06 Jul 2022

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Psychologists

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Clear Skies: DBT Skills Group for Teens

Adolescence can be a challenging time for many teens.  However, some teens will struggle with intense emotions which can in turn impact on their relationships with family and peers and well-being.

There are many reasons why this can happen. The key though is early intervention.

This term the Child Wellbeing Centre will be running an intensive skills-based group program focused on learning skills to manage intense feelings and improving and repairing relationships. We will be using a specific therapy technique: Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT).

About the Group

This course is based on DBT for Adolescents with a mixture of psychoeducation and skills training in emotional regulation and interpersonal skills. This course will suit teens aged 14-18 years who have:

  • Fast and intense emotional reactions
  • Mood-dependent impulsive behaviours
  • Relational strain with peers or family, or difficulty maintaining healthy relationships

The course is also suitable for those diagnosed with or at risk of developing Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

If you or your teen is interested in attending this program please contact us to arrange an interview. The interview will help us to make sure that this is an appropriate intervention. And if the group isn’t the best option, we can discuss with you what might be a more appropriate therapy pathway.

Program Details

Date:                  The program starts on Wednesday 03 August and will run for 8 weeks

Time:                 5.15pm to 6.45pm

Location:           Child Wellbeing Centre, Bayswater (Unit 10/488 Walter Road)

Cost:                 $120 per session (Medicare Rebates apply)

Facilitators:        Sharon Jones (Principal Psychologist)

Co-Facilitators: Toni Schmitz (Registered Psychologist) and Hannah Mc Bride (Provisional Psychologist)

For more information

For more information or to book an initial interview, please contact our Client Support Coordinator on 9274 7062.

04 Jul 2022

BY: admin

Psychologists

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Social Skills Program for Teens

Surviving ‘2’ Thriving
A therapy group for teens aged 12 – 15 focusing on social skills development.

Navigating high school can be a confusing and challenging time. Teenagers begin to
form their identities and find out where they fit in the world, shifting away from
family and towards peers. That’s why establishing positive relationships is important
for their social development, self-esteem and mental health.

About the Group

The purpose of the group is to help teens develop their social skills and self-esteem so they
have the confidence to build meaningful connections with peers. The learning program focuses on different topics each week around socialisation, such as: reading social cues; having conversations; and understanding social anxiety.

The group is an opportunity for teens to meet friendly people their age who face similar challenges while creating a safe space to learn together.

The group has been developed especially for teens with (or suspected of) autism spectrum
disorder and is a safe space for LGBTIQ+ people.

Program Details

Date:         The program starts on Thursday 04 August and will run for 8 weeks 

Time:         4pm to 5pm

Location:   Child Wellbeing Centre, Bayswater (Unit 10/488 Walter Road)

Cost:          $65 per session (eligible for NDIS funding)

For more information or to enroll, please contact our Client Support Coordinator on 9274 7062.

learning assessments 26 May 2022

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Psychologists

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Learning about Learning Assessments

One of the services that the psychology team offers is learning assessments. A learning assessment can be a useful option to consider when children aren’t achieving their learning potential. Literacy (reading, understanding and writing) is an area that children experience difficulty with and sometimes, numeracy may also be a concern.

An assessment can help identify the barriers to learning for children.  Assessments may be helpful as they can give greater insight into why difficulties are occurring, highlight supports that children need, and help with decisions about schooling options.

Learning assessments may also help identify whether there are any attention or emotional issues that are preventing the child from making progress.

What do learning assessments involve?

To start with our psychologists will want to talk to you and find out about your child’s developmental, school, social and emotional history. This appointment is with the parent/carer (s) only as this gives you the opportunity to talk freely about your concerns.

From this, the psychologist will be able to work out which standardised tests may be helpful.  They will want to schedule 1-2 sessions with you and your child. These assessments may include a cognitive assessment (looking at learning potential) and an academic assessment (looking at literacy and/or numeracy). Other assessments may also be suggested.

When our team sees children, we work hard to put them at their ease so we can see them at their best. The first session in particular may involve rapport-building strategies.

The psychologist may want to talk to the teacher too. While school reports have a lot of useful information, our team can learn quite a bit from talking to the teacher. Sometimes we may even arrange an observation of the child in the class to find out more about how their behaviour may be impacting learning.

Sometimes they are also going to want to talk to other therapists about their assessments and therapy progress.

What happens after the learning assessment is completed?

The psychologist will meet with you to give feedback on what the assessment has revealed and their recommendations for how to move forward.  They will also provide you with a written report which you may choose to share with the school and other therapists. The aim of this session is to answer your questions and to help you as a parent/carer plan the next steps in supporting your child.

You are more than welcome to contact Reception on 9274 7062 to find out information about any of our services. For more information about our psychology services in general, please click here:

https://www.childwellbeingcentre.net.au/services/psychological-services/

23 Apr 2022

BY: admin

Psychologists

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Explaining ANZAC day to young children

ANZAC Day is an important day for many Australians, when we recognise the service of defence personnel past and present, and in particular the anniversary of the troops landing in Gallipoli.

Children may learn about ANZAC Day at school through specific lessons and remembrance ceremonies. At home, children may want to talk about ANZAC Day further, which might include aspects of war. Given all the current media reporting on global conflicts, answering their questions may be tricky. We want to tell the truth but at the same time not give them so much information that we take away their sense of safety about the world.

It is important to consider how much your child might be able to cope with both intellectually and emotionally. This is going to vary from child to child, and with children of different ages.

For young children (around 4 to 8 years), we want to encourage questions but keep the messages simple and reassuring:

  • It’s a day when we remember and thank everyone that has helped to look after our country
  • It’s a day when we say thank you and are grateful that we live in a such a great country
  • It’s a day when we remember that we have to look after everyone that lives in our community, including our older people who helped make it so great.

In these discussions, we want to gauge how our children are managing this information, and not provoke or exacerbate any feelings of anxiety.

If they are very concerned, keep reflections to past or offshore events, and discuss how in Australia we are now safe. For tender hearts, the details of death and destruction can be postponed until it can be better managed with maturity. Remember that anxious and sensitive children can generalise their fears, and it is best to not avoid but hear them voice these concerns so that they may be addressed specifically.

Our children will continue to process these concepts as they grow older, and develop their own opinions with influences from many sources, including your values as their parents.

If you ever need assistance with any of this, you have the support from our Psychology Team. Just call our Receptionists at the Centre on 9274 7062  to make an appointment with one of our experienced psychologists.

Naomi Ward and Sharon Jones

Child Wellbeing Centre

18 Apr 2021

BY: admin

Occupational Therapist Team / Psychologists / Speech Pathologist

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New Centre Opening in Bayswater

New Centre in Bayswater!

We’re delighted to be able to let everyone know that we have opened a new Child Wellbeing Centre in Bayswater.

The new Centre is located in Walter Road East, Bayswater and currently will be providing services Monday to Friday.

Just our Allied Health team will be working from these premises which means, the following services are available:

  • Psychology
  • Occupational Therapy and
  • Speech Pathology

We will be updating our website over the next few weeks so you can find out about our new staff working from the new Centre. Please check our About Us pages for updates about our new staff:

https://www.childwellbeingcentre.net.au/about-us/

To find out more about our services, please call Reception on the usual number – 9274 706. 

 

03 Mar 2021

BY: admin

Psychologists

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Provisional Psychologists and what they do

A provisional psychologist is someone who has completed their tertiary psychology qualifications and is undertaking a program of supervision as they develop their psychology skills “on the job”. Typically this can involve one to two years of weekly supervision with a senior psychologist.

Supervision is where the provisional psychologist discusses the work they are doing with clients (in our case children and young people) with a senior colleague. It’s a space for them to check in that they are being helpful for the client. It’s also a space for the supervisor to make sure that client’s needs are being met by the provisional psychologist.

Who are the provisional psychologists in the Centre?

At the Child Wellbeing Centre we have  four provisional psychologists on our team. Two have completed masters level qualifications in psychology & two have extensive experience working with children in behaviour therapy roles. Our provisional psychologists are:

Katrina Burgess

Simone Healy

Penny Wong

Toni Schmitz

Each comes with their own background of  experience and interests. The one thing they all have in common is an enthusiasm and commitment to work with children. You can read a bit more about them on our website:

https://www.childwellbeingcentre.net.au/about-us/

Why might I consider a provisional psychologist for my child?

As provisional psychologists aren’t eligible to offer Medicare rebates, they charge out at a much lower rate than the registered psychologists in the Centre. They aren’t limited in the number of sessions they can provide either. When working with families, they are still doing exactly the same things a fully registered psychologist would be doing with a family. However they have a psychologist on call that they can check in with to make sure they are heading in the right direction.

They are also required to do extensive professional development each year which means they are regularly learning about different ways to help their client.

Not all clients will be referred to our provisional psychology team in the Centre. We try to make sure that clients are matched with the psychologist with the right skills mix. However you are welcome to enquire about seeing a provisional psychologist if you think this is an option for your child.

Please contact reception for more information about our provisional psychologists or any of our other services on 9274 7062.

Naomi Ward

Clinical Director

A resilient family is also a strong one 13 Aug 2020

BY: admin

Psychologists

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Resilience in Children

2020 is the year that is testing our collective and individual Resilience. As we watch tragic events around the country and world, it’s hard not to feel worry or sadness, and in some instances anger. This is proving to be a very tough year on us all, including our children.

What do we mean by resilience?

Resilience is our ability to cope well with the ups and downs of life. A bit like a rubber band, how well do we spring back after we’ve been stretched by a challenge. Depending on the type and number of challenges we face, our resilience might be quite low, and we don’t’ spring back easily. Low Resilience can result in feeling anxious about the next challenge, feeling down about ourselves, and perhaps not managing the next challenge as well as we would like to. When challenges pile up, like they have been doing this year, our resilience suffers and we might begin to feel overwhelmed.

There are different ideas about how resilience develops. The most common theory is that it is a mixture of personality factors, our environment (e.g. home and school), and our perceived level of support.  As a parent, now is a good time to check in with our children and gauge our children’s resilience.

How can we improve our child’s resilience?

Here are some areas to consider…

Relationships

Mental health research consistently points out that children who feel supported and have strong relationships with their parents are better able to cope. Now is the time for open discussions that provide reassurance and demonstrate care. Simply having a strong positive relationship with your child, all by itself, helps them.

Responsibility

We all need to feel that we are capable and confident. It’s also how we learn to problem solve and cope with failure. Experiences of success at home and school, coupled with your recognition and praise, can really help to improve confidence and resilience. Giving your children challenges, helping them to succeed and acknowledging their success, goes a long way in supporting their resilience, emotional well-being and sense of stability. At the same time, undue or harsh criticism can erode this too.

Self-regulation

Managing strong feelings well is a sign of healthy resilience. However, many children don’t manage strong feelings easily or naturally.  You can help by showing how you cope positively with challenge and teach your own calming strategies to your child. There are so many resources online about different ways that we can teach our children these skills.

Interested in knowing a bit more about resilience? We’ve included a link to another article that you might find helpful: https://psychcentral.com/lib/10-tips-for-raising-resilient-kids/

If you feel as though your child’s resilience or capacity to cope at the moment is low, and you need some assistance in supporting them, our experienced psychologists are ready to share their expertise.  Please call our Reception on 9274 7062 for further information.

Naomi Ward, Director and Sharon Jones, Principal Psychologist

30 May 2020

BY: admin

Psychologists

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Fantastic Friends and Best Buddies, Social Skills Programs – Term Three

With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions this week, we are now looking forward to running our group-based social skills programs in Term Three.

Sessions are run by two facilitators. They work hard to make sessions fun and motivating while teaching the important skills needed to make and keep friends.

In each group the team employs a four-part training approach using modelling, role-playing, performance feedback, and generalisation to teach essential pro-social skills to children.  Programs are tailored to meet the needs of the children participating in groups.

Toni Schmitz, Provisional Psychologist will be coordinating Term Three’s program. We are planning to run three sessions after school.

Best Buddies

Our “Best Buddies” program will help to build confidence in your child for making and keeping friends. We will be using modelling, and role-playing to practice new skills and refine existing skills.

Who is suited:  Children aged 6-7 years of age who need help with making or keeping friends.
Where:                Child Wellbeing Centre – Brockman Office,  5 Brockman Rd , Midland.
When:                  Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons 4.00pm – 5.30pm during Term Three.

Fantastic Friends

The “Fantastic Friends” social skills program aims to build and develop more complex social skills. In this cohort, we will focus on a range of skills including starting and maintaining conversations, how to introduce yourself and others, asking questions, and apologizing.

Who is suited:  Children aged 8-11 years of age who need help with making or keeping friends.
Where:                 Child Wellbeing Centre – Brockman Office,  5 Brockman Rd , Midland.
When:                  Thursday afternoons 4.00pm – 5.30pm during Term Three

How to register interest?

Please call Reception on 9274 7062 for more information and to register your interest.  Toni will then be in touch to schedule an initial appointment with you to find out more about your child and their needs.

Naomi Ward

Clinical Director

A parent experiencing momentary stress 06 May 2020

BY: admin

Psychologists

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Parental Anxiety and Stress Clinic (PASC)

Experiencing stress and anxiety at various times as a parent will be familiar. All parents know that our role has its highs and lows. Whether our children are at school or home with us self-isolating, they are in our care and thoughts 24/7. It doesn’t take a pandemic for parents to feel anxiety and stress around the job of parenting. Life can throw us many curveballs along the way. First, though, let’s have a look at what we mean by parental stress and anxiety.

What is parental stress?

Parental stress is the sense of being overwhelmed, which occurs when the demands of parenting overtake our capacity to manage it all. We all have moments when we want to pull our hair out as we are driven crazy by the competing demands for our time.

Over the longer term, this consistent stress becomes a concern when it impacts negatively on our relationships with our children and reduces our capacity to support them. We may become irritable and grumpy and overly negative. Our relationships with partners may suffer as well. This situation feels awful, and we may judge ourselves badly. Worse still, our children will start to see and possibly copy our very poor coping strategies.

What is parental anxiety?

Parental anxiety is defined as excessive worrying about the current wellbeing and/or future needs of our child. Common to parents of children with a disability, it may also develop with families where a child presents with complex or challenging needs.

While all parents have moments of worry for their children, parental anxiety is a pattern of worry that is long-standing and of such an extent that it impacts on the daily functioning of the parent and/or child.

Parental anxiety can start to look like paralysis, where decisions become difficult if not avoided altogether. Parents find themselves trying to minimize any risks for their children, which is where the term helicopter parenting comes from. And again, poor coping strategies are being modelled. Additionally, the child picks up on the parent’s anxiety and may take this on themselves too.

What can you do about parental stress and anxiety?

The first step starts with recognizing that things are getting out of control and seeking help. At our Centre, we are currently seeing a spike in parental stress and anxiety. Hence, we are now opening our Parental Stress and Anxiety Clinic (PASC) to parents of children who are not currently accessing Child Wellbeing Centre services.

In PASC, we match you with a psychologist who can help you get on top of any stress and anxiety. Typically, this is about learning new ways of managing thoughts and feelings.  We also include opportunities to learn helpful parenting strategies and relaxation techniques. Sessions are currently available face to face or via online Telehealth sessions. All you need to do is let us know what will work best for you and we will make it happen.

Please contact our Reception on 9274 7062 for more information about our services and let them know that you are interested in PASC. We’re here to help!

05 Apr 2020

BY: admin

Psychologists

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Telehealth Bulk Bill Psychology Services for Children and Adolescents

Did you know that up until the 30 September this year children under 16 years of age may be eligible for Bulk Billed Telehealth services with psychologists?  Social distancing doesn’t mean therapy has to stop.

Who is eligible for Telehealth Bulk Billed Services?

To be eligible for bulk bill rates, your child  must have a current referral from a GP, child psychiatrist or  paediatrician (as required) under one of the following programs:

  • Mental Health Care Plan
  • Helping Children with Autism (therapy items)
  • Chronic Disease Management or
  • Eating Disorders Services

What does Telehealth involve?

Telehealth is where the psychologist provides therapy via the telephone or via the internet (videoconferencing). Aside from a quiet place in the house for you and your child to talk to the psychologist, you will need a device such as a phone, tablet or laptop. The bigger the screen the better.

Videoconferencing is more than just video. When our psychologists work with children and families, they have access to virtual whiteboards, can share documents and even play games online with children. We are starting to use a platform called Coviu which gives us lots of different ways to engage children.

Reception has put together a checklist to help you prepare for your first video-conference.

What if Telehealth isn’t for me?

We want to make Telehealth works for our clients so this means we can vary the frequency and length of sessions. For example, some of our families find 30 minute sessions easier to manage. Particularly when there is a house full of other children in the background!

Our psychologists are still seeing some clients face to face in our Centre. We are an allied health service and plan to continue providing supports this way for as long as we can. Therefore it’s possible to mix things up with some Telehealth and some face to face sessions. Where our staff have to self-isolate then Telehealth is still an option open to you to explore.

It’s important to let your psychologist know if there are any concerns about Telehealth as they may be able to do things differently.

Need more information?

Our staff are embracing Telehealth and exploring all the ways we can make it work for children. We’re recognising that with the pandemic that it may be some time before things return to “normal” and we want to make sure that all of our clients can access the help and support they need.

Please call our Reception for further information about our services on 9274 7062.

Naomi Ward

Clinical Director