Cleft Lip and Palate Psychology Service
There is a clinical psychology service attached to the Trent Regional Cleft Network. This is a lifespan service and is available for children, young people and adults born with a cleft as well as their families/carers. The clinical psychologists can offer assessments to explore any difficulties associated with being born with a cleft or an aspect of cleft care. Psychological interventions can also be offered to try to help with any of these difficulties. Assessments and support related to surgical decision-making can also be offered (e.g., if a patient is considering orthognathic surgery).
The service is able to accept referrals for cleft-related difficulties or issues at any stage of the cleft pathway from antenatally to throughout childhood and adulthood.
Referrals may include:
- Parents who, antenatally or postnatally, are struggling with a (possible) cleft diagnosis of their baby. For example, parents who are in shock, having trouble adjusting to the idea of their baby (possibly) being born with a cleft or feeling anxious about caring for or bonding with their baby.
- Children presenting with emotional or behavioural difficulties associated with their cleft or aspects of their cleft care. For example, children or young people who:
- Are feeling low or worried
- Are feeling anxious about surgery / treatment
- Have low self-esteem or confidence due to their cleft
- Are having difficulties with teasing or bullying about their cleft that is impacting on their psychological well-being
- Are experiencing distress or anxiety about aspects of their cleft (e.g., appearance or speech).
- Families/carers who are struggling emotionally with their child’s cleft or aspects of their cleft care. For example, families/carers who are worried or anxious about surgery / treatment or the future.
- Adults who are presenting with distress associated with their cleft or aspects of their cleft care. For example adults who:-
- Have low self-esteem or confidence related to their cleft
- Are experiencing distress or anxiety about aspects of their cleft (e.g. appearance or speech)
- Those who are anxious or worried about surgery / treatment.
- Children, families and adults who may benefit from support with surgical decision-making or those feeling overwhelmed about making treatment decisions.
- Children, families and adults who are considering orthognathic surgery. All patients considering orthognathic surgery should be referred routinely so that psychological assessments can be offered at three time points: pre-orthodontics, pre-surgery and post-surgery.
The cleft team can refer in person, by email to Cleft@nuh.nhs.uk or in writing to: Dr Laura Shepherd, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Trent Regional Cleft Network, City Hospital.
Families and adult patients can also self-refer by telephoning the Trent Regional Cleft Network on Tel: 0115 969 1169 Ext: 79730 and leaving a message for the cleft clinical psychologists with their contact details.