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St John of God Lucena Clinic

Prof. Fiona McNicholas
59 Orwell Road
Rathgar, D6



01 4923596

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General Information

Lucena Clinic Services is the Child and Adolescent Mental Health service of  St. John of God Community Services Limited.  Lucena Clinic CAMHS has been providing a mental health service to children and adolescents and their families for over 50 years.

The Lucena Clinic services are delivered via our 6 clinics in Rathgar, Tallaght, Dun Laoghaire, Bray, Wicklow and Arklow. Each clinic has multidisciplinary teams consisting of Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Social Workers, Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists, Clinical Nurse Specialists and Social Care staff.  

There is an Adolescent Day Hospital in the grounds of the Rathgar clinic.

Referrals to Lucena Clinic Services will only be accepted from a medical source,  ie. General Practitioner,  Community Care Medical Officer etc.

Funding for our services is provided by the HSE and from voluntary contributions made to the  Hospitaller Order of St. John of God. There is no charge to families using our service.

Lucena Clinic strives to deliver its service in accordance with the guidelines specified in A Vision for Change policy document.

A child or young person may be referred for the following reasons:
• Behavioural difficulties
• Emotional difficulties
• Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
• Family relationship difficulties
• Eating Problems and Disorders: Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia
• Mood Disorders: Depression, Bipolar Mood Disorder
• Psychoses; Early onset schizophrenia
• Autism and Asperger's Syndrome: The Clinic provides multidisciplinary assessments for children presenting with symptoms and behaviours that suggest an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. The Clinic provides limited therapy programmes and support for children with Asperger's Syndrome

All care is delivered through multi-disciplinary teams led by a Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist. The registrar is a vital member of that team, becoming involved in all aspects of assessment and treatment of children and their families.

Educational  Objectives:

During a trainee's six month placement they will work jointly with members of the multidisciplinary team along with on their own. Throughout the period they will advance their knowledge and understanding trough clinical practice and personal reading of early childhood, adolescent and family emotional and mental development and of the common MH presentations. They will learn about the main modalities of therapies, ie CBT, Family therapy, parenting along with gain a basic understanding of child psychopharmacology.  The placement will provide registrars with the specialised knowledge and skills to enable them to contribute to the mental health care of young people and to understand, even in their work in other areas of psychiatry, the impact of child MH illness of systems.

Specific Educational Objectives:

1. To develop skills in clinical assessment of children and their families and to observe the specialized assessments used by other team members, such as speech and language, occupational therapy, and neuro-psychological assessments.

2. To develop skills in accurate case formulation and diagnosis in child psychiatry.

3.  To become familiar with the main therapeutic modalities in child psychiatry, ie Family therapy, parenting, CBT, supportive counseling and basic child psychopharmacology.

4. To observe other treatment techniques, social skills training, art psychotherapy, and group work.

5. To gain an understanding of the provisions of the Mental Health Act 2001 as it applies to children. 

6.  To understand the fundamental principles and procedures relating to child protection.

7. To participate in weekly supervision.

8. To gain experience in teaching medical students.

9. To gain experience in audit and research.


There is protected time to attend an academic session each week. Registrars are expected to present and also have guest speakers and research seminars. They are also invited to parent psych-educational events.

Trainees may participate in medical student training and have other opportunities to teach patients and the public. They may also become involved in teaching on post graduate courses in child MH run in UCD.

Library Facilities

Ms Irene Mullaney,  Lucena Clinic

The Library is located in the main administration building in Orwell Road, Rathgar, Dublin. The library holdings comprise books, journals, videos, CD-Roms, DVDs, and Reports. The Library has audio/visual facilities available which can be used during the day.

The main focus of the library is Child and Adolescent Mental Health and allied areas,
• Early Intervention
• Occupational Therapy
• Social Work
• Speech and Language Therapy  • Psychology
• Psychiatry
• Child Care
• Nursing

Our holdings reflect interests in:
• Autism
• Child Development
• Child Abuse
• Attachment
• Conduct Disorders
• Emotional Disorders  • Depression
• Parenting
• Treatment approaches
• Therapies
• Health Service Management


Research is supported through the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Research Committee and a list of publications is available on the Research page of our website  in the Lucena Foundation section Trainees are encouraged to become involved in a variety of collaborative research projects. Research themes already well established within child psychiatry include Eating Disorders, Deliberate self harm, Selective Mutism, ADHD and  specialized parenting programmes. 

Through the extensive research infra-structure links with St Vincent’s University Hospital, UCD and the St. John Of God Research Department there is opportunity to receive regular training on topics such as How to write a research proposal to How to get published.  Statistical support is also available on site.


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