Areas of expertise
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD/ADD)
As a psychiatrist with a wealth of experience assessing and treating ADHD, I understand this condition often involves more than just difficulties with concentration, physical hyperactivity, and impulsivity. My time at the National and Specialist Child and Adolescent Centre for Autism and Associated Neurodevelopmental Conditions at the Maudsley Hospital has allowed me to gain expertise in this area. I have seen firsthand that young people with ADHD may present with various emotional and behavioural difficulties, such as difficulty managing their emotions and exhibiting challenging behaviour. It is also worth noting that girls with ADHD may have a distinct set of symptoms which may not be immediately apparent. When assessing these young people, my approach is to carefully consider these intricacies and nuances to support them in better understanding their difficulties and themselves. During an assessment, I aim to highlight their strengths to create a positive experience where the young person leaves feeling heard, confident in themselves, and hopeful.
In terms of managing ADHD, I believe it is important to adopt a collaborative approach. This means that I work closely with the young person and their family to provide comprehensive education about the diagnosis and treatment options. My treatment plans are designed to be holistic, addressing the young person's needs and considering their values. I may recommend lifestyle interventions based on the child's specific needs, such as addressing relationship or sleep problems, and may also suggest referrals to other healthcare professionals, such as psychologists and occupational therapists.
Regarding medication for ADHD, my approach is considered and tailored to the young person's individual needs. I take into account the specific areas of difficulty and the unique set of needs of each individual and thoughtfully discuss the potential side effects and benefits of medication. I also aim to optimise the timing of the medication around meals and other daily activities. I strive to provide evidence-based recommendations whilst staying mindful of the values and perspectives of the young person and their family and work collaboratively with them to determine the best course of action.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
While ASD has gained some recognition in popular media, there is often less appreciation for the range of presentations within the spectrum. This can lead to misdiagnosis and a misunderstanding of the underlying causes of a young person's emotional and behavioural difficulties. Similar to ADHD, ASD may be overlooked in girls due to the variation in presentation. As a psychiatrist with extensive clinical experience in assessing and treating children and adolescents with ASD, including at the National and Specialist Child and Adolescent Centre for Autism and Associated Neurodevelopmental Conditions at the Maudsley Hospital, I am well-equipped to approach assessments with curiosity and compassion. I’m also trained and certified to use the Autism Observation Diagnostic Schedule, which helps me to understand the intricacies and nuances of each individual's presentation. I always aim to ensure the young person feels heard, understood, and safe.
First assessments can be intimidating, with uncertainty about what might happen and the potential implications of the diagnosis (or lack thereof). However, it's important to remember that conditions like ASD are simply that - conditions - and they can coexist with strengths and unique ways of thinking. Following an assessment, my approach is to work collaboratively with the young person and their family to develop a bespoke, holistic care package that considers their views and values and effectively addresses all of their needs. This may involve referrals to a multi-disciplinary team of professionals, such as psychologists, occupational therapists, and speech and language therapists, as well as interventions focused on sensory needs and positive behaviour support plans for challenging behaviour. I always begin this process by providing education about the diagnosis, different options for support and sharing evidence-based practice with the young person and their family.
Mood and Anxiety Disorders
Childhood and adolescence can be a tumultuous time, and for some young people, negative thoughts and feelings become so overwhelming they feel unable to cope. This may leave them feeling guilty and ashamed, and families can feel isolated. I have extensive experience in assessing and treating children and adolescents with mood or anxiety disorders, such as depression, bipolar, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorders, or social anxiety. My compassionate and thoughtful approach to assessment focuses on ensuring the young person feels safe and validated, assuring them this is a non-judgmental and supportive space and allowing them to feel confident to open up. I appreciate how difficult it is for young people and their families to seek help at these times, and I am mindful of making the experience as smooth as possible.
As always, my approach to treatment is to work collaboratively with young people and their families. I believe it’s crucial to establish a nuanced understanding of the complex interplay of the various psychological and environmental features influencing a young person’s symptoms. Secondly, I develop a holistic care package that addresses the child and their family’s specific needs, considering their preferences and values. If symptoms are moderate or severe, I will offer medication options where indicated, alongside a referral to a psychologist for specialist therapy. I also recommend lifestyle interventions that are easy for families to implement and tailored to the child’s routine and schedule.
My approach to treatment
Seeking help is a significant step for any person, even more so when seeking help for your child. I understand how frightening the experience of speaking to someone you do not know about your, or your loved one's, most personal matters can be. It is my privilege to be given your trust. I offer you a safe and supportive environment, free of judgement, because I am committed to understanding your concerns and ensuring you receive the help that is there for you.
I appreciate how daunting the first consultation may seem, and I will aim to ensure you feel safe and supported to share your concerns. I approach each young person’s mental health difficulties, whether emotional or behavioural or both, with a compassionate curiosity, appreciating that despite my extensive expert skills and knowledge, the experience and circumstances for each young person and their family are distinct. In doing so, my goal is to make you feel safe and empowered to share what has led you to seek help.
I will spend our time in the first consultation exploring your concerns and developing a better understanding of your child more broadly. It may feel overwhelming to share everything about yourself in one consultation, but I am open to working collaboratively with you. I am committed to providing a safe and supportive environment where the whole family feels understood and comfortable sharing any difficulties.
Personalised treatment plans
My extensive clinical experience, including with national and specialist services, accompanied by my training in various psychotherapeutic approaches, allows me to develop highly personalised treatment plans tailored to the specific needs of the young person and their family. My treatment plans are a collaborative process incorporating your beliefs and values alongside using the latest evidence and National Institute of Clinical Excellence guidelines. I truly believe it is crucial to understand and include the child and their family's unique ways of being in any treatment plan to ensure it is as effective and impactful as possible.
Although I’m not a psychologist, I will often integrate psychotherapy principles and provide education surrounding different approaches as part of treatment. If I believe a course of therapy sessions would be helpful, I will discuss the options with you before making a referral to the most appropriate specialist for your child. In developing a holistic care package, I emphasise integrating lifestyle interventions by providing evidence-based and expert advice on healthy routines, sleep, exercise, and social support.
I appreciate how difficult decisions around medication can be for young people and their families. My approach to prescribing medication is to ensure the parents and child (if they are old enough to be involved) are fully informed with the latest evidence, research and recommendations for treatment. I believe there is a beneficial role for medication, and I will support young people and their families to reach a decision that is best for them. I will ensure you are aware of both the benefits and the side effects of medications, as well as details on how long medication should be taken for, and how to maximise the efficacy. While I am confident in sharing my expert guidance, I ensure young people and their families feel empowered in their decision-making capabilities when choosing to take medication.
Education & Training
I’m a Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist with eight years of clinical experience in psychiatry. I’m registered with the General Medical Council (GMC, UK) and the Royal College of Psychiatrists (London, UK). In addition to seeing patients in private practice, I currently work as a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist with the South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.
I completed my psychiatry training with the prestigious Maudsley Hospital and gained a wealth of expertise working across several national and specialist child and adolescent mental health services. Some of the centres I have previously worked in include the National and Specialist Child and Adolescent Centre for Autism and Associated Neurodevelopmental Disorders, the National and Specialist Child and Adolescent Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Related Disorders Service, and the National and Specialist Child & Adolescent Eating Disorders Service. Before specialising in psychiatry, I completed my medical training at University College London.
Alongside my clinical work, I’m involved in several child and adolescent mental health research pieces. This includes working with an international research team to conduct a systematic review of risk factors for self-harm and suicide in children and adolescents. Additionally, I am a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Working Group for the Mental Health of Asylum Seekers and Refugees. In 2021, I created and produced a podcast series in collaboration with Maudsley Learning and the King’s College London Psychiatry Society, on which psychiatrists were interviewed about the book that changed them.
Away from the clinic, I love exploring art galleries and exhibitions in London and on my travels. I am in awe of how artists express themselves and their insights into the world around them through such diverse creative mediums and how this resonates in so many ways with those viewing their art. I find it a profoundly humbling experience.