The Autism Podcast

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December 22, 2019  

The Autism Podcast - Interview with Lola Alvarez-Romano (on the topic of psychotherapy and mental health support for parents/carers)

December 22, 2019

In Season 2, Episode 4 of The Autism Podcast, Chris and James speak with Lola Alvarez-Romano, an experienced child and adolescent psychotherapist who works to support the mental health of families in a special school based in North London. Lola talks about some of the key mental health issues she has observed during her time supporting families with a child with additional needs, the importance of the therapeutic journey and power of acceptance, the importance of supporting the mental health (particularly in school settings), how she protects her own well-being against emotional burnout, and much more.

Timeline:

0 - 13.09: Lola's background, training and how she ended up working in a special school supporting the mental health of families of children attending the school

13.10: The aim of the current school service she provides, main themes of issues that she encounters, the role of culture and stigma, isolation and social networks, the challenges and also positives of parenting a child with additional needs, the potential trauma of diagnosis

26.10: The 'why me?' feeling and the importance of the process and journey, how parental feelings could impact upon the child, the crucial importance of acceptance

29.02: Changing the social narrative towards embracing and accepting disability and diversity

32.35: James' experience of Lola's school-based support, parents being stuck in a negative loop and breaking this loop, the pressure on marriages, father mental health

40.18: The potential negative impact of professionals focusing on mothers over fathers, the importance of father involvement and parental unity

43.38: How Lola protects herself from burnout and boosts her own resilience in the face of often difficult, challenging and emotive conversations. Also her responsibility for safeguarding above all else.

50.56: Lola's belief that mental health services in schools, particularly special schools, should be available more widely and that commissioners & headteachers should try to prioritise services like this if resources allow more than they currently do.

57.30: The importance of thinking about the whole family including siblings whose mental health can also become vulnerable. How to contact Lola

Find out more about the work Lola does and how to contact her from the following links:

Association of child psychotherapists (https://childpsychotherapy.org.uk/member_details/4118)

https://uk.linkedin.com/in/lola-%C3%A1lvarez-romano-583bba6a

https://senmagazine.co.uk/home/articles/senarticles-2/the-unforeseen-journey