Cathie O'Brien  

  Gestalt Psychotherapy and Organisational Development, Supervision and Training 

Psychotherapy Young People

I am accredited as a child psychotherapist through UKCP's grand parenting route. UKCP sets the training standards for child psychotherapy courses. This process involves an extensive portfolio of years in practice working with children and young people, case studies, supervision hours, training, courses undertaken and demonstrating how you meet UKCP's training standards for child psychotherapists.

I started my training as a therapist in 1997 and was a student counsellor for two years (1999-2001) in a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. I qualified in 2001 and developed two school counselling services, followed by a position in CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) specialising in working with children in care and managing a CAMHS team within a children's secure unit and community setting. I have undertaken further training since qualifying, some of these are in Play Therapy, Attachment Training, Trauma and Dissociation, Suicide and Self harm.

Altogether, I have worked with children, young people and families for over 30 years, in variety of roles and settings, from paediatrics, social services, residential work, family support and leaving care team. I also hold a Diploma in Nursery Nursing (NNEB) and an Advanced Diploma in Child Care and Education (ADCE).

In my private practice I work with children from the age of 14 years up. For younger children I work with parents and carers, enabling them to understand behaviours and develop ideas to help their child.

When working with children and young people there is much emphasis on the non verbal and relational aspects of human development, right brain to right brain co-regulation, through non directive play therapy techniques, the arts and other mediums, to enable healthy expression and self-regulation. Parents and carers often want the young person to know why they are behaving or feeling the way they do, but children and young people do not always understand themselves in this way.The knowing about feelings and behaviour comes after awareness not before, leading to integration. 

I work very much in the here and now, especially with developmental trauma. The emphasis is not on recalling past memories or on catharsis, but on emotion regulation, emotion tolerance, being able to regulate emotion in relation to other and developing empowerment over the sensori motor system. This is done through sensory work, often in the form of play or talking, bringing awareness to the senses and what they maybe communicating to the young person; developing awareness, stimulating the adaptive function, working towards integration of the whole brain child.

The manner in which I work is very dependant on age, developmental age and capacity. I usually also work very closely with parents, carers and professionals when appropriate. Please make contact to find out more or read my publications.