Dr Olivia Thompson

Child & Adolescent Psychotherapist

MA, MSc, DPsych Psych, IPCAPA/bpf, ACP

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Olivia is a Senior Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist trained to work with children and young people up to the age of 25.

With over 20 years of experience working with children and adolescents, Olivia has held various roles in educational and mental health settings. She taught in secondary and higher education before deciding to train as a child psychotherapist in order to work in depth with children and young people encountering psychological and emotional difficulties in their development. As a psychoanalytic psychotherapist Olivia has worked in the NHS across different Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) teams providing specialist assessments and psychoanalytically informed treatments to children from pre-school age to 18, and working closely with parents, families, schools and Children’s Services to support the child through treatment.

For the last 7 years Olivia has worked in specialist CAMHS Adolescent Teams working with teenagers who are experiencing high levels of emotional and psychological distress, often communicated through risk taking or self-harming behaviours, as they struggle to manage the internal and external pressures and demands of adolescent development. This is a specialist area of interest for Olivia, who has also trained in Mentalisation Based Therapy for Adolescents (MBT) and finds this a helpful approach with young people and their parents where there has been a loss in the capacity to tolerate, think and communicate about difficult feelings.

Olivia takes a developmental approach in her work with children and young people, using observation, play, art, and more discursive approaches to communicate with the child and meet them where they are in their development. Olivia’s practice is based on extensive clinical experience as well as knowledge of psychoanalytic theory and research in the psychodynamics of child development and mental health. She believes in the therapeutic power of child-lead practice and working at the child’s pace to develop the trust and sense of safety to explore their worries, struggles, hopes and wishes in depth.

Olivia is a long-standing member of the senior staff group of the Independent Psychoanalytic Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Association, teaching on the Doctoral professional training and holding different roles such as Year Tutor, Progress Advisor and examiner. She has also taught on the British Psychotherapy Foundation Masters programme.


Complex and Developmental trauma; attachment and relational issues; separation and developmental difficulties; depression; anxiety; social communication difficulties and ASD, loss and bereavement; adolescence and adolescent breakdown; emotional dysregulation, self-harming behaviours and suicidality; identity issues; working with parents.


DPsych in Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (IPCAPA/Birkbeck College, UCL); MSc in The Pychodynamics of Human Development (BPF/Birkbeck College, UCL); MA (Hons) in English and Italian (Edinburgh University).

Registered Member at the Independent Psychoanalytic Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Association/ British Psychotherapy Foundation (IPCAPA/bpf), and full member of the Association of Child Psychotherapy (ACP)

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