João Lourenço

Director of Child Services
Licensed Psychologist

Born and educated in Portugal, I have completed my Master’s degree in clinical psychology from ISPA in Lisbon. With over 13 years of experience both in Portugal and in UAE, I am well versed in English and Portuguese and have worked with young people and their families in a range of clinical settings like schools, mental health services, universities and early intervention services. 

I specialise in working with children, adolescents and young adults experiencing a range of socio-emotional and behavioural problems. I offer parenting training, child therapy and group therapy. I also conduct evidence-based emotional and behavioural assessments and a range of Psychoeducational assessments. I use person-centred therapy, Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Psycho-Dynamic therapy, Play-Therapy, Mentalization Based Treatment (MBT) and Schema therapy. 

As a Licensed Psychologist and mental health advocate, I am passionate about helping children, adolescents and families navigate through challenges in their personal journeys. My passion is to empower my clients and provide them with the right therapeutic tools to achieve a healthy balanced lifestyle to create a positive change.  

I believe that a therapeutic relationship is one of the most powerful determinants for therapeutic progress. My approach incorporates an empathic, practical, playful and relational approach to psychotherapy with clients and their families.

Besides my work, I collaborate with organisations and groups supporting mental health in the UAE. I am passionate about sharing my knowledge and believe that through honest conversations and education we can raise mental health awareness and decrease the stigma surrounding it. In my spare time, I enjoy surfing, travelling and cooking.   

Email to get in touch with me.


Joao Lourenco has been supervised by Dr. Sheila Redfern PhD, a consultant clinical child and adolescent psychologist and author of ‘Reflective Parenting’.

Sheila has been practising for over 30 years with children, young people, parents and carers in the field of mental health. 

She has worked in the NHS as a consultant in Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) services, supporting children, young people and their families with a wide range of mental health difficulties. She works within an evidence-based framework of assessment and intervention and has extensive experience in supporting the mental health needs of children and young people from a wide range of backgrounds and with different abilities.

She has managed CAMHS teams, including work with under 5 years old and adolescents. She has a specialist interest and expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of autism and attachment difficulties. She helps parents and carers bring about a closer connection between them and their children when they have difficulties in the attachment relationship. She is a specialist in working with fostering and adoptive families.

She has developed a model of mentalization-based parenting, reflective parenting, which she delivers as an intervention and trains other professionals and teams to deliver. When she is not working in private practice, she heads Family Trauma at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, a children’s mental health charity.

Qualifications and professional bodies

  • Bachelor’s degree in  Psychological Sciences 
  • MSc Clinical Psychologist (Portugal)
  • Licensed as a Psychologist by Community Development Authority (CDA)
  • Professional License- CDA PL 0001179

Areas of Experience

  • Childhood, social, emotional and behavioural difficulties 
  • Emotional intelligence and social skills groups for children
  • Anxiety Disorders including Phobias, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Separation Anxiety and Selective Mutism
  • Self-image or self-esteem issues 
  • Trauma-related disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder 
  • Parent – Infant attachment difficulties 
  • Parenting Skills
  • Adjustment Difficulties 
  • Developmental disorders, including Autism, Asperger’s, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Developmental Delays
  • Psychoeducational, Cognitive and Executive Functioning Assessments 
  • Neurodevelopmental assessments
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder Assessments