The Child Guidance Clinic (CGC) offers help to children or young people and their families. For example, children may have problems related to school work, how they get on with other children or with adults; they may have excessive worries and/or may become withdrawn or sad. Family members may disagree about discipline, or there may be tensions between parents which affect the children.
What Happens at the Clinic?
There are different stages in working with a family:
To begin with, a clinic staff member will meet with the family one or more times to hear about the difficulties in order to have as clear an understanding of the problem as possible. If the family agrees, the staff member may also contact others who may have information that helps in understanding the problem, for example the family doctor or teacher. If necessary, special investigations may be carried out by clinic staff. It can take a number of sessions over a few weeks to get a good understanding of the problem. That may seem a like long time but it is important to make sure that the help offered meets the family’s needs.
In the next stage, the staff member and the family together decide what kind of help will work best for them. This may again involve one or more family members meeting with the staff member for a number of sessions to discuss the options and choose the intervention that will work best for the particular problem that the family is struggling with. Sometimes it is necessary to refer one or more family members elsewhere for specialized help such as remedial teaching, or a medical investigation.
The child and the family also have to work hard because changes can only happen if the family works closely with the clinic staff member in getting to understand the problem and carrying out decisions and plans made together about how to deal with the problem.
Who works at the Clinic?
The Clinic is a teaching unit which provides professional training in clinical psychology. All those in training work under the close supervision of a team of experienced clinical psychologists. With the family's permission, sessions are often recorded so that what happened in a session can be reviewed later and clinical supervisors sometimes observe sessions through a one-way mirror.
What about confidentiality?
All written records, as well as recordings made of the sessions are treated as confidential and are only available to staff working at the Clinic.
What about payment?
The fee depends on what the family can afford and is worked out between the family and the clinic staff member seeing them.
When can the Child Guidance Clinic be contacted?
The Clinic is open Monday-Friday from 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. for enquiries. There may be a short waiting period before the first appointment. Each clinic staff member arranges her/his own appointments for sessions directly with families.