Services

Individual therapy for children and adolescents

Individual therapy is a collaborative process aimed at helping children and adolescents work through a presenting problem, areas of challenge or need. It is an interactive space where common goals are set with the aim to inspire change, develop better coping skills or improve quality of life. Tailored to each child or teen's unique presentation and needs, individual therapy is offered in 50 min or 30 min blocks. Often, parents and caregivers, as experts of their own young people, are an integral part of this therapeutic process to optimise outcomes. A variety of therapeutic modalities are used including Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Play Therapy, Narrative therapy, Mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

Parental support and Family therapy

We all start life with a family, either composed of blood relatives, adopted parents, single parents or foster parents. Families influence all aspects of a child or adolescent's life including their sense of self, values, coping skills, habits and how one sees and experiences the world. Life is full of unexpected challenges and there will be times that families begin to struggle and experience difficulties. Nearly all families deal with some sort of dysfunction at one time or another, yet most families retain or regain a sense of wholeness and happiness.

Family therapy offers families a way to do this with a focus on developing and maintaining a healthy, functional family. It is a short-term intervention focused on helping family members improve communication and resolve conflicts. It often involves all members of a family or those willing to participate. Tailored treatment plans depending on your families' needs and situation will equip you skills to deepen family connections and get through stressful times, even after therapy sessions have ended.

Neuropsychological and Cognitive Assessment

Neuropsychological/cognitive assessments are focused on understanding the link between brain functioning, brain development and behaviour.

This specialised assessment helps parents and professionals in the young person's life to understand the things like how brain functioning may relate to problems seen at school, home, or with friends, how the child learns best, help a child deal with thinking or behaviour problems, identify neurological or psychiatric problems, help match expectations to a child’s specific strengths and weaknesses and work with other doctors and teachers to develop the best treatment and school plan for a child.

Neuropsychological/cognitive assessments are completed directly with the young person and involve examining thinking, behaviour, and social-emotional functioning using standardised tests and procedures which are tailored to each child or teen's unique needs. Collateral information from parents, teachers and other involved professionals is an important part of this evaluation. Areas measured  during an assessment tend to include intelligence (IQ), Executive function (problem solving, planning and organisation), attention and memory, language, processing speed, visual perception, motor abilities, impulsivity and academic skills. Questionnaires examining behaviour, emotional functioning and adaptive functioning are often included. 

Cognitive and neuropsychological assessments are helpful with a range of presenting concerns. These include:

  • A developmental or school problem such as learning disabilities, ADHD, ASD and other neurodevelopmental concerns.

  • Neurological disorders like hydrocephalus, cerebral palsy, epilepsy (seizures) and brain tumors.

  • A brain injury from a trauma to the head, stroke, lack of oxygen, or an infection.

  • Other medical problems such as prematurity, diabetes, chronic heart or breathing problems, certain genetic disorders, or treatment for childhood cancer.

  • Exposure to toxins, substance and alcohol. 

Neuropsychological/cognitive testing provides young people, parents, families, cargivers and involved professionals with helpful, hands-on and comprehensive recommendations to optimise brain functioning, behaviour emotional well-being and learning. They are also very handy to assist in acessing additional supportive resources for children and teens. 

About Lisa

Lisa is a highly experienced and passionate clinical and paediatric neuropsychologist who divides her time between clinical practice, specialised neuropsychological assessment, supervision/consulting and training. In her 13 years of clinical practice, she delivers a wide range of effective and tailored evidence based treatments to infants with new parents, children, adolescents and families with a wide range of emotional, behavioral, and adjustment challenges. Lisa has worked and continues to work across the public and private health sector in New Zealand  and abroad helping young people and their families live better lives. She has an extensive range of experience working not only with mental but also physical health. Lisa is passionate about helping children and their families cope with new diagnosis, treatment and loss. She is one of a small handful of registered neuropsychologists in New Zealand who specialises in paediatric neuropsychological assessment for children and adolescents. In this role, she has offered comprehensive assessment of individuals who have acquired and traumatic brain injuries. She has over 12 years of experience administering gold standard intellectual and learning measures and she prides herself in providing families with meaningful and comprehensive recommendations.

 

Lisa has held numerous leadership roles in her career including managing a clinical psychology internship site, heading up a family therapy clinic in a specialist quaternary hospital overseas, being the clinical lead of a regional CAMS service and establishing an effective neurodevelopmental and psychological follow-up program for children with Congenital Heart Disease. In her consulting work, she has provided intensive supervision over 8 years to many clinicians as they acquired skills to deliver effective psychological treatment to children, teens and families. Additionally, she has and continues to offer teaching to medical staff in peadiatric hospitals around child developmental, procedural anxiety, medical mediation and optimising childhood outcomes for children with significant medical conditions. She is as passionate about learning as she is about teaching and as such she regularly attends training workshops and short courses through universities to keep her skills current.

 

Lisa is eager to apply her experience and compassion with her clients as they begin to address issues that will help them to improve their quality of life and attain a sense of fulfillment.

 

© 2020 Lisa Da Rocha Optimise Psycholgy