Child Psychology & Assessment

    Child and developmental psychology focus on working with children and teenagers (from ages 2 to 18) and their parents to ensure the best possible outcome in their unique physical, cognitive, social, and emotional growth during a crucial developmental age.

    If you are concerned about your child’s developmental milestones or want to understand how you can better support them through developmental challenges, our team of psychiatrists and psychologists are here to help.  We work closely with all those involved in the child's life, including school counsellors and teachers.

    Our Therapy Process: Parent Interview

    Before meeting with the child, it is suggested for parents to arrange a session with the clinician to:

    • Gather relevant background information, including medical, educational and social history.
    • Gain better insight into family dynamics 
    • Gain an understanding of presenting issues from a parental perspective 
    • Advice on discipline and boundary setting 
    • Explore parenting style to match the personality of the child/youth

    Meetings with parents continue throughout the therapy process so we can explore the progress from the parents’ point of view and address any presenting or evolving concerns.

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    SWAN Quiz

    Does your child have problems focusing in class, appear unable to listen or procrastinate all the time on homework? Fill in this questionnaire designed for parents and caretakers to screen for symptoms of ADHD.

    Conditions We Can Provide Support Through Therapy and Counselling

    • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
    • Autism spectrum disorder
    • Anxiety & depression
    • Anger and Emotional Dysregulation
    • Self-injury & suicidal ideation
    • Sibling rivalry
    • School refusal, school bullying
    • Attachment issues
    • Addiction

    Our Interventions

    Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) School Observations Play Therapy Medications

    Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

    Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a well-studied psychosocial treatment for a range of mental health issues children and adolescents face. CBT is a problem-oriented approach to identifying and changing dysfunctional beliefs, negative thoughts, and behavioural patterns associated with the clinical issue. CBT utilises several techniques:

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    Identifies the basic thoughts and beliefs contributing to the issue at hand

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    Clarifies the relationship among thoughts, emotions, physical symptoms and behaviour

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    Looks for evidence which disproves dysfunctional beliefs whilst generating alternative hypotheses

    CBT is an excellent therapeutic technique for children and adolescents as it positively mimics many learning techniques they are familiar with through everyday schooling. CBT uses worksheets and board work and carries an interactive element between the clinician and patient, which are utilised for psychoeducation. Psychoeducation is a crucial aspect of CBT whereby patients are taught more about their mental health condition, including psychological and physiological symptoms.

    Anger/Emotional Dysregulation

    Through CBT, children with anger management difficulties or emotional dysregulation learn to:

    • Identify their physiological responses to anger
    • Identify triggers in their environment
    • Regulate their frustrations
    • Improve their social problem-solving skills
    • Use alternative coping mechanisms for negative emotions
    • Reduce negative behaviours such as physical or verbal aggression
    • Improve communication of their emotions with those around them

    Anxiety

    CBT for youth anxiety includes psychoeducation, relaxation training, modelling, contingency management, problem-solving, cognitive restructuring, exposure, and relapse prevention. CBT also includes the provision of between-session assignments, during which the child is expected to practice implementing skills learned in treatment and challenge negative core beliefs. Through CBT, children with anxiety will learn to:

    • Identify underlying core beliefs which contribute to anxious thoughts and behaviours
    • Challenge anxious/worrying thoughts and reframe them in a positive manner
    • Increase positive thinking
    • Improve self-esteem and sense of self
    • Reduce anxious behaviours
    • Cope with negative feelings and experiences

    School Observations

    School observations are an excellent way to understand your child’s development better. A school observation provides a clinician with a unique opportunity to observe your child in a learning environment, allowing observations of social, emotional, behavioural and academic progression. School observations are usually done inconspicuously so as not to draw attention from classmates or the child themselves. School observations are best done without the child’s knowledge so that the observation can act as an accurate reflection of the child on any given day. School observations are a great tool to address the following concerns:

    • Anxiety 
    • Attention seeking behaviours
    • Bullying Concerns
    • Classroom defiance
    • Social difficulties
    • Suspected learning difficulties

    Parents can opt for either a debrief session with the clinician or a written observation report following a school observation. A written report can include specific recommendations for both parents and the child’s teachers on how best to support the child based on the clinician’s observations and impressions.

    Play Therapy

    Play therapy is a therapeutic approach through media of play, arts, and games to explore and address the psychological concerns of children and youth via the safety of the therapeutic relationship with the play therapist.

    Play Therapy is suitable for: 

    • Children who find it difficult to express themselves 
    • Children with emotional, social disturbances which the parents may struggle to explain
    • 2-9 years old: through symbolic play, role-play to solve their issues and problems
    • 9-16 years old: through arts, board games to explore their doubts and concerns

    The process of Play Therapy involves:

    • The therapist meets with parent(s) without their child to understand the main concerns from the parent’s view
    • The therapist works with the child in play therapy one-on-one (3 to 6 sessions)
    • Parent consultation: the therapist analyses child’s underlying psychology from the play therapy and advises the parents

    Filial Play Therapy

    Filial play therapy uses child-centred play by a parent with their child to build better relationships and communication. It usually involves 5 to 8 sessions with 3 practical sessions for the parent to play with their child and 3 supervision sessions to get feedback from the instructor on the play skills practised to understand their child better. 

    Medications

    In some instances, medications may be needed for a child or adolescent to tackle the issue. For example, those diagnosed with ADHD might benefit from taking medications to help them focus, be less distractible, organised, or less impulsive, thereby helping them with their performance at school and in interpersonal relationships. Whilst psychological input is recommended for children and teenagers with mood and anxiety problems, they might also need medications in some instances. Our team of psychiatrists will discuss the options available in length with you and your children before medications are administered.

    Child & developmental psychology focuses on working with children, teenagers and parents, to ensure the best possible outcome in their unique physical, cognitive, social and emotional growth during their developmental age. If you are concerned or want to understand how you can better support them through developmental challenges, OT&P is here to help.

    Learn More About Child Psychology & Assessments

    Our Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Therapists & Counsellors

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    We offer teleconsultations as we understand that not all patients may be able to easily access our clinics or leave the house to see a doctor. Therefore, we’re now offering consultations with our mental health professionals through the phone, so patients can have confidential discussions with their practitioner in the comfort of their own homes.

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