Clinical Psychologist

Hours: 3 days a week

Salary: Dependent on experience

Location: Childhood Matters, The Bessborough Centre, Blackrock, Cork

Responsible to: CHIPPS Clinical Lead (Senior Clinical Psychologist, Dr Emma Ronayne)

CHIPPS, the Childhood Matters’ Child in Care Mental Health Service, is seeking to recruit a Basic Grade Clinical Psychologist to join our MDT.

CHIPPS is a mental health service for children aged 5-17 years who are in the care of Tusla. The work that we carry out is psychology-led, attachment-based, trauma-informed, and specialist in nature. We offer a stepped-care model of intervention with therapeutic input taking various forms including consultation to social care and other professionals; groups (both psychoeducational and therapeutic) for children/young people/foster carers as well as direct, individual therapy for children/young people and their carers.

Interventions are attachment-focussed and incorporate dyadic and systemic ways of working with the child, carers and team around them, drawing on models such as Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP); Theraplay; Mentalisation-Based Treatment (MBT) approaches; Sensory Attachment Intervention (SAI), and Therapeutic Life Story Work (TLSW), among others. Our Multidisciplinary Team is currently comprised of clinical psychologists, assistant psychologists, a play therapist, child art psychotherapist and specialist occupational therapist.

The successful candidate will play a key role in contributing to MDT discussions of each referred child’s needs as well as those of the system around them, formulating the presenting difficulties and considering appropriate intervention. The clinician joining our team will provide both direct and indirect therapeutic input. They will liaise with partner agencies to endeavour to achieve positive outcomes for children in care and their carers, working to build/restore placement stability and enhance key relationships in the child’s family/support network.

The role will include offering specialist training and consultation to colleagues and the wider team/system around the child, such as social workers, teachers, foster carers, and residential and support workers supporting children in care. We are committed to embedding an evidence-based culture of trauma-informed care and therapeutic practice and therefore keen to continually assess the effectiveness of our service. All clinicians are asked to complete routine outcome measures and carefully consider the effect(s) of their interventions in collaboration with the MDT.

The Bessborough Centre is a trauma-informed and equal-opportunity employer. We offer competitive salary packages as well as benefits including enhanced maternity leave; pension contribution scheme; health care plans; flexible working hours; internal and externally provided training opportunities, and competitive annual leave entitlement.

Job Description:

  • To work as a member of CHIPPS multi-disciplinary team, providing high-quality, specialist psychological input in-person to children in care and their carers, also offering guidance via telephone or video conference, email support, consultation, assessments and treatment to children and their parents/carers
  • To support psychological practice within the team through consultation, supervision, formulation and training/education
  • To be responsible for holding and managing a clinical caseload and exercise autonomous professional responsibility for the planning and prioritising of own workload and the assessment, treatment and discharge of clients within the bounds of the service’s operational policies
  • To engage with service development opportunities, developing leadership capacity and autonomous responsibility where appropriate
  • To operate as lead clinician on complex cases in interagency contexts when required
  • To compile comprehensive assessment and treatment reports and any other reports as required in connection to the children and their parents with whom they are working.
  • To use analytical and judgment skills and be responsible for taking clinical management decisions in complex clinical issues (with support of senior colleagues)
  • To provide consultation, mentorship, supervision and advice about psychological issues to other members of the team/service and other professionals working with service users, across a range of agencies/ settings as appropriate.
  • Promote an effective and productive team ethos, fostering our Childhood Matters trauma-informed and trauma-responsive approach at all times
  • Promote equality, diversity and human rights, and treat others with dignity and respect ensuring services are developed, managed and delivered to meet specific needs linked to protected characteristics.
  • Promote equality, diversity and Human Rights in working practices by developing and maintaining positive working relationships, ensuring that colleagues are treated fairly and contributing to developing equality of opportunity and outcomes in working practices
  • Contribute to developing and maintaining equality of opportunity in working practices by complying with legislation and organisational policies. Advise colleagues about equality, diversity and human rights policies and procedures and ensure they are followed
  • To attend court, if required, as an expert witness.

Person Specification


  • Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (or equivalent if training was pre-doctorate accreditation)


  • Experience of providing attachment-based psychological interventions to children who have experienced developmental trauma is essential

Essential Skills & Knowledge

  • An ability to offer attachment-focussed, evidence-based psychological interventions tailored to meet the individual needs of children/young people and their carers referred to CHIPPS
  • An ability to work dyadically with carers and children as well as systemically with the network around the child
  • Familiarity with key legislation relating to children in the care of the state and awareness of partner agencies involved in working with children in care
  • Experience in conducting cognitive assessments and using psychometric tests and routine outcome measures in child mental health services
  • Skills in the provision of supervision and consultation to both external and internal professionals and teams (where appropriate and dependent on level of experience)
  • Excellent communication skills (oral and written) and an ability to explain psychological concepts to non-clinical professionals/colleagues as well as to children/young people and carers
  • Excellent time management skills and an ability to meet deadlines and prioritise workload
  • Exceptional organisational skills and a capacity to balance clinical tasks and administrative workload including clinical note-writing, letter/report writing, updating of services databases etc.
  • High level of knowledge of developmental trauma, attachment, child development and neurodiversity, and child and adolescent mental health issues
  • Awareness of the complexities and challenges of working therapeutically with children who have experienced developmental trauma as well as their carers and the system around the child
  • Knowledge of psychological theory and research in the field of developmental trauma, attachment and therapeutic models and frameworks relevant to this population
  • An understanding of the use creative, non-directive approaches in therapy for children who have experienced developmental trauma
  • An excellent understanding of safeguarding children issues as well as an understanding of care and control, notification procedures and equal opportunities, data protection and general good practice
  • Proficiency in the use of Microsoft Outlook; Power Point, and Excel

Desirable Skills & Knowledge

  • CPD/training completed in any of our core therapeutic models including Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP); Theraplay; Mentalisation-Based Treatment (MBT) approaches; Sensory Attachment Intervention (SAI), Therapeutic Life Story Work (TLSW) or other attachment-focussed interventions and systemic approaches to working with developmental trauma
  • Experience of consulting to/liaising with social care teams and professional groups such as teachers, court-appointed guardians and other professionals in the justice system
  • Post-qualification experience as a Clinical Psychologist in a child mental health setting
  • Experience of using digital clinical record systems

To Apply

To apply submit your CV and covering letter to Human Resources Department, Bessborough Centre, Blackrock, Cork or email: by 5pm on Thursday 16th February 2023. Interviews will be held week beginning 27th February at Childhood Matters in Blackrock, Cork.