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Psychology Department (HP)


Psychology Department
Temple Street Children’s University Hospital
Temple Street
Dublin 1
Tel: (01) 878 4293

The Psychology Department in the Children’s University Hospital provides a service to children and young people with a medical condition/or physical symptoms. The aim is to reduce distress, promote optimal development, and improve psychological well-being and health outcomes for children and families. The team is made up of Clinical Psychologists, Clinical Neuropsychologists, Educational Psychologists and Assistant Psychologists. There are currently 11 psychologists working in the Psychology Department at the Children’s University Hospital.

Staff List

Psychologists are scientist practitioners who apply psychological theories, models and research to a range of psychological, mental health and developmental problems. They provide a variety of services including assessment, therapy, and consultancy services. Their work also involves research, service development, evaluation, supervision, teaching and training.

The Psychology Team includes the following:

Clinical Psychologist

Clinical psychologists are trained to apply psychological knowledge and approaches to a formulation about the nature of a presenting difficulty. Formulation implies a broad-based assessment, drawing on one or several theoretical models. A clinical psychologist looks at the relationship between the identified difficulties, their causes and the factors maintaining the difficulties. An intervention will then be planned to address the individual circumstances.

Training for clinical psychology takes a minimum of 7 years. The training emphasises an understanding of normal development and behaviour as well as difficulties and problems. A clinical psychologist has competencies in understanding developmental and systemic influences across the age range. Their training provides them with the necessary skills to work with complex cases and to draw on a range of evidence based techniques.

Educational psychologist

Educational psychology involves the cognitive, emotional and social learning processes that underlie education and human development across the lifespan through the application of psychological theory, research and practice. Educational psychologists work through consultation and collaboration with parents, young people, teachers and other professionals to help tackle problems encountered by an individual in education. These problems may involve learning difficulties, developmental issues, social, behavioural and emotional problems. They offer a range of services such as assessment, consultation and interventions which aim at maximising learning and enhancing development.


The paediatric neuropsychologist is concerned with how children learn and behave as their brain develops. They provide specialist assessment in order to assist families and the wider community in understanding the neuropsychological consequences of neurological syndromes or injury and the functional impact on the child. The neuropsychologist will carry out a number of tests or assessments on your child looking at areas such as memory, attention, perception, co-ordination, language and personality. The aim of the neuropsychological assessment is to provide a better understanding of the learning, behavioural and educational implications of your child’s neurological condition and/or injury. Most importantly, the results provide a better understanding of your child’s behaviour and learning in school, at home, and in the community. This in turn helps to guide your child’s teacher, or therapists and you as to better help your child to achieve his/her potential.

Trainee Psychologist

Trainee Psychologists are psychology graduates who are in the process of their professional training. They work within the hospital on placement for a period of 6 to 12 months, during which time they receive close supervision from a Senior Psychologist within the hospital.

Research Psychologist

Research Psychologists in the hospital carry out research relevant to patient populations on a wide range of topics. Their work contributes to the evidence base on which psychological approaches are developed.

Assistant Psychologist

Assistant Psychologists are psychology graduates. They work under the direct supervision of suitably qualified psychologists. Following induction and basic training with regard to clinical work they can be deployed to perform certain prescribed tasks, under direction, within their level of knowledge and competence


Psychologists within CUH provide a service in five main areas:

  • Assessment
  • Individual and group therapeutic intervention
  • Consultation to professionals, within and outside the hospital
  • Research/Audit
  • Training and teaching


  • We provide assessments to identify and prevent potential psychological problems in the course of a young person’s treatment and care. These assessments can include assessment of emotional, social, behavioural, and family functioning.
  • Where appropriate, we also provide a psychometric assessment for developmental status, cognitive profile, and/or specific learning difficulties.

Individual and group therapeutic intervention

  • We provide psychological interventions that aim to help young people and their families adjust and manage their illness/disability and its impact on their lives.
  • We also provide interventions to assist with any difficulties that the child/family may be experiencing and which may be adversely impacting upon their ability to fully benefit from medical/surgical care or treatment.
  • An emphasis is given to the developmental stage of the child and the family and key transition points. These often include entry to school, adolescence, change to secondary school, transition to adult medical services, and end of life issues.
  • Individual work with young people is provided using a variety of therapeutic approaches, to suit the needs of each individual case.

Our work with children, adolescents and families can involve:

  • Preparation for invasive or distressing procedures
  • Symptom management techniques such as pain management
  • Promoting adherence to medical and other necessary treatment
  • Exploring the impact of a young person’s illness or disability on their self-esteem, confidence or body image
  • Interventions with low mood or anxiety
  • Trauma work and bereavement support, including work with siblings and other family members
  • Preparation and support for adolescent populations in the transition process to adult services
  • Preparation and support around reintegration into school and home following treatment and/or prolonged hospital admission
  • Support for families in understanding their child’s health difficulties and in coping with having a chronic health condition.

Prevention is a very important part of the psychologist’s work in the hospital particularly with regard to chronic illness and the prevention of secondary problems such as behavioural issues, low self esteem, depression etc.

Psychologists within the hospital are involved in group work for children and adolescents or parent groups.

Groups for young people include groups to help children cope with a specific chronic health condition and improve adherence, information sessions on specific aspects of their illness, sibling support groups, transition planning and weight management groups.

Parent groups can include support groups for parents of children with a chronic health condition, and parenting training.


The Psychology Department adopts an evidence based model that integrates clinical care with research. Research is an integral part of our work and contributes to our understanding of physical illness, psychological well-being and developmental disability.

Psychologists are actively involved in planning and conducting research, audit and service evaluation.


Psychologists provide training and/or supervision to trainee psychologists and to members of other professions (e.g. medical staff, nursing staff).

In addition, the psychology team contributes to the academic component of the Clinical Psychology professional training courses in University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin.


Psychologists receive training in development and maintenance of multidisciplinary working and are key members of the medical multidisciplinary team.

The department provides consultation on the psychological aspects of a young person’s care to both medical and non-medical colleagues. The Psychology Service can offer a broad perspective to medical teams in relation to a child’s functioning e.g. developmental stage of the child, stressors in family.

The psychologists’ consultative role can include participation in ward round, psychosocial meetings and joint clinics and appointments with other professionals. It may also involve development of programmes undertaken with or by other staff.

We also liaise with community services, schools and other agencies regarding psychological management.

CPD opportunities

Clinical Placements on the Post Graduate Professional Training Programmes in Clinical Psychology

The Psychology Department at CUH has a long tradition of providing clinical placements to post graduate trainees from the University based professional training programmes in Clinical Psychology. Applications for a clinical placement will be processed through the Psychology Department Manager.

Volunteer Placements

The Department of Psychology is able to provide a limited number of voluntary placements to Psychology graduates who are seeking relevant experience of working within a psychology service. It is hoped that this will assist graduates in making informed career choices and to obtain experience that may assist them when applying for a place on a professional training course in Clinical/Educational Psychology.

Please note that all queries regarding volunteer placements should be sent to Patricia Smyth, Psychology Department Manager, who can forward them to the relevant person

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