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Hallerfors, B. Lubbe, T. Hinshelwood, B. (2000). Correspondence. J. Child Psychother., 26(1):135-145.

(2000). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 26(1):135-145


Letter to the editors from Birgit Hallerfors, Trevor Lubbe and Bob Hinshelwood

Dear Editors,

Thank you for asking me to write about the practice of child psychotherapy in Sweden, with reference to Alan Shuttleworth's paper ‘Finding new clinical pathways in the changing world of district child psychotherapy’ in the Journal of Child Psychotherapy (April 1999 25(1)).

I read the paper with great interest. It gave an overview of the situation in the UK with its complexities, it shed light on the present situation in Sweden and gave me inspiration to think about future development in the work in district clinics and for child psychotherapists in Sweden.

In Sweden there are, as in the UK, geographically based child and adolescent psychiatry service teams. In Stockholm they are called child and adolescent mental health services, and in the rest of the country, child and adolescent psychiatry clinics. I will refer to them all as district clinics, as Alan Shuttleworth does. In the Stockholm area there are thirty district clinics serving a population of 420,000 children and adolescents, up to the age of 19.

In Sweden we face many similar problems to our colleagues in the UK. We also have the very difficult situation of an increasing demand for help from families. In Stockholm there has been a 70 per cent increase in the last six years, without any corresponding increase in resources. The development is similar in the rest of the country, and is probably due to cut-backs in schools and other public services. There is a political demand, at least within the Stockholm County Council area, that district clinics are not to operate waiting lists. Families are not to wait for more than three weeks for at least a first consultation session. This creates great pressure on the clinics and the clinic staff. Preventing therapist overwork and ‘burn out’ is a huge problem.

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