Working with children

A significant part of our population is children. Parents have the responsibility to care for them and to ensure that they are safe and prepared for adult life.

Children and significant events

However hard adults try to manage it, children experience a great many of the stresses, strains, and traumas of life. Children are different from adults developmentally. Consequently they are not able to identify or understand their experiences and reactions to significant events as adults do. Many adults try to understand and help child processes in ways understandable in the adult world often misinterpret child reactions.

Bryan Wright is a psychologist who has experience in working children, their families and also with schools. He employs a number of techniques to enable him to identify and understand the experience of children and to help them better understand and interpret their experiences. He able to facilitate an understanding of this with the adults in the child’s life and in turn to help them to deal with the child.

Child Management

We have yet to meet a parent who did not say they wanted the best for their child yet many parents, without outside help end up becoming the very parent they were determined not to become.

Bryan Wright has been involved with children, families, and schools for a large part of his professional life.

Bryan graduated in Psychology from Canterbury then taught for two long years in state schools before undertaking an additional professional diploma at Auckland. He worked in the Department of Education Psychological Service for a number of years before moving into private practice.

Initially Bryan’s theoretical orientation was narrowly behavioural but he soon realised that in themselves behavioural interventions are an inadequate means of intervention. Over the last fifteen to twenty years Bryan has adopted an eclectic model incorporating a number of different theoretical models.

Bryan has adopted an approach of meeting with children and their parent or parents, forming a contract and an alliance with the child concerning what is to be achieved and worked on (including a contract on how much of the child’s details are to be divulged to the parent). After spending some time with the child alone he meets with the child and the parent to give some feedback to the parent. Structured homework exercises frequently form a part of his interventions as does using feedback from parents and others on changes that have been noted between sessions.

Over the years Bryan has learned that in psychological interventions it is important to move away from seeming to the child to be an authoritarian expert operating him and to form an alliance with the child to implement change, and change that others will notice (sometimes with a little prompting).

Bryan takes the view that although childhood disorders exist, children are more than a bundle of clinical entities. Often children are trapped in a cycle of their own behaviour and want to escape and gain recognition as a result of being different. To put it another way, they want to change for the better.


While Bryan is qualified to administer a range of psychometric tests and to diagnose specific difficulties in children he prefers to leave that approach to other professionals. Bryan believes that it is possible to intervene with children and make positive changes in their outlook and life while treating them as important human beings. The role of formal diagnosis has to be secondary to working productively with people.

Bryan is respectful of a variety of world views and philosophies. He believes that in working with children it is important to work within those world views to achieve outcomes that are acceptable to parent and child.

Where there are reports available from other professionals these can help streamline the intervention process. Ideally these would be made available at the first session.

Typically by the end of the first session Bryan can give an indication of the scope of the task to be undertaken, the way the tasks are likely to be undertaken, and an estimate of the number of sessions that are likely to be required. At the first session, a review time, often after six sessions is agreed on, and an appointment made for the second session.