Bettina grew up in London and while she did not excel academically in school, she found a love of learning and a passion for the field of psychology in her early 20s. She studied for a PhD at University College London (UCL) in the field of behavioural genetics and during this degree realised her desire to help people more directly. She went straight onto earn her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, training in the National Health Service (NHS).
Bettina started her career in the NHS, working with children with neurodevelopmental disorders at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Her subsequent training in Paediatric Neuropsychology, also undertaken at UCL, was inspired by her interest in neuroscience and its application to children and young people.
Bettina has worked in the private sector since 2005, carrying out complex educational assessments and working with young people and families therapeutically. She has become a specialist in working with parents and young people, using her knowledge of neuroscience and models of attachment based interventions. In 2016 she co-founded Connections in Mind, an organisation devoted to increasing awareness of Executive Functioning skills and their impact on young people’s lives.
She is no longer involved with the company or the Connections in Mind foundation but is one of the UK’s leading lecturers and consultants on how to reduce the impact of poor executive functions on children lives.
Bettina holds an honorary position as Senior Clinical Teaching Fellow at UCL. She enjoys teaching across UCL to Masters and Doctoral students on a range of topics that reflect her clinical work.
Bettina’s children are grown up now enabling her to write and publish more. She is an engaging lecturer, writer for the national press and is a regular guest on podcasts. She is recognised for her sharp, engaging lectures where she distils complex ideas into actionable strategies that parents and teachers can use. She runs a small private practice and loves working with parents, teachers and professionals who support young people.
Jane Gilmour, her co-author and presenter, and Bettina have been commissioned to write two more books which are well underway on other incredible topics related to children for parents and teachers.
The Incredible Teenage Brain
Bettina Hohnen, Jane Gilmour and Tara Murphy
The idea for this book came from the fundamental question of ‘why do some children succeed at school and some fail?’ As a school leaver, Bettina had ‘failed’ academically, coming back to education in her 20s. It was quite a revelation to discover that she not only loved learning, but she was quite good at it. With the motivation and learning environment a good fit for her brain it seemed that anything was possible. Since that time, we have learned so much about what young people need from adults in order to be engaged and motivated to learn and the aim of the book is to pass that on to adults so they know how to support the teen in their life.
Jane and Bettina studied together, both with a strong interest in and respect for young people and dreamed of writing a book together one day. Along with their colleague Tara, who they met while working at Great Ormond Street Hospital, they produced this accessible, science based book which one mother said she found “so full of useful recommendations that I’ll be using it like TripAdvisor in researching my teens for months and years to come” (Valerie Lindsay).
The focus on teenagers came from the surge of neuroscience in the past few years which shows the enormous brain changes going on during this time. This science helps us to understand and ‘decode’ teenage behaviour while also reassuring adults supporting teens that teens can be challenging for good reason. They take the science, translate its meaning for parents and teachers and have packed it full of tips and tricks for how to stay strong, understand teens and communicate for positive change.