Working with children and adolescents

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Whether as part of educational psychology, or in a clinical or healthcare setting, therapy for children and adolescents comes with its own unique challenges. There is much to learn from the approaches of various streams of psychology. Educational Psychologist Naomi Burgess considers various approaches and interventions that are available to those working with children and adolescents across different specialisms.

Summary points

  • Support for mental health comes from a variety of sources, including health, education, local authorities, charities, voluntary and third sector, online and privately.
  •  Some systemic approaches look at how best to organise systems and learning within schools to promote positivity, encourage supportive friendships, reduce prejudice, lessen competitiveness and instil a sense of well-being and calm.
  • Be careful about making assumptions: when learning how to make students feel valued, it is always helpful to ask.

Currently, within the UK, our children are under immense levels of emotional, social and academic stress, to the point where it has been described by Lady Moran as an epidemic. The number of children seeking help from child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) in England has more than doubled over the past two years. These difficulties are prevalent across contexts, incomes, and age groups. In November 2018 the British Psychology Society published information from The mental health of children and young people in England (PAS) survey, indicating that rates are uncomfortably high.

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