I am Dr Sheila Redfern PhD, consultant clinical child and adolescent psychologist and author of Reflective Parenting. I have been practising for over 30 years with children, young people and parents and carers in the field of mental health. I am here to support your child or young person's well-being.
I previously worked in the NHS as a consultant in CAMHS services, supporting children, young people and their families with a wide range of mental health difficulties. I work within an evidence-based framework of assessment and intervention and have extensive experience of supporting the mental health needs of children and young people from a wide range of backgrounds and with different abilities.
I have managed CAMHS teams, including work with under 5s and adolescents. I have a specialist interest and expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of children and young people with autism and also in working with attachment difficulties. I support parents and carers in bringing about a closer connection between them and their child where they have difficulties in the attachment relationship. I am a specialist in working with fostering and adoptive families.
I have developed a model of mentalization based parenting, Reflective Parenting, which I both deliver as an intervention and train other professionals and teams to deliver. When I am not working in private practice, I am Head of Family Trauma at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, a children's mental health charity.
As a clinical psychologist with extensive experience of treating the whole range of psychological difficulties in children and young people, I am committed to helping people to reach their full potential through an improvement in their emotional and behavioural wellbeing. Whilst I do this through my own direct work, I also believe strongly in the role of parents and carers in supporting their child's emotional and behavioural development as they are the main agents of change. My work therefore focuses both on the child or young person and on supporting the parent or carer to maintain their child's mental health.
Redfern psychology provide both specialist psychological assessment and evidence-based treatments for a wide range of difficulties in children and adolescents (aged 0-18) and their parents and/or carers including:
Panic attacks & panic disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Peer relationship difficulties
Parent-infant attachment difficulties
Examination/college or school stress
Emerging personality disorder
Assessment of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD)
Support to foster carers and adoptive parents
Unsure whether we can help you? Simply email or call and leave a message. I may get back to you quicker by email due to the high volume of calls I receive. I am highly experienced in the assessment and treatment of attachment disorders and in promoting reflective parenting. National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) evidenced treatments are used including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Mentalization Based Treatment (MBT) and Video Interaction Guidance (VIG).
Legal Services, looked after children and adopted children and families
I, Dr. Sheila Redfern have over 20 years’ experience of the assessment of children involved in care proceedings. I will provide reports for court for children in civil, criminal and family cases. These reports are based on a thorough assessment of the child and family involved and careful review of the court (deleted bundle of) documents.
At Redfern Psychology I provide an assessment and intervention service for those children who are either in the care system, subject to child protection and in need of parent-child intervention or post adoption and living with their forever family.
Children in care and post adoption are likely to experience greater than average difficulties with their mental health. Adoptive parents and foster carers are also more likely to struggle in understanding and meeting these needs, and deserve a high level of expert support.
Families often receive financial support for this treatment via the Adoptive Support Fund (ASF). I am a registered practitioner with the ASF.
At Redfern Psychology I provide:
All of the above work is carried out with a view to stabilise placements or family relationships.
Reflective Parenting is a parenting intervention and model of parenting which applies theoretical ideas from mentalization, attachment theory and reflective functioning in promoting positive outcomes for children’s emotional and behavioural wellbeing. It is offered only to parents, not children or young people. Although originally developed with primary age school children in mind, it has also been successfully applied to work with parents of pre-school children and adolescents and used with adoptive parents and carers.
This training will introduce the Reflective Parenting model, innovated and delivered by Dr Sheila Redfern and a colleague. It will focus on the practical application of Reflective Parenting in both a group setting and in individual work with parents. Participants will be coached in using a range of mentalizing tools unique to the Reflective Parenting model, helping parents to connect with their children in positive and meaningful ways. Bespoke training can be tailored to the specific needs of the group and the population of infants, young children or young people they work with.
The Reflective Parenting Group is an 8-week closed group (meaning people can’t drop in and out) for a maximum of 12 participants. The group provides both psychoeducation (there are slides and discussion points) and active support (sharing stories and struggles as well as successes with other parents). Reflective Parenting is also offered as an intervention to individuals.
Consultation and Supervision
I, Dr Sheila Redfern, provide consultation to teams and individual professionals working in the field of child mental health, education and social care. I am qualified to supervisor level in Reflective Parenting, Reflective Fostering consultation and in Mentalization Based Treatment for Adolescents (MBTA). Practitioners in these fields wishing to receive accredited supervision are welcome to get in touch.
What people say about Dr Sheila Redfern and Redfern Psychology
“Sheila's amazing insight and grasp of the human psyche, her calm manner and her grounding presence are helping me to finally get to grips with the anxiety which controls me when I am in close relationships. It's been amazing to learn how the difficulties I first thought were unique to my son, were actually borne out of my own anxiety and that by working with Sheila I am not only helping my son but also my own relationship, particularly with my partner.”
— Parent of 9 year old
“Very good training. Relaxed but informative, plenty of experiential learning and time for discussion. I left feeling I learned a great deal, which I am keen to put into practice.”
“As an adoptive parent, I don’t know what I would do without Sheila’s support. There are days when it all seems too overwhelming, then I have my session and I feel recharged and ready to face the day.”
“Sheila’s diagnosis of our son has helped us to get the kind of understanding and, hopefully, future support we’ve been wanting for years. Finally, we have an explanation of why he sees the world the way he does. Also, we realized it’s not just us! Just having this understanding has already changed how we are with each other as a family, for the better.”
— Parent of a teenager with ASD
A Clinical Psychologist is like a therapist, so the work together involves talking and, for younger children, playing. Together we work on emotions and behavior, until they become much easier to manage. A psychiatrist is trained as a doctor and can prescribe medication. Sometimes they might also be therapists and they work with higher risk young people.
It depends. After a first consultation/assessment, a treatment plan will be drawn up. Generally, I see people every fortnight for at least 6 sessions. After this we review. Some children, young people and parents need longer term work, and I am happy to offer this for as long as it is needed. I like to encourage children and young people to be able to manage their difficulties without my help in the long term as I like to encourage my clients to learn skills they can apply for the rest of their lives, without needing paid support.
An initial consultation is charged at £175 for one and a half hour appointment. Subsequent appointments are charged at £125 for 50 minutes.
This is a competitive fee, given my experience as a consultant clinical psychologist for nearly 30 years, but I try to make my services available to a wide range of clients. Some people will be able to use health insurance to cover the cost of the appointments and adoptive parents can access the Adoption Support Fund, as I am a registered and recognised practitioner with the ASF.
Please note that there is a 48-hour cancellation policy for all sessions. I have a limited number of spaces available for lower fee paying clients.
An ASD assessment costs £1500. This involves a number of clinical appointments with the child/young person and separate appointments for the parent/carer. I use standardized measures; the ADOS (for the child/young person) and ADI for parents. I liaise with the school or college and write a diagnostic report with recommendations for support where a diagnosis is made.
The 50-minute sessions involve talking, playing and being curious about how things look and feel from the child or young person’s perspective, as well as from the parents. With my support, we start to work out, a bit like detectives together, where the difficulties are coming from and why they are causing distress. With younger children this can be done through play and drawing, alongside talking. We will set goals for treatment and regularly review these together.
The sessions take place either face to face in my garden office, which is well ventilated and allows for 2-meter distancing, or online using either Zoom or Teams. It is preferable to have some face to face contact if possible as this builds a stronger connection.