Dr. Tara Pennington-Twist – Child Clinical Psychologist
Director of Prime Psychology
I am a Consultant Clinical Psychologist, specialising in Child & Adolescent Mental Health. I am Chartered by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and a registered member of the Health Professions Council (HCPC). I offer independent, specialist psychological assessment and therapy to children, adolescents, adults and families who are struggling with a range of emotional, behavioural and mental health difficulties. Having initially set up independently, I now have a team of skilled and highly experienced Psychological Therapists with broad experience including both NHS and private practice working alongside me.
I have worked and studied in the field of Psychology for over twenty years, having undertaken a BSc (Honours) Degree in Psychology at Cardiff University in 2000 and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Edinburgh University in 2008. Throughout my career I have gained broad experience working in a range of services including the NHS, Academia, the Charitable Sector and Private Healthcare.
Child & Adolescent Psychologist
My training in Clinical Psychology has involved working therapeutically with people experiencing psychological difficulties across the lifespan and within a wide range of specialist psychological areas. After qualifying, I worked within NHS Child & Adolescent Mental Health outpatient services before gaining a Senior position and subsequently working in a specialist Child and Adolescent Trauma Service and a Child Protection Service. After becoming a parent myself, I worked for two years between the NHS and private practice but, due to the level of demand, in 2018 I left the NHS to focus on my private practice. I now work three days a week at Prime Psychology alongside part time employment as a Public Appointee for the Scottish Government National Confidential Forum.
My work as a Clinical Psychologist routinely involves undertaking specialist assessments, formulating treatment plans, offering individual and family therapy and delivering group interventions for young people and parents. I also deliver supervision, consultation, teaching and training in addition to undertaking and supervising research and service development.
How I work
I am trained in several Psychological Models including Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR- having completed full training for both adults and children/ adolescents), Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (tf-CBT), Mentalization Based Therapy (MBT), Reflective Parenting (MBT for parents) and the Solihull Approach. I tend to work in an integrative way, taking into account the individual needs of each person I work with. In doing this, I frequently draw on other approaches such as Mindfulness, Compassion Based Therapy, Schema Therapy and Systemic Theory.
What is a Clinical Psychologist?
Training & Experience
Clinical Psychologists are highly skilled in assessing and treating people who are experiencing emotional and psychological difficulties. Their training begins with an Honours Degree in Psychology and they are then typically required to gain between two and four years of varied clinical experience before being accepted onto a three year Doctoral Training Programme in Clinical Psychology. Their specialist training includes numerous clinical placements across the lifespan and in a broad range of psychological specialities. They then go on to develop expertise whilst specialising in a specific clinical area and throughout their careers engage in ongoing training and professional development. Their lengthy and highly intensive training allows them to draw on and integrate a wealth of knowledge and experience when making assessments and working therapeutically with clients. In addition, Clinical Psychologists gain training and experience in delivering a wide range of psychological therapies and are therefore able to tailor their approach where appropriate, combining the most beneficial aspects of different therapies for each individual or family they work with.
‘Clinical Psychologist’ is a protected title, meaning that only those with the above qualifications and who are registered with the Health & Health Professions Council (HCPC) are entitled to use it. The profession is highly regulated and all Clinical Psychologists have regular clinical supervision, adhere to rigorous standards and abide by Professional Guidelines and a Code of Ethics & Conduct, ensuring quality and safety for clients. Holding ‘Chartered Psychologist’ status is the benchmark of professional recognition and reflects the highest standards of psychological knowledge and expertise.
Unfortunately, the titles ‘Psychologist’ and ‘Child Psychologist’ are not protected or regulated, meaning that anyone can call themselves by these titles and practice without the required qualifications or skills. This is highly misleading and indeed, can be harmful. Please ensure you check the qualifications and professional registration of anyone working with you, your child or family. A true professional will welcome your questions regarding this. You can use the following links to ensure your Practitioner is legitimate: