Cardiac Psychology Program

The heart and mind are closely connected. And children with heart conditions may need specialized mental health support to feel their best.

At Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, we understand the unique challenges that go along with a heart diagnosis. We created our pediatric Cardiac Psychology Program exclusively for children and adolescents living with any type of heart condition.

Cardiac Psychology Program: Why Choose Us

Our focus is on your child’s emotional, social and behavioral well-being. That’s why our cardiac psychologist is a key member of the Heart Institute team. Other program features include:

  • Specialized psychology care: While many hospitals have psychology services, we are one of the few with an on-staff psychologist just for patients who need pediatric heart care. Our psychologist has specialized training in the needs of children and adolescents who have a heart diagnosis. This specialization means we have a deep understanding of the challenges your child faces.
  • Seamless collaboration with your child’s heart team: Your pediatric cardiac psychologist works closely with your child’s cardiologist, cardiothoracic surgeon and other health care providers. If mental health is affecting the heart condition, you can rest assured that our comprehensive team is equipped to help.
  • Close family involvement: Good mental health is a family effort. That’s why we ensure each child’s parent is closely involved with the psychology care plan. We guide parents through ways they can help their child and communicate with them throughout their journey.
  • Partnership with social work: Our cardiac psychologist partners with our cardiac social workers to support your family’s everyday needs. We help you with things like taking medications, attending medical appointments and getting accommodations at school. With this team approach, you can be sure all of your child’s social and emotional needs are being met.
  • Flexible care that fits your family: We offer telemedicine visits for your child’s safety and comfort. If your child needs a different mental health provider for insurance or other reasons, we’ll help you find those resources, too.

How the Cardiac Psychology Program Can Help

Our pediatric psychologist evaluates and treats all types of mental health concerns that affect children and adolescents with heart conditions. We provide professional support for challenges like:

  • Academic needs, including school accommodations, missed school or learning challenges
  • Coping with diagnosis or medical condition
  • Living with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) or pacemaker
  • Nonadherence
  • Returning to physical activity after a heart procedure or diagnosis
  • Self-harm
  • Social anxiety or feeling “different”
  • Stress or anxiety about heart procedures
  • Understanding how mental health affects heart health

Our licensed psychologist can also evaluate and treat mental health conditions, including:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar and related disorders
  • Depression
  • Trauma and stress related disorders
  • Behavioral difficulties such as managing impulse control or being disruptive

Our Cardiac Psychology Program is a safe place for your child to talk about everyday struggles. This is an important step in getting your child or adolescent on the path to good emotional health. For conditions that we are unable treat, our team will do our best to provide the necessary resources and referrals for care.