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Adults typically self-refer either directly or through their healthcare insurance when experiencing a range of emotional or psychological difficulties which start interfering with daily life and are multi-context (i.e. work, family, friends or self).
Problems can be related to something new that is happening in the person’s life and is causing significant distress; or to something that the person has been dealing with for a while, but that for some reasons has now become unmanageable and overwhelming to be dealt with alone.
Typical referrals include:
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Work related stress
- Interpersonal difficulties, including marital
- Trauma and abuse (present and past)
- PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
- Bereavement and loss
- Complicated Grief
- Health related problems
- Adjustment to life events (separation, career change, traumas)
For each problem area, I provide therapies that are evidence-based and modern, and tailored to the individual’s needs; this means that presenting difficulties will be treated with the recommended therapeutic therapies that are proven to be effective as from the NICE Guidelines.
At assessment, therapy options will be discussed with the person in full collaboration and transparency.
Children and Adolescents
Each developmental stage brings new challenges for children and adolescents. They are expected to learn and master new tasks in multiple settings (i.e. family, school or peer group) as well as facing potentially challenging life events.
Typical referrals for children and adolescents are usually multi-factorial (i.e. emotional and psychological, learning problems, behaviour and interpersonal problems). Understanding the interplay of vulnerability, triggering, maintaining and protective and prognostic factors is key.
Typical difficulties that children might experience:
- Anxiety and worries
- Depression and low mood
- Confidence and self-esteem
- Identity (including sexual)
- Emotional regulation
Parents’ separation and divorce
Friends and peer group
Trauma and abuse
Difficulties at school
When a child or adolescent is referred to me, the following will be provided:
Mental Health Assessments are conducted at intake and provide a clinical formulation of the problem and relevant recommendations based on the information gathered in an in-depth clinical interview covering developmental, family, social, school and medical history, as well as a mental state assessment to ascertain mood, emotions, speech, affect and risk.
Therapy options and interventions will be then discussed with the individual and their family.
One to one therapy or family therapy might be offered alongside systemic psychological interventions, as explained below.
Psychological Interventions consist in the provision of strategies and support to school staff and families, as well as relevant evidence-based, solution-focused and time-limited therapeutic interventions. Therapy models offered include Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Systemic (Family work), Psychodynamic, EMDR and KIDNET, in line with the NICE guidelines.
Consultation and supervision can also be offered to school staff (SENCOs and learning assistants) to help them implement strategies and understanding mental health.
Sometimes children and adolescents present with a combination of difficulties which might include the presence of one or more of the following problems: emotional wellbeing, behavioural problems, interpersonal difficulties and problems with learning. In these cases, a more in-depth specialist assessment might be advisable.
A Specialist Psychology Assessments aims at ruling out any general or specific learning difficulty or other neuropsychological or cognitive difficulties (Dyslexia, ASD, ADHD) and include: the administration of standardized rating scales informing on mood and other clinical conditions; cognitive testing; liaison with school and relevant health professionals; behavioural observations and review of any previous evaluations.
Learning Disability Assessments are carried out in the presence of suspected learning difficulties and include: cognitive testing, assessment of daily living skills and information gathering from third parties.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Assessments are carried out in the presence of significant and persistent difficulties with social and communication and consist in the administration of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-II) and Diagnostic Interview (3Di). Autism assessments are multidisciplinary and are carried out by Dr Villa in collaboration with her colleagues (see the My Kite Psychology Page for details).
I use a modern approach to assessing children, in line with the most advanced technological tools for psychological assessments. I use Q-Interactive for cognitive assessments, whose advantages are explained in the video below: