New clinic delivers vital support

21 May, 2018
New clinic delivers vital support
Dianne Lummis (Programme Leader, Child and Adolescent Psychology) and Mariana Torkington (Lecturer, Psychotherapy and Counselling).

The School of Public Health and Psychosocial Studies has launched a new psychotherapy clinic dedicated to improving the mental and emotional wellbeing of children and their families on the North Shore and greater Auckland area.

Building upon the success of AUT’s existing psychotherapy unit, the new clinic is housed at the same location at North Campus (AR138) and staffed by senior students under the supervision of experienced lecturers. This combination of expertise and child psychologists learning their trade allows the clinic to offer affordable therapy to children and families who may not otherwise be able to access help.

“The number of children and young people with psychological and emotional disturbance is growing, but this growth is not matched by the number of specialised psychotherapists trained and experienced in this work,” explains Dianne Lummis, Programme Leader, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy at AUT’s School of Public Health and Psychosocial Studies.

“This clinic will benefit the greater Auckland community and New Zealand by serving as a learning environment for specialist trainee child psychotherapists who are much needed, but few and far between.”

When it comes to the mental wellbeing of children and adolescents, leaving psychological conditions untreated can lead to severe problems in later life.

While existing child and adolescent mental health services tend to focus on the severe end of the spectrum, the new clinic will concentrate on early intervention and work with children with moderate conditions.

“Conditions such as anxiety, depression, behavioural disturbances or social disconnection can all too easily progress to patterns of behaviour that affect current and future relationships, lead to self-harm and harm of others, and substance abuse, as well as problems learning, working or living in the community,” says Lummis.

“Children who do not receive adequate care and parenting in their childhood, are at an extreme disadvantage when trying to parent their own children. These difficulties and disturbances are then passed to the next generation. That’s why it’s so important to nip these conditions in the bud and that’s what this new clinic is designed to do.”