ABSTRACT

This book focuses on the engagement and maintenance of troubled young people in psychotherapy at the Brandon Centre (formerly the London Youth Advisory Centre). The Centre is a charitable organisation that has existed for over 30 years. It was started as a contraceptive service for young women aged 12 to 25 years. The founder, Dr Faith Spicer, recognised that young women needed to have access to a service that allowed them time to talk through emotional issues that accompanied requests for contraception. Shortly after the founding of the contraceptive service an information service and a psychotherapy service were initiated for young women and young men due to the scale of the emotional needs of young people in the local community. These services were made accessible by allowing self-referral and confidentiality, by providing comfortable, welcoming and ‘noninstitutional premises’ in the heart of the local community and by receptionists being friendly without being intrusive. The contraceptive service quickly gained a reputation for working effectively with young women from dysfunctional backgrounds that put them at risk of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The Centre also acquired a reputation for imaginatively applying psychotherapeutic principles in devising innovatory services for young people, especially high priority groups of young people, and in combining service delivery with audit and research, including the rigorous evaluation of mental health outcome. The objective of the book is to describe this approach to helping troubled young people.