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Paediatric psychology department

Why has my child been referred to Paediatric Psychology?

The medical professional treating your child at Sheffield Children’s Hospital should always discuss a referral with you before it is sent to us.

They may recommend a referral to Paediatric Psychology for a variety of reasons such as:

  • difficulties adjusting to illness
  • issues around adherence or compliance with a course of treatment
  • anxieties or fears relating to an illness, treatment or procedure
  • physical problems made worse by worries
  • coping with medically unexplained symptoms

As a parent you might have worries about:

  • your child’s health, development and emotional wellbeing
  • difficulties with relationships within the family due to an illness
  • managing children’s behaviour in the context of an illness

For more information about coming to the hospital, group interventions, an introduction to paediatric psychology, and long-term health conditions, please visit our video playlist.

Who is in the team?

Our team is made up of clinical psychologists, family therapists, trainee clinical psychologists and an assistant psychologist. We also have input from a psychiatrist.

Many departments and services in Sheffield Children’s Hospital have their own dedicated clinical psychologists. This means that children and their families can meet with a psychologist who has specialist knowledge of particular conditions and treatments, and is used to talking with patients, parents and siblings who have been through similar experiences.

What will happen at the first meeting?

The first session is an assessment where we hear what you are struggling with and think about what would be the most helpful for you. This will involve asking some questions about your life to gather information, and hear from you as a family how you have coped so far.

Your first appointment will last around 1 to 1.5 hours, and up to 1 hour for further sessions.


It is helpful if all parents and caregivers can come to the first meeting so we can get everyone’s views on what is happening

What sort of help can be offered?

To keep the waiting times to a minimum, you may be offered further appointments with different psychologists to those who assessed you. Any support offered will be tailored to suit your needs. It may be working with parents, the whole family or with your child alone. We use a number of different psychological therapies, creative techniques, work with medical teams and schools and carry out neuropsychological assessments when needed. We also run a number of workshops and groups which we may invite you or your child to attend.

Sometimes 1 appointment is enough, and for other families more sessions are needed. This will vary on an individual basis.

We do
  • Like to talk to you
  • Ask about any difficulties you have
  • Ask about friends, hobbies, home and school
  • Play activities and games
We do not
  • Give you medicine or injections
  • Read minds
  • Wear white coats
  • Diagnose mental health disorders

Are our discussions confidential?

As NHS practitioners, we have strict rules about confidentiality and do not discuss your child’s difficulties with anyone other than your GP and the doctor or medical team who referred you.

If we feel it would be helpful to discuss or pass on information to anyone else such as your child’s school, we will ask your permission. If we are working with an older child or teenager, we may agree that most of what is said to us is private but that important issues are shared with parents.


We do have a responsibility to protect children from harm. We are legally and morally bound to disclose any information regarding children at risk to relevant agencies.

Travel costs

If you receive certain benefits, you are entitled to claim for your bus or tram fares. To find out which benefits are eligible, what information is needed to process a claim and further information, visit the travel expenses webpage.

Complaints and feedback

If you are unhappy with anything, please let us know and we will do our best to put things right. We welcome suggestions and feedback from parents, carers and children. Your views are very important to us. Please share them with us rather than leaving your meeting feeling unhappy.

If you would like to talk to a practitioner before your first appointment, please contact us. More information is available on the psychology service webpage.

Contact us

For any queries, questions or more information, please call us on: 0114 271 7296

Where can I find you?

Paediatric Psychology Department
3 Northumberland Road
S10 2TT

Is something missing from this resource that you think should be included? Please let us know

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: PSY1

Resource Type: Article

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Western Bank
S10 2TH

United Kingdom

Switchboard: 0114 271 7000

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