Psychology & Counselling Service

  • Dr Emma Mahoney

    Chartered Clinical Psychologist

    Emma works at Drumbeat one day a week and has been with us for a number of years. Prior to this she has worked for over 15 years in CAMHS services with children on the autistic spectrum and their families. For several years, Emma was based at the Maudsley Hospital in South London​, where she was the Team Lead within the National Service for Complex Autism and Associated Neurodevelopmental Disorders (SCAAND) Team. Emma now works in independent practice to provide support, therapy, consultation and supervision to children and families with a wide range of psychological difficulties including those on the autistic spectrum.

What is Psychology and Counselling?

Psychologists and counsellors offer support about a wide range of mental health, emotional and behavioural problems including anxiety, depression, learning difficulties and relationship issues. They use a range of assessment, psychometric tests, interviews and observation measures to investigate and understand a clients’ situation. Following assessment, they may offer advice or consultation to those who care for children (such as parents and teachers), or work directly with children and their families. Therapeutic invention might involve play techniques, helping to understand through focused (active) listening, working on family issues, and using more structured techniques such as CBT (which focuses on the links between thoughts, feelings and behaviour). Work can sometimes also be provided individually or in groups.

How Psychology and Counselling works at Drumbeat
The Psychology and Counselling Service at Drumbeat works across the school. Therapeutic provision always takes into account the specific needs of individual pupils to make psychological and counselling techniques accessible. Often, work might involve helping children and families to be able to manage the difficulties that autism might present. This might include coping with anxiety, exploring the Autism Spectrum Diagnosis, understanding the reasons behind behaviour and meltdowns and what can be done to reduce this, and helping students to understand emotions, social skills and relationships. Whilst some of this work takes place individually, a range of groups are also offered along with teaching and therapy colleagues. The service also offers advice to teaching staff and other services, provides parent workshops and support, and gets involved in research and awareness projects within the school. 

Links to useful websites
The website for the Association of Child and Adolescent Mental Health.
  • Leah Sharkah

    Assistant Psychologist

    Leah started working at Drumbeat School in July 2022. She is based in both Downham and Brockley sites, mainly working with students in KS3, KS4 and Sixth Form. Leah is a First Class BSc Psychology graduate, with aspirations to become a Clinical Psychologist. Prior to starting at Drumbeat School, Leah worked in the NHS as an Assistant Psychologist providing support to young people, adults as well as those on the autism spectrum, experiencing a wide range of psychological difficulties including anxiety, trauma and depression. Leah is committed to raising awareness and reducing the stigma surrounding mental health, and to increasing equity of access to high-quality mental health support.

Provides useful information for families of autistic children and young people regarding a range of issues, such as behaviour, mental health and emotional difficulties.
Website of the British Psychological Society.
The website for the Association of Child and Adolescent Mental Health.