Skills for child and family work + adapting therapy for kids

Here are references relating to different types of therapeutic interventions we can offer and different types of mental health issues, developmental disorders and other presenting problems.
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Skills for child and family work + adapting therapy for kids

Post by miriam »

Think first about basic child development - kids understand things differently at different ages, so you can't do CBT with a 4 year old, and you probably wouldn't engage a 16 year old in play therapy as easily. Different ages have different challenges too, and with children you also need to think how hugely influential their family is (and their peer group for teens). If you read anything about child development and attachment issues this can be applied to such a variety of CAMHS cases, but then it might also be worth reading something like Paul Stallard's Think Good Feel Good to think about adapting CBT for children (as one example therapeutic model).

Dorothy said Working in CAMHS, really allows you to see developmental issues with a huge amount of transparency. It is something you need to bear in mind whatever service you work in, but CAMHS really can help you integrate that into your working model. It also allows you to access, in a relatively easy way, the potency of how a system surrounding a child/individual impacts on their emotional wellbeing, and vice versa. Working with children and adolescents, really offers a very diverse and rich experience, you can be with a 7 year old for one session and a 16 year old the next, it really stretches, and develops the way you interact, engaging kids of all ages is a key skill, as well as keeping them on task, which is also very transferable. With the diversity of the developmental stages, comes the diversity of very different presenting problems. It all adds up to a really rounded experience, which can allow for huge personal and professional development.

In addition to the Think Good Feel Good book Mim recommends, I would recommend:

Carr, A. (2006) The Handbook of Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology: A Contextual Approach

It gives a really nice bite size approach, with case examples for different presenting problems. Shows how to write/draw a genogram (always good for getting a young child engaged), and gives a format for formulation, similar to the 5 P’s approach which is dominant (though doesn’t tap directly into systems), and relatively easy to access. It is a bit expensive though...but you may be able to get one second hand on Amazon.

As a small postscript, would add that I love the challenge and the differing demands working in CAMHS brings, I always thought that I wouldn't be able to manage it too well, because of being a mum, I thought I would find it all a bit too much. I dodged it for quite some time, but I really am enjoying it. It brings up more stuff for me, on a personal level much more than working in OA ever did. But that is good to engage with, and work through in supervision.

Kari said I also agree that Think Good Feel Good is a good resource, as is the Carr recomendation.

Another resource I have found useful in this area is:

Hobday, A. and Ollier, K. (1998) Creative Therapy: Activities with Children and Adolescents

Using creativity as a means of communication or to support communication is something I do on a day to day basis in my current role. I have found that you don't have to be good at drawing- in fact kids seem to like it more if you are rubbish! The key is just to think creatively- make things colourful and fun. I work in Paediatrics and have found that turning difficult subject matters into child friendly formats such as colouring in books or board games, makes it much easier for the child to discuss issues they find anxiety provoking.

When working with young people, obviously you need to be aware of developmental Issues: such as the child's language skills and cognitive abilities and using different mediums to communicate can overcome this. It can also help to build rapport with children- creativity seems to be intuitively appealing to children. Furthermore, it can make sessions more enjoyable and less intimidating.

And if anyone catches you playing with glue and glitter- you now can say you are actually working!! :wink:

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Content last checked by qualified clinical psychologist (BlueCat) on 23/05/2016 - links to no longer existing or out of date documents removed
Content checked by a Team Member on 20/04/2012
Last modified on 20/04/2012
Last edited by miriam on Tue Apr 24, 2007 11:27 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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