Click on a Question
Clinical Psychologists aim to reduce emotional distress and to enhance and promote psychological well-being. Clinical Psychologists are trained to base their clinical interventions on up-to-date research and literature ensuring their work is always 'evidence-based'.
Qualifying as a Clinical Psychologist requires a minimum of 6 years of full-time university study (3 years undergraduate degree and 3 years postgraduate doctorate). After undergraduate study, several years of clinical or academic experience is required before gaining a place on Doctorate training. For example, working as an assistant psychologist or undertaking further study at Master’s degree.
Doctoral training involves a combination of academic study, clinical work within the NHS and the completion of a research thesis. Before qualifying, Trainee Clinical Psychologists must work with adults and children in a range of NHS services over a period of three years. Once qualified, Clinical Psychologists are required to develop and learn through continuing professional development (CPD) to ensure they are updating their knowledge on an ongoing basis.
The title Chartered Psychologist is legally recognised under the Royal Charter of The British Psychological Society (BPS); the representative body for psychology and psychologists in the UK. Underpinning the designation are requirements for high levels of academic achievement, minimum periods of supervision and applied experience and a commitment to lifelong learning. These foundations are further strengthened by both the Member Conduct Rules and the Code of Ethics and Conduct.
You can check if a Clinical Psychologist is Chartered on the BPS website: www.bps.org.uk/e-services/find-a-psychologist/register.cfm
From 1 July 2009 regulation of certain groups of practising psychologists was taken over by the Health Professions Council (HPC), a regulator of health professionals, set up to protect the public. The HPC keeps a register of health professionals who meet set standards for their training, professional skills, behaviour and health. To clarify the professional registration of a Clinical Psychologist you can check the register at www.hpc-uk-org
The term ‘Child Psychologist’ is not one of the seven specific legally protected titles for practitioner psychologists. This may be because all Clinical Psychologists (which is a legally protected term) are trained in working with both adults and children.
Since ‘Child Psychologist’ is not legally protected an unqualified individual could theoretically advertise under this term. In practice, however, ‘child psychologist’ is often used as short-hand to refer to a Clinical Psychologist who works predominately with children. You can check if a ‘child psychologist’ is a qualified Clinical Psychologist by searching on the Health Professions Council website: www.hpc-uk-org
A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has chosen to specialise in mental health. Psychiatrists are interested in the biological manifestations of emotional difficulties and they may diagnose ‘disorders’ and prescribe medication.
Psychologists are trained to assess and understand an individual’s current difficulties by drawing on psychological theories and research about: early childhood experiences; learning; developmental processes; behaviour; mind-body interaction; cognitive patterns; belief systems and systemic, social and environmental factors. Psychologists work therapeutically with clients using a range of orientations and ‘talking therapies’ and they may evaluate cognitive functioning using standardised assessments; they cannot prescribe medication.
Dr Victoria Samuel has worked with a diverse range of child and adolescent difficulties. Common difficulties for young children are sleeping and eating problems, separation anxiety and tantrums. For older children the following concerns are common reasons for referral: school anxiety; low self-esteem; social anxiety; generalised anxiety; panic attacks; anger and aggression, obsessive compulsive disorder; loss and depression; adjustment difficulties after divorce; bereavement and post traumatic stress disorder.
Victoria uses a range of therapeutic, evidence-based approaches, which are tailored to the needs of each child. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a valuable approach for increasing children and parents’ understanding of the inter-relation of thoughts, behaviours and feelings, and provides a framework for initiating practical, effective strategies for overcoming anxiety and low mood.
A solution-focused orientation is often adopted for family relationship difficulties such as entrenched family conflict. This approach focuses on identifying strengths and resources within the family through a specific type of questioning. It focuses on solutions for the present rather than problems of the past.
For low self-esteem or shame, a narrative approach, in which difficulties are externalised can be very powerful & empowering. For example instead of saying a child “is anxious”, which can be pathologising and cause hopelessness, we would speak in terms of “when anxiety bothers you”, thus freeing the child from a label and empowering them to identify ways to stop anxiety from “bossing” him or her around.
For post traumatic stress disorder, Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing can be used. Dr Samuel has completed advanced training in this EMDR along with specialist child training in EMDR. EMDR was developed to help alleviate distressing symptoms caused by unresolved traumatic memories. More information about EMDR can be found on the EMDR Institute website:www.emdr.com/q&a.htm
At the start of the initial assessment Dr Samuel will go through with you a contract relating to guideline for the services. This covers information about confidentiality, cancellation and fees. You will be asked to sign two copies of this contract, with one copy being given to you to keep. You will be given a standardised questionnaire about your child's behaviour and, if they are over 11 years old, they will be given a parallel questionnaire to complete.
The first session is about getting to know your family with a focus on your unique strengths, skills, resources and qualities, as well getting an understanding of the difficulties that are getting in the way of positive family life. This will include questions about when you first noticed the problem, when it tends to happen most and what the impact of the difficulty is on you and your child's lives. At the end of the initial assessment we will identify together goals and priorities for how you would like things to be different. If you would like to, you can then book in another consultation. Sometimes you may want to go away and think about whether this feels like the right approach for you; the rapport with a therapist is very important and you need to feel that we can work well together.
Getting the right specialist help for your child is the absolute priority. Sometimes it may emerge during the initial assessment that Dr Samuel’s areas of specialism are outside of the specific difficulty you are facing. If this is the case, this will be discussed with you and every effort will be made to provide you with recommendations for alternative local practitioners. This may include referral to a Parent Support Service Affiliate Therapist. In some instances, the best service for your family may be a multi-disciplinary team of professionals, in which case it may be suggested that you seek a referral for the local NHS service.
There is no need to prepare any information in advance of the initial consultation, however some parents find it helpful to make some brief notes about their concerns or a record of examples of the emotional or behavioural difficulty over the last week.
If you have approval for funding via your private health care provider, please bring your membership number and authorisation code.
With children under 7 years consultations generally take place with parents staying in the room as this helps the child to feel safe and secure and helps parents to understand the issues covered and strategies learnt. With older children, whether or not the parent stays in the room will be a matter of individual preference. Dr Samuel will generally ask the child directly whether or not they would like a parent to stay with them. Some children can prefer to discuss worries away from parents whilst others feel more comfortable with a parent remaining quietly in the room. Either way, the session will start with all the members of the family that have come to the clinic and will conclude with 10 minutes feedback with parents - the content of this will be pre-agreed with the young person before the parents are brought back in. This feedback time is really important for ensuring communication is as open as possible within the family and helps you to feel involved and informed about your child's progress.
Taking your child to psychological therapy or attending parenting consultations is a significant commitment both financially and in terms of time. It is therefore understandable that many parents would like to know in advance how many consultations will be required.
It is however difficult to predict in advance the exact number of sessions that will be needed as this varies according to a number of individual factors. However, after the initial assessment we will give you an estimate of the approximate number of sessions that will be required. Thereafter, progress will be reviewed regularly and we will discuss together the likely number of sessions remaining. On average, the number of consultations required after assessment is approximately 6 but this varies widely.
Yes. Dr Samuel also works with adults who are not parents through Bristol Psychology Services. She specialises in providing intervention for clients who have experienced traumatic events.
No. Although Dr Samuel works within the NHS at the Bristol Children’s Hospital, this is an entirely separate role. Consistent with NHS policy and issues of conflict of interest, Dr Samuel is unable to work independently with clients who are receiving treatment at the Bristol Children’s Hospital.
As The Parent Support Service is an independent service, you do not need a referral to arrange a consultation. Most clients contact the service themselves. However, a number of referrals are also received via specialist rehabilitation agencies, particularly for trauma-focused therapy. Enquiries about referrals from agencies, GPs and solicitors are welcome.
The clinic is held at Spire Bristol Hospital, by the Downs in north Bristol. Please see here for directions: www.spirehealthcare.com/bristol/Find-or-Contact-Us/
If you are driving to the hospital you can use the hospital car park.
The hospital is also easily accessible by bus with the following services stopping adjacent to the hospital on Blackboy Hill, at the top of Whiteladies Road: 1, 8, 9, 40, 40A, 41, 54, 54A
Spire Bristol Hospital is about 15 minutes walk from Clifton Down train station, which links directly with Bristol Temple Meads.
Each consultation (face-to-face and by telephone) lasts 1 hour. In some instances, an extended assessment or consultation of 1hr 30 minutes may be recommended, this would be agreed with you in advance.
We ask that the initial consultation is paid for upfront at the end of the consultation. You can pay by cheque or cash. Thereafter you can request to be invoiced monthly. If you would like to pay online or by tele-banking we are happy to provide you with the required account details. We do not accept card payment.
Dr Samuel is a registered practitioner with a number of private health insurance companies including BUPA, AXA PPP, Simply Health and Standard Life. Please check with your provider if your policy includes cover for your child’s emotional or behavioural difficulties.
The Parent Support Service only provides face-to-face therapy within the Bristol area. Remote support for parents across the UK can be provided by telephone and email, please see services. It is advisable to contact us in advance to check whether the difficult you are facing is appropriate for this support option.
If you would like to find a Clinical Psychologist working in your locality, you could use the ‘find a psychologist’ function on the British Psychological Society website: www.bps.org.uk or try searching on the Therapy Network: www.therapynetwork.co.uk
Confidentiality is taken extremely seriously by The Parent Support Service. The information you tell us will be kept confidentially and will not be shared with GPs, teachers or other individuals unless this is explicitly agreed with you in advance.
Please be aware of the following limits to confidentiality:
We are registered with the Information Commissioner, and make every effort to store securely personal information, both electronically and on paper. Although we are happy to discuss issues via email, as email is stored on third party servers, it is advisable to discuss confidential matters via letter, phone or in person at consultation.
You may find testimonials on other therapists’ websites. We receive many positive comments and feedback from clients about the service. However The British Psychological Society (BPS) guidelines for private practice stipulate that psychologists should not use testimonials when advertising to clients.
Dr Samuel specialises in therapeutic intervention and does not provide court reports or provide guidance in contact disputes. Affiliate therapists of The Parent Support Service do however offer medical-legal work.
At present, The Parent Support Service does not provide parenting courses. For details of parenting courses you could try contacting Parentline Plus: www.parentlineplus.org.uk
We receive a lot of enquiries regarding voluntary work with the service and we understand how difficult it can be to obtain relevant experience for those wishing to pursue a career in this area. Unfortunately, at present however there are no options for work experience students or research / assistant psychologists.
Copyright © 2012 The Parent Support Service - Clinical Psychologist Services.