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Psychological needs

Although many people born with a cleft lip and / or palate have no psychological problems, some can experience difficulties. Our clinical psychologists offer time to discuss concerns about development, behaviour, and self-image, and about how problems in these areas may be affecting life in the family, in the wider social world, and at school.

What is a clinical psychologist?

Clinical psychologists have extensive training and experience in working with children, adults and families. They are specialists in dealing with a wide range of emotional issues. This is done through assessment, talking therapies and one-off consultations. Clinical psychologists are not medical doctors. They do not carry out physical examinations or prescribe medication.

Who we support and what we do

At the Spires Cleft Centre, our clinical psychologists see patients of all ages (be it children and young adults or adults), parents and families.

We can offer you and your family support at whatever stage of treatment it may be needed. We are available to discuss the emotional impact of being born with a cleft lip and / or palate, as well as how that affects your child’s appearance or speech. We will work with you and your child to help you all cope with these changes and to improve your shared quality of life.

Our work may include the following:

  • Advice about how to manage day to day emotional problems or worries associated with your child’s cleft lip and / or palate.
  • Psychological therapy to help with adjusting to a visible change in appearance, as well as adjustment to having been born with a cleft lip and / or palate (such as managing uncertainty, coping with the responses of other people, self-confidence and self-esteem).
  • Supporting your child and family with decision-making about surgery.
  • Preparing your child and family for surgical procedures.
  • Working with other medical colleagues, your child’s school or nursery and child services (if required).
  • Carrying out developmental and cognitive assessments to help understand your child’s progress and learning.

Moving up to secondary school transition packs

Cleft psychologists working in the UK have developed some resources for parents and children to help with the transition from primary to secondary school. We are aware that moving up to secondary school can be a very daunting experience, for many different reasons, and therefore we have pulled together some ideas on how to manage some of the situations that may arise, such as being asked questions about your cleft. The aim of the pack is to help young people and parents feel more confident about moving to secondary school and have some strategies ready should they need them. We hope the resources are of help and as always please feel free to contact the Oxford or Salisbury Psychology Team if you require any further support.

MOVING UP – Children

MOVING UP – Parents/Carers

Meet the team

Oxford clinical psychologists | Salisbury clinical psychologists