Ciara Mc Elhinney
BSc Psych PGrad Dip Child Adolescent Psychotherapy MNCS {ACC}

Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists are skilled in the assessment and treatment of children and young people.
I am trained to carefully observe young clients and to respond to what they might be communicating through their behaviour and play.
I tailor my approach to suit the individual child and work in an age-appropriate way.
To a trained-eye- Play, which is a powerful form of communication, may express how children feel and the difficulties they may be experiencing. The relationship between the child and the therapist is central to treatment.
Although Language is very important therapy can be largely non-verbal. Children cannot always translate actions into words. I can be bilingual, speaking both “adult” and “child”.
I observe, reflect and respond in words, metaphor and play according to the understanding of the Child’s communication and wellbeing.
My personal orientation in Child Psychotherapy is integrative, involving integrative arts, humanistic and transactional analysis, systemic psychotherapies and families. This approach often encompasses a journey of personal growth that helps individuals to find the answers for themselves.
Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists use a multidisciplinary approach and work within the context of the child’s life, for example, the family or school. They may see a child individually, in a group with other children or with parents and/or other family members. I may also see parents or carers without the child being present.
Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists offer therapy to children and young people with emotional or behavioural difficulties, including:
• depression/mood disorders
• anxiety
• self esteem
• trauma and abuse
• suicidal thoughts and behaviours
• development delay
• phobias
• aggression
• gender dysphoria
• consequences of child abuse
• self-harming
• learning difficulties and disabilities
• eating disorders
• attachment

With every client to date there has been a positive shift with coping, mental health and self-esteem.
I have created a stable and emotionally available environment for a young person or family to attend on the same day of the week and at the same time every week.

I feel I am: Very hard working, dedicated, highly motivated, passionate, well travelled, disciplined, organised, positive, exquisitely knowledgeable, trustworthy, committed, Non judgemental, ambitious, diligent and have a good sense of humour.
I have a great love for life, food, reading, work, friends, children, fun and laughter,
I have learnt so much from the various intensive courses undertaken and from my own psychoanalytic personal therapy. The latter, in particular, had a very powerful, profound and positive impact on my life and with excellent supervision {transference and counter transference}.
I can honestly say that I have focused solely throughout my life on working and helping children and young people become happy, positive citizens of today’s society.
My journey has now evolved and given me the experience and practice to do my job as a therapist to the very best of my ability.

I would use play techniques such as favourite chart, memory chalk jars/ buttons, sand play therapy {very deep process and can be silent}, making playdoh, clay, expressive techniques, art {all kinds} projective techniques, drama, puppets, music therapy, exercise therapy, door signs, guided imagery, safe place, favourite place, magic button, magic blanket etc.
As you can see an integrated approach!

Child Psychotherapy which involves the creation and develops a therapeutic relationship. This is almost solely focused on the social and emotional well being of the child. The Child Psychotherapist works on enhancing self-esteem, helping improve communication, stimulating development, building on emotional rapport and improving emotional vocabulary. The children make sense of their world through play.

Child Psychotherapists can provide the specialist skills and competencies needed to sustain treatment in the community for severely disturbed children and adolescents, or break
Cycles of repeated breakdown of placements.
They explore underlying issues to empower people to manage their symptoms of psychological disorder such as anxiety, depression or eating disorders.
The aim is to help individuals make decisions for themselves, to improve their sense of personal wellbeing and alleviate distress.

One in ten children between the ages of one and fifteen has a mental health disorder.
{The Office for National Statistics Mental Health and Young People in GB, 2005}

Rates of Mental Health problems among children increase as they reach adolescence.
Disorders affect 10.4% of boys aged 5-10, rising to 12.8% of boys aged 11-15 and 5.9% of girls aged 5-10, rising to 9.65% of girls aged 11-15
{Mental Disorder more common in Boys National Statistics Online, 2004}

I knew from a very young age that my dream was to work with children and young people. Unconsciously, I knew I would gain the skills, experience and expertise at a high level in order to have the resources to help children and young people. I studied from the age of 12, learning everything that I could about child development and my work did not go unnoticed as I was fascinated in learning everything to do with young people. GNVQ Adv. with Distinction from St. Cecilia’s College, Derry-Londonderry, 2000.
I continued my journey of discovery at Queens University, Belfast, gaining a BSc Psychology Honours in 2004 and I focused my thesis on Autism. Over these four years, I was also observing and working with a young boy, using ABA Therapy,
Then I miraculously got the opportunity to learn to become a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist through a course (below) that was being offered on ‘my own door step’. I have continued on this path ever since.