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A day in the life of a CAPT

30 Jul 21

Working as a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist in the NHS

A day in the life of a CAPT
My name is Xena Anderson. I qualified as a Child Psychotherapist from The Independent Psychoanalytic Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Association (IPCAPA) at BPF in 2013. I currently work part time in East Hertfordshire CAMHS.  

My typical day starts at 7am. I have breakfast with my husband and our four year old son before they go off to work and school and I start work in my home office.
The Covid-19 pandemic means we are still working remotely for some of the time. I have an hour to respond to emails and catch up on writing clinical letters and reports. At 9am, I chair the CAMHS daily Team Brief, where we catch up with each other and raise any issues that need to be discussed, such as any updates on Infection Control, staff absences etc.  

After that, I see a regular Psychotherapy patient remotely. At the beginning of the pandemic, much of the work has either moved onto online, or began online. This 16 year old boy engages well with online sessions, it worked well with fitting in around his GCSE exams and he has chosen to continue being seen remotely. I make notes on the electronic patient record system and prepare for my next clinical commitment, which is to supervise my first year Psychotherapy Trainee.  

We spend the first part of the supervision discussing Operational matters such as organising for the Psychiatric Observation Placement. We then spend some time on thinking about any tricky, complex or high-risk cases. After that, we move onto an in-depth discussion of one of their once weekly Psychotherapy cases.  

Being a Service Supervisor is relatively new to me. East Hertfordshire CAMHS has not had a Psychotherapy Trainee before. It has been a both interesting and challenging process from the beginning, in making a case to apply for funding for a training placement, to organising the logistical and operational side of things, to selecting appropriate training cases. All this was new to me, and I am glad to have got to know the process from the start, which paves the way for hopefully further Trainee placements in the future.  

Following supervision, I have an online parent session. This is a case where my Trainee sees the young person weekly, and I see the parents in support of the therapy. During supervision with the Trainee, I get to know how the young person is doing, and I bear this in mind when I see the parents. Emphasis is placed on helping the parents reflect on their own feelings and parenting, and how these impact on the young person.  

I then supervise a Psychiatrist within the team on a specific Psychotherapy case which contributes towards their training.  

My NHS work finishes for the day just after lunchtime. I have some time to catch up with ordinary daily home stuff before going to collect my son from school. We do a little bit of homework and reading together and then we can play until dinner time.  

My husband and I watch some TV and catch up with each other. Life is busy, it has taken some time and a lot of hard work along the way, but I am fortunate to be in a place where I feel I have achieved a good balance of work and home life.

Xena Anderson
Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist (CAPT)

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CAPT Careers Map
Psychological Professions in the Spotlight: Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist (video)

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