Mental Health in the Teenage Years - Agenda

Through a combination of presentations from guest keynote speakers and small, break-out workshops, attendees will:

  • Understand more about teenage behaviour versus a cause for concern about mental health.
  • Gain an insight into common mental health disorders and how they can manifest in adopted teenagers.
  • Learn about new research findings and developments in the area of mindfulness and compassion.
  • Learn more about therapies and approaches that can support adoptive families with teenagers experiencing mental health issues.


Carol Green - an adopter and Adoption UK member

  • The issues faced by adopters.
  • Uncovering the issues in order to address them.
  • Getting to grips with mental health issues.

Dr Ben Gurney-SmithChartered Consultant Clinical Psychologist - Adoption Plus

  • Understanding 'blocked care'.
  • Review of new research findings on the role of mindfulness and compassion in helping adoptive parents stay close to their children.
  • Understanding the needs of the child in both attachment and mental health terms.

Dr Matt WoolgarPrincipal Clinical Psychologist - SLaM (South London and Maudsley NHS Trust)

  • Common mental health disorders manifested in adopted children.
  • Best practice mental health assessment.
  • Why some CAMHS struggle to meet adopted children's needs.

Roger CatchpoleTraining & Development Manager - YoungMinds

  • How to distinguish adolescent turmoil from mental health problems.
  • Aspects of adolescent development and brain development.
  • To what extent a reduction in capacity for consequential thinking and empathy and an increase in risk taking and emotionally driven behavior is normal or a cause for concern about mental health.

Dr Lisa Fellin - Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Counselling - University of Northampton

  • The role of family therapy with adoptive families.
  • The different moments of the adoption process.
  • Making sense of and addressing psychological problems.

Prof Katherine WeareHonorary Visiting Professor - University of Exeter

  • Is mindfulness a way to make adoption work better?
  • What is it, and how is it learned and practiced?
  • Some short mindfulness practices.


Each workshop is 30 minutes long, and will be repeated twice during the afternoon session. Delegates will be able to attend two workshops.

Workshop 1 - Dr Ben Gurney-Smith & Prof Katherine Weare
The role of mindfulness for adoptive parents

  • Learn about the role mindfulness can have for adoptive parents.
  • Explore practical, real life examples from Ben's practice.
  • Facilitated, shared mindfulness practice.

Workshop 2 - Dr Matt Woolgar
Engaging with CAMHS - accessing appropriate services

  • Assessing complexity and individuality using the bio-psycho-social model.
  • Accessing appropriate services for adopted children.
  • Engaging constructively with CAMHS and education.

Workshop 3 - Roger Catchpole
A YoungMinds forum for adopters, carers and others

  • A workshop with Roger's colleague Daphne Joseph.
  • Discover the YoungMinds Parents Helpline

Workshop 4 - Dr Lisa Fellin
Helping families make sense of relational and mental health issues

  • An introduction to using creative and narrative tools to foster bonding and belonging.
  • How to address issues such as conflicts or split loyalties.

Questions, panel discussion with speakers, and close.

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