Channel 4 documentary highlights importance of psychotherapy for children with traumatic histories

Century Films have made a series of three documentaries about the Tavistock Clinic on Channel 4. One featuring the Gender identity Development Service, one about Gloucester House, the children's day unit and one about an adolescent crisis service. The films are focussed on the stories of the individual children and the therapeutic work done with these children and their families. This week is looks at Gloucester House which accepts children as young as five all the way through to 14 and has therapeutic/clinical staff working alongside teachers.

It is funded by the Tavistock NHS clinic, and is a full-time school for children with complex mental and emotional health difficulties. The school has just 18 children, many of whom have been excluded from mainstream schools and have experienced significant losses, traumas and early life experiences. 

The focus of this week's film is Josh who, having had three years of intensive (three times a week) child psychotherapy within the therapeutic setting, is ready to move into a mainstream school. Some of the preparation for his transition is shown and he is articulate about himself and his feelings.  He uses his behaviour to communicate his distress and discomfort and has benefitted from having a child psychotherapist working with him, enabling him to make sense of his feelings and behaviours. ACP member Margaret Lush who works at Gloucester House, says, "the three years of child psychotherapy Josh received was crucial in enabling him to develop emotionally and move into a mainstream school."
Psychoanalytic child psychotherapists work with the deeper feelings and disturbances of children which can be hard to understand and manage. Without child psychotherapy, children like Josh would not be able to access main stream school, but more importantly they would find it extremely difficult to manage their disturbed and overwhelming feelings. Threse children also struggle to develop healthy relationships with peers and adults.
For more information see the Radio times article which goes behind the scenes of the documentary and
If you know someone or have a child who you think would benefit from seeing a psychoanalytic child psychotherapist, see the Find a Therapist section on our website.