What is a clinical psychologist?

A clinical psychologist is someone who has been trained to understand children’s normal development and the type of difficulties that children and their families may experience. The clinical psychologist on the spina bifida team also has specialised knowledge of illness and how this can impact on a child’s well-being and learning. They will work together with you, your child, their medical team, their local service and their school, where appropriate to try and understand and help with the difficulties your child may be experiencing.

What is a paediatric clinical neuropsychologist?

A paediatric clinical neuropsychologist is concerned with how children learn and behave as their brain develops. They provide specialist assessment in order to assist families and the wider community, such as school in understanding the neuropsychological consequences of neurological syndromes or injury and the functional impact on the child.

What does the clinical neuropsychologist on the spina bifida team do?

The clinical neuropsychologist on the spina bifida team at CHI at Temple Street has training in clinical psychology and neuropsychology. She is interested in how your child is coping with their illness and also how they are managing their learning in school. The clinical neuropsychologist can provide:

  • specialist neuropsychological assessment to assist families and relevant others to understand the possible learning, behavioural and educational consequences of your child’s spina bifida and hydrocephalus,
  • therapeutic intervention to help with problems that have arisen when your child is an inpatient
  • consultation to the medical team about a child’s behaviour and emotions during their hospital stay to help them better understand your child’s emotions and behaviour. 

As the spina bifida service at CHI at Temple Street is the national service the psychologist will work closely with your local early intervention or school age team. The psychologist also works closely with the other members of the spina bifida team in CHI at Temple Street such as the paediatrician, occupational therapist, social worker, nurses and physiotherapist who take care of your child.

Who can refer to the spina bifida psychology service?

Any member of the spina bifida team can refer to the spina bifida psychology service. If you are concerned about your child’s psychological well-being or learning please ask the team to refer your child to the psychologist. 

Information for children

What is a psychologist?

A psychologist is a person who is there to help and listen. They help people to understand their thoughts and feelings. Some psychologists work with children who are in hospital and their families. They help them to deal with all kinds of things that can be difficult, like taking medication, going for surgery, or when they feel angry, sad or worried. A psychologist can talk to you and your family about what might help make these things better or how to help you cope with all of these things. 

Are psychologist’s the same a doctors and nurses?

No, psychologists are different to doctors and nurses because they do not give medicine or injections. Psychologists do lots of talking, if you want, or you can draw or play games to help them understand how you are feeling and how they can help.

What will the psychologist talk about?

The first time you go to see a psychologist they will want to know a bit about you, for example, do you have brothers and sisters, a pet, what class you are in in school, what are your friends names, what do you like to do when you are not in school. They will also want to talk to your parents about what you were like as a baby and when you were growing up.

Do I have to see a psychologist?

No not at all but lots of children and young people can find going to lots of hospital appointments, taking medicines or going for operations really hard so we want you to know there is someone you can talk to at any time if you feel you want to do so. Psychologists also work with whole families so lots of times you might find that you want them to talk with your mum and dad so that they can help also.