Best DClinPsy(s) for Early Intervention/Child & Adolescent Psychology

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Best DClinPsy(s) for Early Intervention/Child & Adolescent Psychology

Post by TheIrishAP »

Hi all,

In the middle of choosing which doctorates to apply to and I could use some advice. After qualifying, I'm hoping to specialise in the early intervention side of things - working proactively to prevent distress/disorders etc, predominantly by focusing on reducing psychological distress in childhood etc.

With that in mind, are there particular UK universities that specialise in this area? I know Max Birchwood, who co-wrote a great paper on the subject, works in Warwick - where else has a big research focus on proactive mental healthcare?

Thank you for reading through my ramblings, would appreciate any guidance I can get :?
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Re: Best DClinPsy(s) for Early Intervention/Child & Adolescent Psychology

Post by miriam »

"Early intervention" tends to be a term used for services tackling first episode psychosis and the types of enduring relational trauma that acquire labels of personality disorder, typically open to 15 to 25 or 30 year olds, and is sometimes coupled with youth crisis work and/or the transition from child to adult services for individuals with complex needs. But this isn't focused on reducing psychological distress in childhood. It isn't even typically situated within the services for child and adolescent mental health or paediatrics, which comprise a wide range of services targeting those from conception to 18. So I wasn't quite clear which area of work you mean from your title or question.

If exploring the predictors of psychosis and what works to prevention/early intervention is your thing, then I'd note Richard Bentall, who is now at Sheffield, as a big name in identifying the precursors of the more severe and enduring mental health problems. I'd also think of Lucy Johnstone's work on the Power Threat Meaning Framework, and other people like Rufus May (whose lived experience has influenced the way he works), and those who have questioned the medical model and looked at the social construction of mental health problems like Anne Cooke at Salomans and Peter Kinderman at Liverpool.

Child and family work is seen as a core competency, so it is almost always a mandatory placement on clinical training, and it is a popular area of work with many speciality areas. It isn't seen as an early/preventative intervention for adult issues, so much as an area of need in itself (albeit one that can be protective compared to letting issues fester into adulthood) and a context in which we can think more about systems around the child, and work with parents, schools and the wider network.

Within services for children, young people and their families you could work in paediatric health psychology, child development, perinatal services, parenting support, neurodevelopmental services, children with learning disabilities, or school or community-based services. At the more complex end, I work with children and young people who are looked after and have involvement with children's social care services. Within each of these areas there are opportunities to do early and preventative work, with a variety of specialists in the field. Some that come to my mind are the community approach taken in Wales with Liz Gregory, the compassion focused perinatal work of Michelle Cree, Paul Stallard's CBT for younger children, the attachment and trauma focus of Kim Golding, or the schools based work of Julia Faulconbridge. You might get a good sense of the range of child work and what is seen as best practice from the BPS publication "What good looks like in psychology services for children, young people and their families", for which I was the lead author of chapter 9.

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Re: Best DClinPsy(s) for Early Intervention/Child & Adolescent Psychology

Post by rachyp »

Edinburgh offers the MSc in applied psychology for children and young people ( ... psychology) which focuses heavily on early intervention with children and young people. You might be interested in this course anyway, but Edinburgh DClin might also be of interest with overlapping staff.
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