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About Psychotherapy

What is Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy?

 Psychotherapy offers the young person a confidential space to explore their emotions. This is a non-directive space where the young person's internal world can be understood together. Psychotherapy does not take a 'one size fits all approach'. This is a space where thoughts and ideas can be shared and explored; a place to think together about the young person's emotional communications in order to make sense of their mind and ultimately to develop a healthy and resilient mind. Through the development of a trusting therapeutic alliance, young people are supported to make sense of their emotions and their experiences. The process of psychotherapy searches to find and understand the underlying meaning behind symptoms or behaviours.   

 Therapy is offered at a regular day and time in order for the young person to trust that they have a consistent, thoughtful and safe place to bring their feelings. The therapist and young person meet weekly and the sessions last for 50 minutes. There may be circumstances when things feel particularly difficult for a young person and it may be possible and necessary to come more frequently.

Some young people are able to communicate how they feel by talking, whereas other younger children may express themselves through play, behaviour or body language. The therapist has specialist training to understand the underlying meaning of all types of communications, so there is less pressure for young people to be able to put their confusing, overwhelming or troubling feelings directly into words. Younger children may like to play and draw. Therapy welcomes all emotions and is a place where it is safe to explore negative feelings such as anger and sadness. The therapy space is child led, allowing the young person to lead the conversation or play at a pace which feels right for them.


Little boy playing with car toy on  the

Adolescents and young adults


Adolescence can pose particular challenges and many young people struggle to navigate this time of change. The transition from childhood to becoming a young adult involves both losses and gains as well as a readjustment of ones sense of self and position within the family and the outside world. It is quite common to need support along the path to independence and separation. It can be helpful for teenagers to have a non-judgemental space to understand themselves. The psychotherapist’s role is not to ‘fix things’ or to tell young people what to do, but to think together with the young person to help make sense of themselves and their feelings.  Adolescence has the potential to be an exciting time full of growth and possibility. Therapy can support a young person to explore their identity and grow in confidence.

Who could benefit?

Young people from the early years to age 25 with the following difficulties could benefit from psychotherapy:

  • Depression, sadness or low mood

  • Anxiety. worry or panic disorders

  • Social anxiety

  • Separation anxiety and difficulties with new situations

  • Fears and phobias

  • Lack of confidence or low self-esteem

  • Obsessions or compulsions

  • Traumatic experiences, such as abuse

  • Bereavement or loss

  • Anger, tantrums or aggressive behaviours

  • Eating or sleeping difficulties 

  • Family relationship or attachment difficulties

  • Forming and maintaining friendships and relationships

  • Struggles with identity

  • Self-harm or suicidal thoughts

Parent, Carer or family sessions can also indirectly support young people. This approach can help families to understand the young person better, identify ways to encourage the young person’s emotional growth and improve family relationships.

How can psychotherapy help?


Therapy can be valuable because it offers the young person regular one-to-one sessions with a specialist who devotes their time to understanding the young persons thoughts, interests and how their mind works. It can feel important and enjoyable to have someone who is interested in listening and understanding them. Therapy can also feel hard as difficult emotions are explored and understood, but the therapist will help and guide the young person with this. 

The aim of psychotherapy is to help the young person find relief from their symptoms. By gaining new and healthier ways of understanding emotions, therapy enables the young person to be less preoccupied and freer from negative behaviours or patterns of relating. Therapy aims to promote individual development and to support young people to reach their potential.

Ultimately it allows individuals to understand themselves better, to gain clarity, confidence, resilience and a stronger sense of identity. 

Research has shown that psychotherapy not only helps whilst a young person is attending therapy but that it has a ‘sleeper effect’ and continues to be helpful after therapy ends. This is because it helps by improving understanding, self-reflection and awareness of relationships between oneself and others. This enables young people to be better able to manage life’s challenges and other issues which come up throughout life.


Rupi Kaur

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