Psychology (Children and Families)

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

Location in hospital

Psychologists are located in a variety of clinical areas throughout the hospital.  Your appointment letter will direct you where to check in for your appointment.

What do Psychologists do?

Psychologists assess behaviour, learning, social abilities, emotional wellbeing and coping.  They use a combination of methods; observation, interviews, and family and school meetings.  Children who attend hospital on a regular basis sometimes need extra support coping or managing with particular difficulties that may arise from living with a medical condition, such as worries and fears about having procedures or surgeries.  We sometimes help children who may be struggling with aspects of school life, such as attention, concentration, learning, reading and maths.

Psychologists are different to medical doctors. We focus on talking, listening, using art or play techniques.  We like to learn more about the patients we see, what do they like, what is important to them in their life, and is there something they would like to be different or better.  Psychologists are trained in a number of techniques/therapies e.g. relaxation, CBT and play therapy.  Techniques are chosen based on the most recent research evidence and best-practice guidelines, and selected to best fit the child and family.  These are some examples of what we have helped children with:

  • Worries about being unwell and what might happen in the future
  • Being in hospital
  • Having injections, procedures or operations
  • Taking medicine or keeping to a treatment plan or doctor/team advice
  • How to talk with friends about health – it can be hard to know what to say sometimes
  • Manage distressing symptoms e.g. pain with new ideas/ suggestions
  • Worries about feeling or looking different
  • Finding school or homework hard
  • Issues that arise post surgery e.g spinal surgery, epilepsy surgery

Clinical Services provided

The Psychology department includes Clinical, Educational, Counselling and Neuropsychologists and provides support to the following clinical teams:

  • Respiratory conditions including Cystic Fibrosis
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Mental Health
  • Nephrology
  • Neurology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Respiratory
  • Spina Bifida
  • Spinal Services
  • W82GO/Obesity

How to access the Psychology Department

The Psychology department accepts referrals for children admitted as inpatients, or those outpatients attending one of the clinical teams listed above.  The child must be currently under the care of a hospital consultant.

Referring staff should complete the relevant referral form/letter and parental consent should be gained prior to sending the referral to the relevant team.  Staff can access the Psychology department referrals policy on Q pulse.

If a parent is concerned about their child’s psychological wellbeing they can request access to Psychology through their child’s medical team.

What to expect at your outpatient appointment – Information for patients/parents

The appointment letter will let you know where you and your child should check in or sit while waiting for your outpatient appointment.  The Psychologist will collect the child and parents and bring them to the relevant office.

Appointment times are usually one hour but can extend to 90 minutes. Please allow extra time for this. 

The first appointment will involve getting to know one another.  We will explain in more detail what a psychologist does and what we might be able to help you with.  We will discuss the current concern from the child’s point of view and from parents’ point of view.  We will then set goals together and make a plan about how to move forward.

Before your appointment

If you are already seeing a Psychologist or team locally, currently or in the past, please bring any letters or reports which you feel may be relevant.  If you feel school reports would be relevant please bring these with you also.

It is important to help children understand why they might be coming to see a psychologist. We recommend openly explaining that the appointment will involve talking about aspects of their life and development and any issue which is a source of distress.

How to cancel your appointment

Please contact us as soon as possible if you cannot attend, by calling the phone number at the top of your appointment letter.  The hospital requires 24 hours’ notice for cancellation of appointments. Otherwise appointments are registered as “did not attend”.

Do you offer work shadowing or clinical placement?

Currently the Psychology department offer training places for psychologists in training who are in their final year of a professional training course, usually a doctorate in professional psychology.  We require those coming on placement to have completed at least one placement in child psychology.  This includes having gained experience using a range of psychometric testing with children and delivering therapeutic interventions with children and their families.  All psychologists in training are required to undergo Garda vetting and occupational health screening through our HR and OHD departments.

Due to issue of patient confidentiality we are not in a position to offer Transition Year or volunteer placements.

Contact us

Dr. Helena Rushe, 
Principal Psychology Manager
Children’s University Hospital
Temple Street
Dublin 1

Telephone: 01 8784293

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