Dr Charlotte Cousins
I am a Chartered Clinical Psychologist, registered with the Health Care Professionals Council. I am a Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society, the Division of Clinical Psychology and the Faculty of Perinatal Psychology.
I have worked in the NHS and third sector organisations since 2012. During this time, I have gained comprehensive experience working in a variety of settings, including:
- Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services
- A Therapeutic Community for Looked After Children
- Primary Care Talking Therapy Services for Adults
- A Rehabilitation and Recovery Inpatient Unit for Adults experiencing Psychosis
- An Assertive Outreach Team for Adults experiencing Psychosis
- Older Adult Mental Health, Memory and Dementia Services
- A Community Learning Disability Health Service
- Perinatal Mental Health Services, including a Mother and Baby Inpatient Unit and Specialist Mother and Infant Mental Health Community Teams
My specialist area of interest and clinical practice is working with individuals, couples and families during pregnancy and the early years of their child’s life. I gained experience of working with this client group during my training and subsequent clinical experience within the NHS. I have also undertaken specialist training in clinical psychological practice in the perinatal period. Furthermore, my PhD research looked at the process of forming a relationship between mother and child in interracial families.
I offer support to children, parents and families, the reasons people may come to see me include:
- Support for parents, couples and families
- Difficulty adjusting to becoming a parent, including during pregnancy
- Preparation for birth
- Difficulties with family life, including helping children adjust to the introduction of a new sibling
- Mental health difficulties during pregnancy and the early years of their child’s life
- Difficulties in bonding and attachment
- Support for children and their families
- Social and emotional difficulties
- A lack of confidence or self esteem
- Separation anxiety
- Anxiety (including worry, panic attacks, obsessions and compulsions)
- Traumatic experiences
- Sleep difficulties
- Low mood and depression
- School-based difficulties (e.g. peer relationships, bullying, social media issues, attendance, examination stress/anxiety)
- Adaptation to life events (e.g. the arrival of siblings, divorce, bereavement, chronic illness)
How it works
When you first make contact, we will arrange a convenient time for us to talk on the phone, during which we can privately discuss your concerns. I will ask about the difficulties you or your child or family are experiencing, some background information and what you hope I will able to help you with. This will give us the chance to think about the type of therapy that will best suit your needs and whether I am the best person to provide this.
We will then meet for an assessment session, this will enable us to have a more in-depth discussion about the difficulties you, your family or child are experiencing. Together we will identify a shared understanding of what has led to the difficulties developing, what is keeping them going, what the focus of our sessions will be, some goals for the work and the approach that we will take together to achieve these goals. We can also plan how many sessions we will have together, this would usually be between 6-12 sessions with a review at the 6th session. However, we can discuss this together and create a plan that suits your needs and preferences.
Working with children
Before starting therapy with your child, it may be necessary to gather information from other sources, this may include an observation of your child in their school, nursery, or home as well as input from other professionals and/or the use of psychological testing. If this is deemed necessary, we would discuss this together and you would be consulted about this process before any information is requested or shared with third parties.
When working with young children I engage them using play, this is to help them express their feelings and concerns in an age-appropriate way. I also use a strengths-based approach, ensuring I start by getting to know the child, their hobbies, interests and strengths before exploring the difficulties they are facing. Parents will usually be present for these sessions so that they can support their child through the work and help them implement the work at home. This is because we can often use their hobbies, interests and strengths to help them engage in the therapy process and enable us to identify creative and unique ways for them to overcome the difficulties they are facing.
I draw on my training and clinical experience to help identify evidence-based approaches to use with the children and families I work with. However, I believe that individuals and families are the experts on their lives and therefore play a central role in identifying the solutions to the difficulties they experience. I endeavour to work collaboratively with each individual and family, acknowledging and drawing on their experiences, skills, resources and strengths.
The sessions tend to occur face to face for 50 minutes, usually on a weekly or fortnightly basis. A person-centred, integrative approach is used to ensure that the approach is informed by the evidence base but adapted to meet your individual circumstances and needs. I tend to draw on cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and third-wave CBT approaches, such as Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). I also use post-modernist systemic approaches, drawing on solution-focused and narrative therapy.
What we discuss within our meetings is strictly confidential, the only exception to this is if I have concerns about your safety or the safety of anyone around you. If this is the case, I will need to discuss this with professionals from other external agencies. If this is deemed necessary, I will make every effort to ensure that this process is as transparent as possible and that you are aware of and involved in these discussions as much as is possible and appropriate.
I keep written records of each session, this is kept securely and is for my use only. The details will not be passed on to anyone else without your permission. I may discuss aspects of our work with colleagues during professional supervision but will keep identifying details anonymously.