Areas of Expertise
I have extensive experience treating children and teenagers with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and previously collaborated on establishing a specialist Neurodiversity clinic within the NHS. Symptoms of ADHD in children are often misunderstood, which is why a thorough and accurate diagnosis is essential. Rather than displaying hyperactivity, many children with ADHD may have difficulty controlling their emotions, experience mood swings, or daydream persistently. However, an ADHD diagnosis is not necessarily a barrier to success because each child will demonstrate unique strengths that allow them to succeed in their own way.
When treating ADHD in children and teenagers, I believe that a holistic treatment package has the power to go beyond simply treating symptoms and enhance the quality of life for a young person. Firstly, psychoeducation is crucial for helping you and your child to understand their symptoms better. I also ensure that school advice is an integral part of a treatment plan. Regarding medication, I take a highly nuanced approach tailored to your child’s symptoms and areas of difficulty. I always discuss the possible benefits and side effects of medication with the child and their parents so that your family can make a fully informed decision.
Working with children with ADHD is a highly rewarding experience as once they receive the right treatment and support, they begin to experience dramatic improvements in areas such as their mood, home life, school performance, peer friendships and self-esteem.
Mood and Anxiety disorders
When a young person experiences symptoms of depression or anxiety, it can make them feel scared or embarrassed about discussing their symptoms with their parents or a psychiatrist. Some children may believe that negative thoughts and feelings are a normal part of growing up, which may make them feel ashamed, guilty, or hopeless. Sometimes this can manifest as acting out at home and school, withdrawing from relationships or losing motivation in their hobbies or interests. Understandably, this is incredibly worrying for parents, but I want to reassure you that these conditions are treatable and seeking support early in your child’s development will benefit them greatly.
I will do my utmost to help you and your child feel like themselves again and reconnect with their inner sense of curiosity and joy. In addition to treating the symptoms, my goal is to uncover your child’s identity and understand their life story so that I can help your child to rebuild their self-esteem, resilience and confidence. I will also take into account their stage of development, hormonal changes, school environment, lifestyle and other potential factors contributing to their symptoms. I find that taking a holistic approach to treatment is the best way to help young people and their families navigate the ups and downs of growing up functionally without feeling overshadowed or constrained by a diagnosis.
Much of my clinical work has been dedicated to helping children with complex conditions overcome trauma, working across multiple national specialist NHS Trusts and inpatient units. I also regularly prepare medico-legal reports for complex cases where trauma has been an underlying theme for a young person.
I understand that many young people may feel anxious or fearful about the idea of speaking to a psychiatrist about experiences that have caused so much suffering and distress. Parents of children with complex trauma may often feel a sense of loss and grief about their child. Before exploring the cause, I believe it’s important to reduce the level of distress the child and their family is experiencing. This often reduces the stress and anxiety associated with treatment and makes the exploration process feel more meaningful, safe and supportive.
The diagnosis and treatment of complex trauma can be complicated, as the symptoms are a culmination of significant and extensive emotional upheaval. Children may present in many ways and show many different symptoms, so it’s crucial to understand the cause and avoid incorrect diagnoses. I also consider the role of attachment and any other conditions that could be associated with the trauma. I undertake a detailed assessment and approach treatment holistically, helping the whole family to rebuild their life tapestry while negotiating the trauma.
My approach to treatment
I understand that seeking mental health treatment for your child can be a challenging step to undertake. As a parent myself, I want you to know that it is okay to feel nervous, upset or confused about what is happening to your child. However, as a psychiatrist, I want to reassure you that seeking treatment is the first step in reducing the distress your child and your family have been managing alone.
My approach to treating mental health difficulties in young people emphasises the importance of treating them as a whole person. I find this helps to prevent their symptoms from becoming compartmentalised into different domains and treated in isolation. I aim to develop a global understanding of your child and their experiences through a supportive, kind, and compassionate therapeutic relationship.
“In one word, this ideal is that you are divine" is a quote from Swami Vivekananda that encompasses my child-centred, holistic approach principles. In this way, each young person feels heard and has their difficulties identified, without being defined by them.
Before the first consultation, I’ll take the time to explore your child’s likes, dislikes and preferences so that they feel as comfortable and safe as possible during the session. This might include adding toys the child likes to the consultation room, playing games they enjoy or discussing their favourite films. I will also ask the parents or child’s carer how they would like to structure the consultation, as you may want to avoid discussing certain things that could make your child feel upset or anxious.
When assessing and diagnosing conditions, I follow National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines and provide psychoeducation throughout the assessment process. Providing psychoeducation at such an early stage is incredibly beneficial, as it allows us to discuss misconceptions about the possible condition and uncommon symptoms. I believe that a comprehensive assessment with a child-centred approach is vital to form the basis of any treatment plan. Exploring and understanding all aspects of your child’s life through a non-judgemental and open dialogue allows me to create a highly personalised and sophisticated treatment plan that benefits the whole family.
To create a personalised treatment plan, I use a variety of complementary evidence-based approaches, which may include:
● Psychoeducation: information about the condition to help families to work together constructively and manage symptoms more effectively.
● Parenting strategies: individualised parenting training advice specific to your child’s condition and symptoms, which can be integrated into your child’s sessions or conducted separately according to your preferences.
● Psychotherapy: I will integrate elements from different psychotherapy approaches into psychiatric care depending on the child’s needs. For example, CBT can be helpful for children with anxiety in recognising and identifying negative thoughts, while DBT-informed techniques can help with distress tolerance for children with complex trauma.
● Lifestyle: I provide evidence-based recommendations around diet and nutrition, healthy routines, physical activity, technology use, and female health.
● Technology & behavioural interventions: Besides exploring hobbies, activities and interests that can promote your child’s mental health, I find that technology can be particularly beneficial in specific approaches to encourage positive behaviour change.
I am passionate about a child’s journey to wellness being embedded within a sound evidence base and have published journal articles on the relationship between mental and physical health. I regularly keep up to date with the latest research and studies in peer-reviewed journals, such as The British Journal of Psychiatry, so that I can provide the most effective treatment to children and their families.
I believe medication can be an incredibly useful part of a treatment plan as long as it is intertwined within a wider holistic approach. After the first assessment, I’ll discuss medication options if I believe that medication would be helpful and explain the potential benefits and side effects. I encourage open discussion about medication between family members, as any difference in opinion should be considered before making a decision.
My goal is always to reduce side effects and limit the dosage and number of medications as much as possible so the effect of the medication is clear. Once the impact or benefit of the medication is apparent, we can discuss whether to continue with the medication and for how long. My extensive experience as a consultant at specialty inpatient units has equipped me with a high level of expertise in adjusting and combining medication dosages to maximise benefits and mitigate the risks of side effects and distressing symptoms.
Education & Training
I’m a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, with full CCT, registered as a specialist in this field with the General Medical Council (GMC, UK) and I am a member of The Royal College of Psychiatrists (London, UK). I’ve worked within child and adolescent psychiatry since 2015, during which time I’ve held multiple roles in high-risk and varied clinical settings, including, within national specialist teams and inpatient units. My high-level education and training in complex cases equipped me with the unique capability to develop agile treatment plans that mitigate risks while carefully honing treatment to each child’s needs.
In my most recent position at the Huntercombe Maidenhead Hospital Adolescent Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit, I was able to attain the post of Medical Director within six months of becoming a Consultant. As the Medical Director, I led the redevelopment and improvement of clinical systems and processes using ‘change leadership’ to implement more nuanced and evidence-based care for children. Before this, I worked as a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at the Priory Hospital in Southampton, where I established an “in house” Neurodevelopmental clinic helping children of various ages and backgrounds. Across both services I have treated very complex presentations whilst supporting both child and family.
Regarding my education, I completed my higher training at the prestigious South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust in 2020, one of the top training schemes for psychiatry globally. I worked within National and Specialist Teams at the King’s College Hospital Paediatric Liaison Unit, the Conduct Adoption and Fostering Team, and Snowsfields Adolescent Unit. I undertook my medical training at the University of Leicester.
Alongside my clinical work, I’m passionate about mental health research and have published multiple clinical case reports in psychiatry journals and presented at several mental health symposiums and conferences.
When I am not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, travelling, walking, hiking, and watching films from various countries.
Growing up in a migrant family has helped me understand first-hand the fears and narratives around mental health. I am fluent in English and Punjabi. The ability to converse in more than one language has influenced my core belief of unity through diversity or “as human beings, there is more that unites us than divides us.”