When children & teenagers feel safe in relationships, there is so much potential for positive change & growth
About Bettina Hohnen, Clinical Psychologist
I help parents, teachers and professional teams create environments for young people to thrive, so they can reach their goals, work through difficulties and strengthen those relationships that matter the most.
Teachers, professional teams and child-focused organisations do what they do because they care about young people, but knowing the science is essential to creating the conditions that enable kids to thrive.
While I know how to translate the science so it makes sense for every audience, what makes me different is my ability to build trust and create safe spaces for sharing, compassion and vulnerability. It is within these conditions that true change and growth takes place.
Clinical, but never cold.
Clinical, but never cold.
Science is wonderful – it’s at the core of what I do. I have the academic credentials, the professional training and even a couple of doctorate degrees, which means I have the knowledge. But my support of parents and their children is more than that. It’s about compassion, empathy and trust. At the end of the day, whether you’re listening to me speak or having a session with me, these three things will make you feel safe and supported – which in turn will help you and the child in your care feel safe and supported.
So yes, I am a clinical psychologist. But I’m never cold (that word ‘clinical’ can feel that way). I welcome concerns, worries and struggles with warmth, respect and kindness.
Together, we can strengthen the relationships that matter the most, nurture mental health, and support neurodiversity. These are the pillars of wellbeing.
“I think of you many times every day …. What would Bettina say? And since working with you things have completely changed in our household.”
Who I work with
I help families who are looking for support with their child’s mental health and wellbeing, often in the context of neurodiversity. My focus is on helping parents provide the optimal environment for their kids to thrive, learning science based tips and tools as well as offering a space to reflect on their own past. Young people may join from time to time, but the focus is on family relationships. Through online resources, books, workshops, talks and 1:1 therapy work, I am here to help you.
Schools, organisations, conferences, universities & more
From workshops exploring neurodiversity to lectures discussing the incredible teenage brain (after all, I wrote a book on it), I love to share my expertise, knowledge and experience with parents, teachers, peers and organisations.
Specialist in the teenage brain
Most people will agree that adolescence is a turbulent time. Emotions are high while teens are driven to try new things, spend time with friends and stand up to the adults in their lives. It can be challenging, and teens are vulnerable, but if you understand what’s going on you soon see that the opportunity to build an incredible brain is huge.
As a clinical psychologist, I have an academic focus and keen passion & interest in teenagers – their mental health, wellbeing and the neuroscience that underpins what’s happening with each individual.
However, I’m a parent, too – a parent to young adults. So with my academic and clinical background comes genuine ‘I have lived this’ experience.
Additional specialisms include:
- Neurodiversity (Autism, ADHD & dyslexia)
- Executive Functions
- Anxiety and other mental health difficulties
- Parenting struggles
Author of The Incredible Teenage Brain
Written with Dr Jane Gilmour and Tara Murphy
It is truly incredible, that teenage brain. In this book, my colleagues and I explore what’s going on with teenagers during this time of enormous change. We unpick the neuroscience, translating it so parents, teachers and professionals know what to do to provide the best environment for teens to grow and thrive.
“This book’s a relief to read! A fresh and heartening take on how to see and work with teen potential, it gives a positive, practical steer on the grittiest of problems, along with plenty of examples and some great, direct solutions that actually work. Anything that helps us understand and elegantly manage the inherent ups and downs that come with having teenagers in the family is valuable stuff. If you wished that modern teens came with a manual, honestly, you need look no further.”
Samantha Murray Greenway (parent of two teenagers)
Author of How To Have Incredible Conversations With Your Child
Written with Dr Jane Gilmour
All parents want to communicate with their children, find out what’s going on in their lives, but they can find it hard to get conversations going. Yet all the science tells us communication and conversation skills are the key to long-term wellbeing.
In this book, Jane and I summarise the science that tells us why conversation is important and offer creative, engaging props to get conversations going. If you are looking to strengthen your relationship with your child, look no further.
At the heart of better mental health is a strong and healthy relationship.
Anybody can do anything in the context of a safe relationship.
The answers to the greatest parenting conundrums are often in our past, not in our kids.
Parenting is hard, as is delving into your struggles. There is only compassion here.
Together, we are stronger and when we create a safe space for parents and their kids to connect, kids thrive
Professional qualifications & experience
Doctorate in Clinical Psychology
PhD in behavioural genetics at University College London (UCL)
1st class honours degree in Psychology at the University of Kent
Honorary position as Senior Clinical Teaching Fellow at UCL
Specialist training in Paediatric Neuropsychology at UCL
- Trained with the NHS (National Health Service)
- Worked in the neurodisability team at Great Ormond Street
- Co-founded Connections in Mind