Emotional support

Are you feeling sad, worried, confused or angry?  Have difficult things happened in your life, perhaps this has happened for as long as you can remember?  Do you sometimes feel hopeless and wonder if anyone can listen to how you feel? Do you worry about your behaviour and think that you are doing things that cause you or other people to feel hurt?  Are you under 18 years old and a child in the care of Bristol city council? Thinking Allowed may be able to help.


What is ‘Thinking Allowed'?

Thinking Allowed is a branch of CAMHS (Children & Adolescent Mental Health Service) that specialises in working with children and young people (aged 0-18years) in the care of Bristol City Council.  We work closely with foster carers and social workers to help young people who are struggling.

The Thinking Allowed team is made up of Andrew Lister, Christina Saltmarsh, Polly Nugent, Anna Fussell and Anna Kalin.  We are a group of clinical psychologists and psychotherapists and we have all been trained to talk with children and young people who have worries and difficulties. 

Our administrator is Sandy Green and she helps to organise us. 

We believe everyone should be treated with dignity and respect.  We are committed to creating a welcoming and safe service for everyone and to challenging any discrimination.


Why are children and young people referred to Thinking Allowed?

Children and young people are referred to Thinking Allowed if someone is worried about their emotional health and wellbeing.

This may show in the young person’s behaviour, like –

•    being withdrawn and not talking 
•    getting into lots of difficulties with the people around them
•    lying and stealing
•    self-harm 
•    using drugs and alcohol

It may be that the child or young person is feeing - 

•    angry 
•    sad 
•    confused 
•    like life is pointless and that there is no one on their side.


How are children and young people referred to Thinking Allowed?

Social workers are usually the ones who ask us to see a young person but anyone can contact us.  We welcome calls from GP’s, foster carers, teachers, youth workers and young people.


What services does Thinking Allowed offer?

Once we have been asked to see a young person, there are three things that can happen:

1. Consultation: This means we talk to the social worker, carers and other people working with the young person about how to make things better for the young person.

2. Assessment: Young people and their carers are asked to meet with us and this gives everyone a chance to talk about how things are for them. After the assessment we write a report suggesting what needs to happen to make things better for the young person.

3. Therapeutic support: If we think that a child or young person would be helped by some therapy or counselling, and the young person agrees, we can organise this for them.  Often therapy is done by the CAMHS team that covers the area where the young person is living but sometimes Thinking Allowed staff may work with a young person directly or recommend somewhere else that can provide the necessary support. Therapy can be with the young person on their own or with their parents or carers depending on what the sessions are about.


Contact us

If you would like to talk to us, have any suggestions or comments about Thinking Allowed, then you can either, ask an adult that you know and trust to contact us, or you can:

 Phone 0117 3525472

 Email thinkingallowed@bristol.gov.uk.


Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that really matter.
- Martin Luther King