Professional background

Melinda ElsonI have twenty-five years of experience of working with children and young people with learning disabilities, first as a special needs teacher and more recently as a counsellor for children with learning disabilities. I work with children and young people with varying degrees of learning disabilities and difficulties, including children with autism and non-verbal children and young people.

As a teacher, I have worked in a variety of special schools, including schools for pupils with severe learning difficulties, profound and multiple learning difficulties, moderate learning difficulties, complex needs, autism, and  physical disabilities and associated learning and communication difficulties. All the children and young people I have worked with have had some degree of developmental delay.  

While teaching in special schools I completed a clinical training as an Integrative Adult Psychotherapist at The Minster Centre in London in 1995. I went on to study child development at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, completing the Psychoanalytic Infant Observation course in 2003. Included in this course was a two-year Infant observation and a one-year young child observation. This  is the pre-clinical component of the NHS Psychoanalytic Child Psychotherapy training.  

I am now completing a clinical training (MA) at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, London,  in Psychological Therapies for Children, Young People and Families, specializing in children and young people who have learning disabilities and/or autism.

My past work and study includes:

  •  Co-ordinator  of the Three Wings Trust Special Needs Counselling Project 
  • Work on the Tavistock Centre’s Outreach Project in Schools, working psychotherapeutically with mainstream primary aged children experiencing a variety of emotional, social, behavioural and learning difficulties in schools.  
  • Studying with the Caspari Foundation for two years, learning  their approach to working with children with learning difficulties.
  • Work as a psychotherapist in CAMHS with children, young people and their parents.
  •  Running INSET training in schools, helping staff understand children’s communication and behaviour and how school staff can best help and support their pupils with learning difficulties.
  • Work for Open Door, on their special needs counselling service.
  • An experienced group facilitator, I have run theme centred psychotherapy groups for adults. 
  • Private practice with adults and children, both learning disabled and non-learning disabled. 
  • My work is psychoanalytically based. I am also trained to use CBT, Mindfulness and Systemic Family Therapy when appropriate.



Institute for Psychotherapy and Disability

British Association for Counsellling and Psychotherapy

British Psychoanalytic Council  Trainee member  


Academic Degrees and Qualifications

MA Psychological Therapies with Children, Young People and Families (2014), Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust/University of East London

Post-graduate Diploma in Psychoanalytic Observational Studies, Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust/University of East London

Diploma in Psychotherapy, The Minster Centre, London 

Diploma in Counselling, The Minster Centre, London

BA Psychology, University of New Brunswick, Canada

BA (Hons) Fine Art, York university, Toronto, Canada

Diploma in Art Education, University of London Institute of Education