessments

I am an approved report writer for the Family Court. I also provide psychological assessments for other Child and Family Support Agencies such as Child,Youth and Family Services, Barnardos, and Open Home Foundation. These are assessments that focus on parent-child relationships, attachment, parenting skills, children’s needs, child abuse and neglect, areas of risk to children such as alcohol and drug abuse, violence, criminality, and mental illness.