Display Patient Information Leafelts

Seeing a Paediatric Clinical Psychologist

Date issued: July 2019

For review: July 2021

Ref: D-271/LR/seeing a paediatric clinical psychologist v3

PDF:  Paediatric clinical psychologist oncology [pdf] 230KB


What can a Paediatric Clinical Psychologist do for you and your family?

The Paediatric Clinical Psychologist working in the Oncology team is Dr. Katy Farrell-Wright. Katy works in the team one day a week supporting children and their families. She is there to help you and your family to cope with the emotional impact of having a child with cancer or leukemia. Coping with the diagnoses, hospital stays, procedures, being away from home and other life commitments can be difficult for everyone.

Why might you or your child meet with Clinical Psychology?

Families see Clinical Psychologists for many reasons.

Children and young people sometimes have:

  • Difficulty adjusting to their illness or coping with their diagnosis.
  • Difficulty having treatment, for example having lines accessed, scans etc.
  • Worries or fears about treatment, for example, the impact of treatment on other aspects of their lives or about the future.
  • Worries about how their diagnosis may impact on important things in their lives like school, friendships, hobbies and family.
  • Sometimes children may have had difficult experiences in the past which may be retriggered by their diagnosis.
  • Physical problems made worse by worries e.g. Sickness and pain.

Parents may have worries about:

  • Their child’s health and wellbeing.
  • The diagnosis.
  • Managing hospital treatment.
  • Relationships within the family.
  • How to support their child.
  • Difficult experiences from their past which may be retriggered by their child’s diagnosis.

What happens when you meet Katy?

Meetings with us will take place in the Children and Young Peoples Outpatient department at Derriford Hospital but could happen in your home if we feel this is better. The aim of the first meeting is to get to know you, your child and family, and hear about any worries or difficulties you are experiencing. This will be done through talking and asking questions. Sometimes, especially with children, we will use drawing, games and puzzles.

What happens at the end of the first meeting?

We will talk about what may be the most helpful way forward for you and your child. This may involve:

  • Meeting with you again, or with your child or other members of your family.
  • With your permission, Katy will share concerns with the team and think about ways they can support you and your child.
  • With your permission, it can also be helpful for us to contact other people who care for your child locally, for example, their school, GP or health visitor.
  • You might decide with us that there is no need to meet again or we might plan a telephone review.

Are our discussions with the psychologist confidential?

As a Clinical Psychologist, Katy has strict rules about confidentiality. Katy will not discuss the content of your sessions with anyone other than the doctor/team who referred you and your GP. Katy does have a responsibility to protect children from harm, and is legally bound to share any information regarding children at risk of abuse with relevant agencies.

Support for siblings

We do not offer one-to-one work with siblings, however she is happy to help you find out where to access support for siblings. Katy runs annual sibling days with other members of the team.

Other support that we offer

There are several groups and activities that run for families through the year. These include events such as coffee mornings on Tuesdays in the school holidays, parent meals every couple of months, family days and an end of treatment day. Please let us know if you do not want to be part of these events.

Contact Dr. Katy Farrell-Wright Tel: 01752 432554

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