Child & Adolescent Bereavement Service (CABS)
Working alongside children, young people and families to navigate illness and grief.
Our Child & Adolescent Bereavement Service (CABS) offers support for children and young people facing the illness of someone important to them, or after someone has died. We know the impact that death and illness can have on children and young people’s studies, relationships and development into adulthood. We also understand that each child or young person will express their grief and emotions differently. This may take the form of appearing to be coping fine or having changeable behaviours such as sadness, anger, night terrors, anxiety, guilt and physical pain, or difficulties concentrating or attending school.
“I have found the sessions helpful because I managed to explore my feelings, especially guilt. Once I knew the root of my feelings, it became easier to understand them. These sessions gave me the opportunity to have someone to talk to when I didn’t have anyone else.” – CABS Client, aged 17.
Our CABS Team are alongside them and their families to help them navigate these feelings, supporting each individual through what can be a painful and disorientating experience.
What do we offer?
We offer support to children and young people aged 4–17 years, and their families, who live in the London Borough of Hillingdon. This service is available to those who have experienced bereavement or have someone close to them with a serious or terminal illness. We offer:
- Individual art therapy sessions
- Group art therapy
- End of life support and conversations
- Family sessions
- Parent support groups
- Advice for families & professionals
- Memorial events & creative workshops
- Psychoeducation for parents and carers.
Every child and family is different and our therapists will find the right approach to help with your child’s or family’s needs. We are an inclusive service, respectful of religious, cultural, spiritual grieving traditions and rituals.
Creative Summer 2023 Workshops
Our summer workshops take place at Lansdowne House throughout August.
This summer we have the following workshops:
- Nature to nurture printmaking workshop.
- Bring your ideas to life animation workshop.
- Superhero workshop.
- Memory making glass infusing workshop
Our CABS values
How much does it cost?
This service is free for children and families living in the London borough of Hillingdon.
Where do sessions take place?
We provide therapy sessions in the North and South of Hillingdon borough at:
Lansdowne House, St Peters Way, Hayes, UB3 5AB and Michael Sobell House, Mount Vernon Hospice, Northwood, HA6 2RN.
We can also offer:
- Online therapy support if a family is unable to come to either Hospice site
- Online parent groups
- Telephone advice and support.
About Art Therapy
Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art materials to help express feelings that are often too difficult to put into words. It is a three way process between the client, their art work and the therapist.
Art making in the sessions often helps children and young people discuss their feelings with the art therapist; it can help shift perspectives and understand difficult feelings and behaviours with more clarity. Art therapy is not an art lesson and you don’t have to be ‘good at art’, however there is an opportunity to explore new skills and techniques. If you don’t want to make art work, that’s ok too, we can provide talking therapy sessions.
“My daughter has started talking about her father much more. It was very helpful to be introduced to CABS service before my husband passed away, as it provided continuity and safety for my child” – Parent of child who attended CABS sessions.
Neurodiversity and Grief
“Neurodiversity describes the idea that people experience and interact with the world around them in many different ways; there is no one ‘right’ way of thinking, learning, and behaving, and differences are not viewed as deficits. The word neurodiversity refers to the diversity of all people, but it is often used in the context of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as well as other neurological or developmental conditions such as ADHD or learning disabilities. Neurodiversity advocates inclusive non-judgmental language.”
(Harvard Medical School, Baumer, N., Frueh, J, 2021)
Support Groups for Parents and Carers of Neurodiverse Children: Every Last Thursday 2023
We understand that supporting you as parents and carers of neurodiverse children and young people who have experienced change or loss, is very important. Often neurodiverse children and young people may experience isolation, bullying and discrimination. They will struggle with accessing adequate support and communicating their needs. In moments of change and loss these difficulties may intensify and it will have an impact on the whole family. It is essential to create systems of care around families and to listen to the voices of neurodiverse children.
The groups will help professionals to identify the barriers and challenges in providing psychological aid for neurodiverse children and their families, and adapt services to their needs. Research and practice show that timely psychological support provided for families can: improve mental health, help with relationships, assist in managing challenging behaviours, and build emotional resilience.
Groups will run on the last Thursday of each month for 1 hour 30 minutes, with the following topics:
Thursday 30th March – “Loss, change and neurodiversity”
Thursday 27th April – “Coping with challenging behaviours: what I can do as a parent”
Thursday 25th May – “Family traditions and beliefs in managing grief”
Thursday 29th June – “Communication: conversations within families and beyond”
How could these groups help?
- Support and guidance around having difficult conversations with children you care for about change and loss.
- Provide an understanding of children and young people’s reactions to change and loss, such as anger, anxiety and isolation.
- Learn ways of coping with challenging behaviours.
- Share your experiences with others.
- Reflect on the role of culture, religion and family traditions in managing change and loss.
- Develop new communication skills which may be helpful when talking with children and young people about understanding and managing their feelings.
- Examine ways of adapting to changes in a safe and supportive environment.
What to expect:
There is a limited number of places in these groups so it is essential to book early. It is beneficial to attend all four groups and participants are expected to notify the team 48hrs prior to each group if they cannot attend. This provides an opportunity for others to attend.
Each group will have two important elements: an educational presentation and an informal group discussion facilitated by two group conductors.
All groups will be conducted by experienced psychotherapists in a safe and supportive manner. The Harlington Hospice team adopts an inclusive and collaborative approach.
Participant feedback would be highly appreciated.