We can offer various forms of psychological assessment. This could include a cognitive assessment of an adult, to explore whether they have learning disabilities, or a cognitive and/or developmental assessment of a child to look at whether there is global or specific delay. We can explore a particular area of concern or potential diagnosis (such as ADHD or Autistic Spectrum Conditions) or we can screen for mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, anger, low self-esteem. We can explore behaviour, and whether there is an underlying cause such as trauma, abuse or neglect. We can also describe personality traits and highlight any areas of concern in the mental health of parents, as well as checking how open and honest they are being and how well they relate to professionals.
Specialist interview techniques can be used in association with psychometric measures to explore adult’s attachment history and what they bring to parenting (for example in relation to a parent where the child is at risk of coming into care to know whether continued support is appropriate and how to target this, or whether adults who have put themselves forward to be foster or adoptive carers are appropriate). Similarly, specialist tools and techniques can be used with children to explore their perceptions of their family, whether they wish to disclose any abusive experiences, how they understand that parents behave and families function. This can guide whether intervention is necessary, the kind of placement and contact arrangements that might be suitable and whether therapy would be beneficial.
Court Expert Witness work
Dr Silver has written more than a hundred expert reports for the court over the past eleven years, increasingly specialising in assessments of children’s needs and parenting capacity in the context of Care Proceedings and complex custody disputes. We have received very positive feedback about our reports and testimony, and Dr Silver is confident at giving evidence.
We can provide assessments of a parent’s intellectual functioning, attachment history, personality, their ability to recognise a child’s needs, acknowledge concerns and work in co-operation with professionals. We also do assessments of children in which we can assess their intellectual and developmental level, attachment patterns, behaviour, mental health, and explore their views of family functioning. Assessments are also used to look at the relationship between parent and child, to inform placement choice, contact arrangements and advise professionals about mental health and therapeutic needs.
A consultation is a chance for a professional to discuss a case with a Clinical Psychologist with specialist expertise in relation to parenting, attachment relationships, child development, therapeutic needs, placement planning, contact arrangements and child and adolescent mental health issues. This can be used to help plan appropriate interventions, placement or contact plans, decide whether to instruct an expert and what to ask them, or to ensure that you have considered appropriate evidence before presenting a case to the courts. Consultations allow professionals to consider cases and can be attended by as many members of staff as you wish. Once a case is known to the psychologist it can also be appropriate to use a further consultation to help support or inform foster, adoptive or kinship carers about psychological issues. A letter can be provided summarising the discussion and advice given.
Teaching sessions can be offered to any team or group on subjects including attachment patterns, parenting children after abuse/neglect, child development, autistic spectrum disorders, child mental health, different types of therapy, etc. Teaching can be pitched at any level and be made as interactive or didactic as you wish. The audience can be as large or small as you wish.
In a time when outcome measurements and evidence of effectiveness determine who wins contracts, where young people are placed and how services are funded, gathering and evaluating research data in a meaningful way is key. At LifePsychol we are able to offer research and audit services to evaluate your service and evidence outcome effectiveness, staff knowledge or milieu. For example, we are able to help evaluate whether the service offered by a specialist provider of residential or foster placements has additional qualities or better outcomes compared to ‘standard’ Local Authority services. We are able to help evaluate how children change during the course of placements, the quality of parent/carer-child relationships, the knowledge of staff and the way that they manage challenging behaviour and perceive their working environment.
We can create individualised research/audit plans for your service, and can also create online systems to produce individualised reports about the needs of children in placement based on their scores on questionnaires exploring areas of need. The cost of this will vary according to the service required, so please do not hesitate to discuss the options available with us. We are also keen to collaborate to apply for research grants for more innovative projects.