Acorn is a group of Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists who are members of the Association of Child Psychotherapists and British Psychoanalytic Council.

We work by providing Psychotherapy to Children and Adolescent who are experiencing emotional or behavioural difficulties.

We also provide direct support to families and carers. If appropriate, we can link up with the wider network around the child, such as schools.

We provide Consultation and Supervision to other Professionals e.g. Schools, Fostering/Adoption Agencies etc.

We currently accept referrals from Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. The Consulting Rooms we use are located in Central St. Albans.

What is Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy?

When Children and Young People have powerful emotions that they don't understand, they often express these feelings through their behaviour. This can be very distressing to them and the people around them.

Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists are trained to observe and understand what the children are communicating through their behaviour and play. They have particular skills to help Children and Young People make sense of their feelings and experience. Through this process, the Psychotherapist helps the child put their feelings into words, and hence aim to lessen the need to act out feelings.

What Happens in a Typical Session?

The approach is tailored according to the Child/Young Person's age and developmental stage. Young Children do not tend to talk about their difficulties, instead, they communicate through play. Older children may talk more, or use drawing materials to express their feelings. Adolescents may be able to talk directly about what is troubling them.

Parents and Infants are often seen together, to think about their patterns of interaction. Child Psychotherapists are trained to understand and respond to children's communication at all levels.

What are the Benefits of Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy?

For Children and Young People

Through building up a relationship with the therapist, the Child or Young Person may begin to express what is troubling them through play and words. The therapist helps by understanding and digesting some of their overwhelming feelings. Gradually, powerful feelings can be put into words other than actions.

This leads to the Child/Young Person feeling less pre-occupied, and more freed up to join in with school, peers and family life.

For Parents, Carers and Families

Psychotherapists support parents and carers by helping them understand their child's behaviour. Sometimes parents' own issues might interfere with their ability to parent well. Therapeutic support can help to explore different ways of parenting and improve family relationships.

For Children and Families

We are committed to working with children and adolescents who present with a range of emotional or behavioural difficulties, such as:

  • Low mood/Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Acting Out/Aggressive Behaviour
  • Family Relationship Difficulties
  • Peer Relationship Difficulties
  • Trauma
  • Bereavement
  • Eating/Feeding Difficulties
  • Sleeping Difficulties
  • Temper Tantrums

Pattern of Appointments

Depending on the complexity and severity of the presenting issue(s), we may offer to see your child/you in the following ways:

Individual Child Psychotherapy Sessions

  • Short term basis (this could be up to 10 sessions)
  • Long term basis (this could be open-ended)

Parent and Child Psychotherapy

  • This is when you and your child are seen together in sessions

Family Work

  • This is when your child is seen together with the family

Therapeutic Consultation to Parents/Carers

  • This is when you receive support without your child present in the sessions

All sessions are usually on a once a week basis. Depending on the needs and circumstances, more intensive support could also be available.

We offer regular reviews to give feedback as well as to monitor the progress of your child or children.

For Professionals


We are experienced in providing support to other Professionals who work closely with children and young people in the form of Consultation and Supervision.

Please feel free to contact us if you wish to discuss this further.

Both Xena and Fiona undertook the rigorous training at The Independent Psychoanalytic Child and Adolescent Association (IPCAPA), which is part of The British Psychotherapy Foundation (BPF). They are registered with the Association of Child Psychotherapists (ACP), and the British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC), and are accountable to the Code of Ethics of the ACP.

Xena Leung

Xena has substantial experience working in a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) team in the NHS. She is skilled in working with children and adolescents who presented with a wide range of emotional and behavioural difficulties. She is also skilled in providing therapeutic support to parents. She has provided regular Consultation to the Children In Need teams in a Social Services setting.

Prior to her Psychotherapy training, she has a background of working in Play Work, Schools, and with Young Carers. She has a special interest in work with Looked After Children (adopted or fostered children), and is currently pursuing a research Doctorate related to this field.

Fiona Melvin

Fiona is a child and adolescent psychotherapist and has 10 year’s worth of experience working in CAMHS services. She has worked with a wide age range of children from toddlers to teenagers, and with a variety of complex mental health problems and issues, both emotional and behavioural. She also has substantial experience working with parents, families and has provided consultation to local educational services.

Previous to becoming a child psychotherapist, Fiona worked in tier 4 CAMHS, in an adolescent psychiatric unit for 6 years providing therapeutic support to teenagers with severe mental health difficulties. She has also worked therapeutically in schools, and in Social Services.

Please feel free to contact us if you think we might be able to help, or if you would like to find out more about our Services and Fees. We are very happy to talk to you on the phone or via email, to help you decide if Psychotherapy would be helpful to you and your child(ren).

Initial Consultation

The first appointment will give us the opportunity to explore the concerns and worries about your child or children. We can then discuss the best way we could help.

To Book An Appointment

By Phone: +44 (0)7912 449 870

By E-Mail: