PSYCHOLOGY & COUNSELLING
About our Psychology Clinic
Paeds Plus offers individualised psychological therapy for children and adolescents. Our team value the importance of making your child feel safe and comfortable. We are committed to maintaining a warm and caring environment whilst providing the highest quality care to your child and family.
Child psychologists work with children and their families to support children’s social-emotional development, behaviour, wellbeing, and resilience. Psychologists can assist in identifying and supporting neurodevelopmental concerns. They also identify and treat mental health disorders and support young people with experiences of trauma. Psychologists do this through their understanding of the mental and biological factors which drive behaviour.
* Please note our psychology clinic provides psychological therapy only.
ADHD / ASD assessment and/or diagnosis is NOT offered by our psychology clinic.
HOW PSYCHOLOGY CAN HELP YOUR CHILD
Psychologists can assist when your child’s emotional or behavioural issues are more persistent or significantly elevated in comparison to their peers, or when these issues negatively impact your child’s participation in activities they usually enjoy, learning opportunities, or peer and family relationships.
Through therapy, we can empower your child or adolescent to move through challenges, develop healthy coping skills, build resilience, and build their skills in communication, problem-solving, healthy thinking patterns, and emotion regulation. Psychology can be a valuable resource in helping your child to thrive.
Paeds Plus Psychology Clinic provides therapy for children experiencing a wide range of challenges including:
PSYCHOLOGY SUPPORT FOR...
Fears and Phobias
Grief and Loss
Peer Relational Skills
Problem Solving Skills
ABOUT OUR SERVICES
During therapy, our psychologists work collaboratively with you and your child to identify the factors maintaining their difficulties and implement a personalised treatment plan to help them overcome these challenges.
Alanna is our Provisional Psychologist and provides wonderful care with her gentle and playful approach. She is dedicated to working sensitively and thoughtfully with young people and their families. She works holistically, drawing from a variety of evidence-based therapeutic approaches including CBT, ACT, DBT and play-based therapy. These therapies are tailored to meet your child’s individual needs, values, and goals as we understand that every child is unique.
WHAT OUR PSYCHOLOGIST CAN NOT HELP WITH
Psychologists are bound by strict ethical laws. They cannot treat members of the same family. Psychologists also cannot treat friends or loved ones of an existing client. This includes children of different families when the families know each other. This is to protect your child and the rest of your family and ensures your psychologist is objective and impartial when treating your child.
OUR PSYCHOLOGY TEAM
Alanna Curtis | Provisional Psychologist
Alanna is a gentle and playful clinician dedicated to working sensitively and thoughtfully with young people and their families. She aims to work holistically, drawing from a variety of therapeutic approaches including CBT, ACT, DBT and play-based therapy. She deeply values the individuality of her clients and works collaboratively to ensure focus on her client’s own goals. Alanna spends lots of time getting to know the young people she works with, in order to follow their lead and support them, to make the changes that are most meaningful to them and their families. Alanna is committed to ongoing professional development and providing evidence based practice. She is currently undertaking her Masters Degree of Clinical Psychology.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING A SESSION?
Play is how young children learn best. For youngsters, therapy revolves around play and fun to maximise learning and comfort. As children grow, their ability to think, reason, and plan in verbal language develops. Correspondingly, the proportion of play to conversation in therapy decreases. By adolescence, therapy is usually conducted as a conversation.
Psychologists collect lots of information to develop a nuanced formulation of how a problem came to be, what triggers the problem, and what is keeping the problem going. This formulation informs which session activities are chosen. This means that session activities and content vary widely depending on the child’s special interests and family therapeutic goals.
Sessions are 50minutes in duration and take place in our calm, relaxed Psychology room at the Currambine Paeds Plus Office.
Your child will typically spend 40 minutes alone with the therapist doing therapy activities. In the last 10 minutes, you are asked to come into the room so that your child can share what they learned in session. This allows your psychologist to check the child’s comprehension of the skills they learned in session and enables you to help your child practice at home. Sometimes you may need to notify the psychologist of important information (e.g., friendship change; new symptoms), or your psychologist may need feedback on strategy success / symptom reduction. If this is the case, the parent and therapist may spend the first 5-10 minutes of the session speaking alone. Sometimes it is helpful to have a parent-only session after a few weeks of therapy to review family goals. The frequency of consultations and the total number of sessions needed varies according to each child’s requirements.
Teenagers have greater capacity for autonomy and usually spend the whole 50 minutes with the therapist.
The most important part of therapy is that your child or adolescent connects with the psychologist and engages with therapy, and this can take time. Different children ‘click’ with different psychologists, so it’s a good idea to check in with your child and see if they are finding therapy helpful.
Some examples of content in EARLY-CHILDHOOD SESSIONS:
Fun interpersonal games, stories, drawing, play, and worksheets designed to develop emotion literacy (the ability to identify, label and respond to emotions).
Board games to practice specific social skills such as turn-taking and asking for help.
Pretend play to practice coping with separation from parents.
Mindfulness activities such as art, body scans, or sensory exploration.
Exploratory play to practice body regulation strategies e.g., weight-bearing exercises.
Symbolic (figurine and toy) play to practice social-emotional skills.
Some examples of content in ADOLESCENT SESSIONS:
Practicing communication skills such as negotiation and problem-solving.
Discussing topics such as friendships, school, and family.
Practicing cognitive skills such as developing a balanced perspective, combating negative automatic thoughts, and cultivating mindfulness.
Helping adolescents find motivation to engage in positive behaviours such as engaging with friends, going outside, and moving their bodies.
Helping adolescents explore their identity, find their strengths, and advocate for themselves.
Some examples of content in PARENT SESSIONS:
Fostering emotion-regulation skills by helping parents become fantastic emotion-coaches for their children.
Refining and troubleshooting behaviour support plans such as identifying triggers and implementing reward systems.
Planning appropriate supports and advocacy for school.
INITIAL ASSESSMENT - 50mins
The first session is for parents/caregivers only. This session provides you an opportunity to share your concerns for your child and the impact of their issues on social, academic, and family functioning. In this session, your psychologist will collect additional information to create a hypothesis about what is maintaining your child’s current issues. This forms the basis of family goal development and initial treatment planning. The maintaining factors, family goals and treatment plan are all discussed with you, with emphasis placed on collaboration because you know your family best. Your child’s challenges will differ from another child with similar problems because your child’s is unique, and the formulation helps the psychologist tailor the treatment to your child specifically. This is the unique benefit of psychology in comparison to non-individualised programs such as social skills groups or mindfulness groups. This formulation is also not fixed – it will develop as the psychologist works with your child and learns more about him or her.
Examples of information which may be collected include developmental history, sensory preferences, mood symptoms, previous and current friendships, and family dynamics. Your psychologist may ask you to complete short written questionnaires to supplement the assessment. We ask that your child does not attend the initial parent assessment as there is a large volume of information to discuss, some of which may not be appropriate to speak about in front of your child.
STANDARD CONSULTATION with Child - 50mins
The second session is for your child only. The purpose of this session is to supplement information gathered in the parent assessment with observations of your child or conversations with your adolescent. Again, session content varies according to the concerns you raised in the parent session and your child’s developmental level. For young children, the session will likely involve assessment of their capacity to identify, label and respond to emotions in themselves and others. Older children and adolescents may be asked to share their perspective on their current challenges and strengths. Importantly, in this initial session, major focus is placed on rapport-building through fun. Your child will gain the most from therapy if they feel comfortable, understood, and willing to engage.
From the third session onwards, therapy with children 8-years-old and under has significant parental involvement. At this age, children’s brains are still developing their impulse-control, judgement, planning, reasoning, and organisation. This means they do not have capacity to implement changes to their lives independently. Therefore, most of the learning will solidify through parents/caregivers modelling and practicing skills. They need lots of in-the-moment practice and repetition to learn. Providing emotional support when children are having a tough time can be very taxing for parents. It is important that parents/caregivers have their own support network (friends, family, caregivers).