The children’s community psychologists are trained clinical psychologists. We have expertise in working with children and families who are adjusting to difficult situations such as a child’s complex medical illness. We accept referrals from the Children’s Community Nursing team for children and young people (under 18 years) with a life threatening or life limiting health condition, and their families. The family needs to be under the care of the Children Community Nursing team at the point of referral.
About Children’s Community Psychology
The Children’s Community Psychologists work together with a variety of health and care professionals in Wiltshire Children’s Community Services. They provide support to families where a child has complex health needs including life limiting or life threatening health conditions.
Living with a medical condition and having lots of treatments and/or admissions to hospital can be challenging. A child’s complex health needs can impact on the whole family and on relationships with others. Sometimes coping with different challenges related to the medical needs can affects how one thinks, feels, or behaves. For example, you might feel anxious, worried, sad, or angry. It might be difficult to get on with others, or you as a family might find it hard to manage day to day treatment and care. If you feel that dealing with the health condition is affecting day to day life for your family, it might be helpful to meet with a psychologist.
What do we do?
We offer you the opportunity to talk about what it is like to have a health condition, or to have a child or a sibling with a health condition. We work together with you to help you to understand the reasons why you feel the way you feel. We aim to listen to your experiences and work together with you to help you to make positive changes. This might be finding different ways to do things, learning new ways of coping or talking with others about what they can do to help.
We can work with other health and care professionals or with the child’s school if this would be useful. We also provide consultation and support for the health and care professionals supporting your family.
Our main way of working is usually through talking but we can use other methods, such as writing or drawing too. We mainly use tools from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in our work. We might also work using the Systemic Family Therapy approach. Please do ask for further information.
What can we help with?
We help families experiencing all sorts of difficulties. Some examples of what we offer help with include:
- Finding ways to manage the medical condition and cope with different treatments and day to day tasks
- Finding ways to talk about the medical condition with family members and others
- Finding ways to manage difficult emotions such as sadness, anxiety, depression or anger
- Helping children to manage worries or difficulties related to their health condition e.g. impact on friendships, feeling different, building confidence, being included in activities
- Helping your family to manage the impact on relationships
- Supporting siblings who are struggling with the impact of the situation
- Supporting your family to manage concerns about the future – for some people this includes thinking about life and end of life wishes and plans
- Supporting your family in grief and bereavement.
What will happen if you decide to see us?
If you would like to talk to us, your community nurse can make a referral for your family to our service. We will then call you to arrange an appointment. There is usually a waiting list but we aim to see everyone within 6 months from the referral. If your family’s situation requires more urgent help, please discuss this with the community nurse. We can see one member of the family on their own (e.g. a parent, the child with a health condition, or a sibling), or several family members together.
The first meeting is an opportunity for us to hear about how things are for you, and for you to hear about how psychological support might be helpful. We will think together about the best way forward for you and your family. The sessions are usually about an hour long. The community psychologist will travel to you and will see you at your home, or at the child’s school, if that is more convenient.
We sometimes agree that we will meet a number of times, or it may be that one appointment is all you need. You can always ask to meet with a psychologist again, at another point in the future, if this is helpful.