Paediatric clinical psychologists have specialist knowledge in child development and emotional and behavioural difficulties in children. They have expertise in working with children and families who are having to adjust to difficult situations such as physical illness.

Coping with illness and hospital procedures and being away from home can be very stressful for everyone. We work with patients and their families to help them to cope with the practical and emotional demands of having a medical condition that needs hospitalisation and to minimize the stress caused by illness and medical procedures. Psychologists do not prescribe medication and do not perform any physical examinations but we will work closely with the other health care professionals involved in your child’s care. We may see you at any time from before admission, while you are an inpatient, during treatment or after treatment is over and we might continue to see you as an outpatient or refer you on to your local service when you leave our hospital.

You may wish to meet with the psychologist on a one-off occasion, arrange a series of appointments or talk on the phone. Parents can have time for themselves if there are things they want to talk about without their children being present, and young people can also be seen without their parents if this is what they prefer.

The psychologist will have to tell the doctors that they are seeing your child but the details of what is discussed can be confidential. The exception to this would be if we became worried that your child was at risk, when we would be legally bound to contact the relevant agencies.

Examples of the sorts of topics a paediatric clinical psychologist can help with:

  • dealing with upsetting news
  • emotional difficulties relating to medical treatments and their effects
  • psychological approaches to pain management
  • managing anxiety and fear of illness, hospitals and medical procedures
  • managing stress
  • coping with friendships and other relationships
  • feeling different
  • feeling sad
  • talking over worries and finding solutions
  • finding ways to juggle illness and everyday life
  • learning to swallow tablets
  • school difficulties
  • answering questions asked by the child and others about their illness
  • providing parents with support to deal with their child’s difficulties
  • the needs of the whole family including brothers and sisters.

The Consultant Paediatric Clinical Psychologist at the RNOH is Dr Chirag Gorasia. He works on the ward and in the Outpatient department.

If you would like to make an appointment to see him or talk to him on the phone, you can contact his secretary Zohra Patel on 020 8909 5871.