Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists develop skills and competences for leading, supervising and training the wider children and young people’s workforce. This is an important contribution to safe and effective services.
In addition to providing specialist treatment to patients, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists play a crucial role in providing training, case consultation, support, supervision and specialist clinical leadership for colleagues across the wider children’s workforce so that they are better able to carry out their work, as indicated through the testimonials in the above table. Their skills offer colleagues a way of understanding, managing and treating patients in complex and frightening clinical situations.
Children with severe comorbid conditions whose needs are complex require the input of a network of carers and agencies. They are resource-intensive (a quarter of the amount councils spend on children goes on 1.1% of children who need acute and specialist services*) and often cause the most anxiety for professionals. CAPTs work across the network of professionals and carers to represent the child’s experience and help contain workers’ anxiety sufficiently to enable them to develop helpful relationships.
Their work in effective multi-disciplinary teams promotes good staff development and helps staff to cope better with working with complexity and disturbance in children. This boosts morale, increasing staff retention and lowering vacancy rates. For example, one clinical nurse specialist said:
“We have group supervision sessions monthly with our CPPT... one of the things the CAPT has done is strengthen relationships in the team. The CAPT has helped us deal with things better. We don’t get a moment to think about the enormity of what we’re dealing with – very sick children. These sessions enable us to take a moment to understand the impact on us.”
The emotional resilience the intensive CAPT training provides can be seen through much lower levels of ‘burnout’ than other professions though this is hard to evidence as CAPTs are not currently identified as a separate workforce in many NHS statistics.
Almost 90% of CAMHS professionals surveyed** who currently work with a CAPPT believe losing access to one would reduce their ability to offer effective, appropriate support to all the children they work with55. 80% said that they believed it to be “very important” to have a CAPPT working as part of the CAMHS team.
*Children’s Commissioner (2019) Childhood Vulnerability in England, accessed at: https://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/publication/childhood-vulnerability-in-england-2019/
**ACP (2017). Survey of 211 CAMHS professionals on the role and value of child psychotherapists.