Children and Young People's Service
Psychotherapy and counselling for children and young people
In the ordinary course of growing up many children and young people experience emotional difficulties which can result in upset and worry to themselves, their families and sometimes others around them. These experiences can affect the development of the child or young person. Psychodynamic counselling and psychoanalytic psychotherapy aim to assist the child, young person or parent in exploring and resolving these kinds of difficulties. In therapy young children often communicate through play, while for teenagers therapy and counselling more often involve talking things through.
The Children and Young People’s Service at Human Development Scotland offers both assessment and treatment to those between the ages of 0-25 years. We also offer consultations with parents, carers, some young adults and statutory and voluntary agencies who work with children. The service offers consultations in the Edinburgh and Glasgow areas, and in Fife.
Who are the therapists and counsellors?
The service is staffed by a professional group of psychoanalytic psychotherapists and psychodynamic counsellors. All are experienced practitioners in health or local authority services. All are either members of the Association of Child Psychotherapists, BPC or BACP and have trained in therapeutic work with children at the Scottish Institute of Human Relations or equivalent psychoanalytic institutions. They are committed to the codes of practice and ethics outlined by both their professional association and HDS.
What sorts of referrals are appropriate?
Emotional problems in children can occur at all ages. They get expressed in different ways. In babies and very young children problems may centre around eating, sleeping, toileting, separation difficulties, clingy behaviour or tantrums. The child may simply not seem to be making progress. Slightly older children may become anxious, upset, sad, aggressive, withdrawn, fail to play or make friends to an extent which gives cause for concern to the adults around them. In teenagers and students there may be evidence of depression, loss of interest, trouble at school or college. The young person might resort to self-harming in a variety of ways. He/she may fail to mix with other young people, get into "bad company" or minor law breaking.
There may be known worries in the family or at school, the child may have been a bully or victim to bullying. There may have been losses and bereavements that the child or young person has found difficult to accept and come to terms with. There may be difficulties with siblings. There may be no known cause. The initial consultation can help to ascertain what the problem might be and what sort of help might be suitable.
Who can make referrals?
The service is confidential and referrals can be made by parents, carers, GPs, other medical practitioners, psychologists, social workers and others with the permission of the child’s carers. Teenagers and students may refer themselves, although most will require the support of their parents.
What happens when a referral is made?
It is helpful to discuss the situation over the telephone initially, to see if this is the appropriate service. An initial consultation, which can last up to one and a half hours can be arranged, with the parents or carers alone, or along with the child or young person. Thereafter there are a variety of ways of proceeding.
This can be helpful not only for the parents of young children but also for the parents of adolescents. Parents often find it helpful to have a separate space to reflect on their concerns and worries about their children.
Individual psychoanalytic psychotherapy
While some children may benefit from once weekly sessions, others might need more intensive input which could be from twice weekly sessions to five times a week. If a child or teenager is in individual psychotherapy, parents or carers are seen on a less frequent basis in order to support both them and the child’s therapy.
Psychodynamic counselling of parents, young person or family
This may be short or long term. Work with parents may be in parallel with individual psychotherapy/counselling for the child or further exploratory consultation without direct work with the child.
Parent – infant work
Parents and babies or very young children can be seen together for brief therapy. This is usually up to five sessions.
Consultations to other agencies and supervision
We offer consultation to social services, GPs, psychologists and teachers working in schools, nurseries or other agencies who work directly with children and young people. We also offer consultation and clinical supervision to schools, residential units and the like.
Fees are reviewed annually. Please contact us for the current rate. The fee for the initial consultation is paid at the time and fees will usually be charged for sessions not attended, unless adequate notice has been given (normally at least 24 hours). In some circumstances, Human Development Scotland may be able to offer assistance with fees.
Code of ethics
Human Development Scotland has a code of ethics and practice. It also has a formal complaints procedure, copies of which are available on request.
How to refer
Please telephone us on 0141 331 2419 or email us at