About Devon Child Psychology

Devon Child Psychology - Dr Nicola Hirsch & Dr Alex Boyd

Devon Child Psychology
Dr Nicola Hirsch & Dr Alex Boyd

Devon Child Psychology is an independent clinical psychology practice run by expert child psychologists Dr Nicola Hirsch and Dr Alex Boyd.

We are a dedicated and experienced team of Clinical Psychologists offering individualised online and face-to-face support in the Exeter/Devon area. We specialise in both day-to-day and more complex concerns experienced by children, young people and parents. We also work with young adults adjusting to adulthood and the transition towards independence.

We are experienced in working with a range of mental health difficulties and supporting those with neurodivergence and differences in development. We provide consultation, assessment, therapy, training, and supervision.

We all have comprehensive NHS experience and are actively involved in the training and supervision of other professionals. We are accredited and registered with several key professional bodies, including the BPS, HCPC and BABCP.

How we can help

We have the skills, knowledge and expertise to work with children and young people of all ages, as well as parents and young adults.

We offer consultation, assessment and therapeutic support for a wide range of mental health, emotional, behavioural and developmental concerns. As experienced child psychologists, we can help with the challenges that come with particular stages of development, such as the early years, transition to school, adolescence and transition to adulthood.

We can also provide parenting support and carry out specialist assessments for more complex issues such as Autism and other neurodevelopmental conditions. Understanding and assessing developmental delay and cognitive and behavioural difficulties which may be associated with this.

We are experienced in assessing and supporting a range of mental health concerns, including anxiety, depression, trauma, low mood and phobias. We are EMDR trained, and can provide support with behaviour, peer relationships issues and school-based difficulties.

“Our mission is to work in a non-judgemental and supportive way, using evidence-based techniques and good practice guidance, to improve things for children, young people and families who are struggling.”

child psychologist Dr Nicola Hirsch from Devon Child Psychology

Dr. Nicola Hirsch

Director & Clinical Psychologist

Nicola is an HCPC and BPS registered Chartered Clinical Psychologist with over 25 years experience of working with children, young people and families. She has a special interest in child development and neurodevelopment and has worked extensively with children, schools and families to find ways to understand and support the additional challenges and strengths that developmental differences can bring.

Nicola has significant experience in the areas of child health and complex development. She previously worked for a number of years in a leading national hospital dedicated to specialist cardiac and respiratory medicine and is the Clinical Lead for Paediatric Clinical Psychology Services at the RD&E Hospital in Exeter.

Within her previous role as Senior Clinical Psychologist at the Exeter Specialist Under 5’s Child Development Centre, Nicola contributed to the multidisciplinary assessment of infants and pre-school age children with a wide range of neurodevelopmental difficulties. She was responsible for carrying out specialist cognitive and developmental assessments and worked closely with other professionals to provide understanding and diagnosis of specific developmental conditions such as Autism.

Nicola also currently offers therapeutic interventions to children and families with a range of difficulties, including attachment, relationship & early interaction difficulties, problems with feeding, behaviour, anxiety, low mood and difficulties coping with social interaction, education & learning.

She has an interest in improving children’s sleep and self-regulation and working with other professionals to address the impact of sensory integration difficulties on wider development and day-to-day life.

Nicola also works closely with parents and families to provide support around diagnosis and the challenges of parenting a child who is behaving or developing differently.

Nicola provides consultation, training and supervision to other professionals and works closely with other settings and services involved in each child’s care.

child psychologist Dr Alex Boyd from Devon Child Psychology

Dr. Alexandra Boyd

Co-Director & Clinical Psychologist

Alex is an HCPC and BPS registered Chartered Clinical Psychologist and Accredited Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist with the British Association for Cognitive and Behavioural Psychotherapies (BABCP).  

With over 15 years of experience in mental health, Alex has worked across a range of adult and child services, including perinatal services and physical health settings. She has previously worked as Clinical Lead for Paediatric Psychology Services in North Devon, and as Lead Psychologist on a pilot, providing multidisciplinary care for children with complex medically unexplained health presentations. 

For the last 12 years Alex has specialised in working with children, families and young adults, and over recent years has used this expertise to build her private practice. Alex also has a strong academic background, and since 2013, has worked at the University of Exeter training other professionals on how to deliver evidence-based psychological therapies for children and young people. 

Alex has significant experience of working with a range of mental health difficulties, including anxiety and depression, alongside expertise in managing the impact of physical health complexities and neurodevelopmental conditions. 

Alex has experience of working alongside other multidisciplinary professionals to assess for conditions such as Autism.  Through her ongoing work, she has built strong links with other settings and services supporting the children and families she works with and has contributed to the development of effective support plans and interventions to ensure they get the support they need.

Alex is also an experienced clinical and academic supervisor and has undertaken further training in supervision in order to support other professionals in the field. Until recently Alex worked both within the NHS as a Senior Clinical Psychologist at the RD&E and at the University of Exeter. Alex is currently the Director of Children and Young People’s Mental Health Training Programmes at the University of Exeter combining this role with independent practice. 

child psychologist Dr Carolyn Todd from Devon Child Psychology

Dr Carolyn Todd

Clinical Psychologist

Carolyn is an HCPC registered clinical psychologist with experience in helping people with a range of struggles such as low mood, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, perfectionism, body-image difficulties, and difficult feelings such as guilt and shame.

Carolyn has worked in a range of mental health services in the NHS over the last 12 years and has worked with adults, young people and their families. She has a passion for supporting teenagers and young adults and most recently she worked for Cornwall Child and Adolescent Mental health services. She is currently the Programme Lead on the Children and Young People’s CBT course at the University of Exeter combining private work with the training of CBT therapists.

Carolyn has extensive experience of working with adolescents and an expertise in working alongside young people to help them navigate the demands of this complex period of development. Her comprehensive CAMHS background means she is well placed to understand and support the challenges young people and their families can experience at this time and she has a sound knowledge of mental health, neurodiversity and issues relating to the transition between adolescence and young adulthood. 

In addition, Carolyn has specialist training and experience working with people with a range of eating difficulties, such as anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, emotional eating, and generally unhelpful relationships with food, diet and exercise. Carolyn is able to provide a safe and individualised space for young people to explore their difficulties and find ways to successfully manage the challenges they face.

child psychologist Dr Amber Watkins from Devon Child Psychology

Dr Amber Watkins

Clinical Psychologist

Amber is an HCPC registered Clinical Psychologist with experience in helping young people with difficulties such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, perfectionism, problems with friendships and/or at school, and psychological distress in the context of a physical health condition. She has a good understanding of neurodevelopment, and the different ways children develop, learn and experience the world around them.

Amber has worked across a number of different NHS mental and physical health services, and in addition to her work with Devon Child Psychology, she is currently employed as a Paediatric Clinical Psychologist in Somerset. Here she supports young people and their families with the psychological and social impact of long-term health conditions. Amber has comprehensive experience working alongside other professionals in multidisciplinary teams, with the aim of delivering individualised and comprehensive care across services. She is a strong advocate for children and families navigating a range of services and organisations, including health, education, and social care.

Amber is skilled in adapting her work to fit the individual needs of children, young people and their families, and works in an ‘integrative’ and creative way, using a range of evidence-based models, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), alongside more interpersonal and relationship-based approaches. Amber also has specialist training in delivering family interventions. This way of working enables young people and their parent/carer(s) to safely express and explore difficult thoughts and feelings together, understand each other’s perspectives, appreciate each other’s needs, build on family strengths and work together to make meaningful changes.