Child Arts Psychotherapy

Level 5C Outpatients Department

  • Telephone: 01273 696955 Extension 2446
  • Art Psychotherapist: Charlotte Savins

To make, change or cancel an appointment please contact: 0300 303 8360

The Child Arts Psychotherapy Department is open 9am to 5pm Monday to Wednesday and 2pm to 5pm on Thursdays. The service is open to any child receiving treatment through the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust and referrals are made by a consultant paediatrician or by senior ward staff.

Mental health disorders are more common in children with illness, particularly those with chronic health conditions. Research has demonstrated the importance of looking after the emotional and psychological needs of children and young people who are ill and the government says this should be an integral part of hospital services. Indeed, the DoH National Services Framework for Children in Hospital (2003) states that it is essential for services to: “Consider the ‘whole child’ not just the illness being treated.”

Children respond to illness in a variety of ways and may sometimes need help for issues such as depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, anger, social problems, disorders of attachment and post-traumatic stress disorder.

These psychological problems can have a huge impact on treatment and the child’s health through behaviours such as non-compliance, needle phobia, self-harming, somatic reactions, eating disorders and conduct disorders.

Research shows that sick children may also want to protect their parents from pain or depression, and so it is important that they can talk to someone independent.

The Child Arts Psychotherapist can help through consultation with parents, family work, support groups for siblings, psychotherapy, staff consultation and training. This help can have a preventative role, helping reduce later anxieties and difficulties.

What is Psychotherapy?

The therapist will provide a safe and regular time and place for child patients and families to reflect on their experiences, understand what is happening to them, adapt to the reality of the illness and treatment, and express their emotions.

The therapist is part of the multidisciplinary team and helps colleagues provide a comprehensive treatment and support package to the child and family. The therapist meets weekly with the oncology team, and regularly with the cystic fibrosis and diabetic teams and ward staff.

Most children are seen in a therapy room in the Outpatients Department, however inpatients can be seen on the ward and terminally ill children can be seen at home.