Consultant clinical psychologist

Daniela Hearst is a consultant clinical psychologist, who works with children and families to help them psychologically adapt to an illness.

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Daniela Hearst: Consultant clinical psychologist (audio transcript)

Daniela: “I’m Daniela Hearst. I’m a consultant clinical psychologist and I’m the joint head of paediatric psychology together with Mandy Brian.

“When you tell people you’re a clinical psychologist, the first reaction is ‘ooh, you can read my mind’. So I need to say that maybe sometimes but we don’t usually do that. The other thing people think is we only see the mad and the bad. But that’s not at all what we do at Great Ormond Street.  Great Ormond Street is a hospital where very sick children come, children with very rare or complex diseases, our whole aim is to help children and families with the psychological adaptation to an illness. So these are ordinary people but in extraordinary circumstances.

“I see children who come to the craniofacial unit; children who see the plastic surgeons and all these children have in common conditions that make them look different. Sometimes children who look different can have quite a difficult time both in society and school where they may be stared at more than others. Sometimes but certainly not always they may be teased and we can certainly help manage that as best as possible. 

"I hope you would find that we are friendly people who just want to help. We don’t want to make people do anything they don’t want to do. It’s just about helping to understand what brings them to the hospital, how their illness or condition, what it means to them and how we can help make treatment a lot easier. So I hope they would find us helpful and friendly.

“It’s a very exciting job because we're always trying to discover something new when we’re pushing back the boundaries of knowledge so we’re contributing to research, that’s very exciting. The people are very interesting because we’re all working together to try to get the best experience for children and I find that exciting and everyone is very enthusiastic and committed.

“The best thing about doing the job is seeing a person do something they thought they couldn’t do before perhaps as a result of our talks together. If I weren't a clinical psychologist, in my dreams and wildest fantasies I think I’d be a ballet dancer or an astronomer. In real life I think I might be good at being a personal shopper for gifts and cards, or something to do with music.”

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