Last updated: 12 January 2024

Please note our referrals are currently closed due to clinical capacity. If you find temporary support, please feel free to get back in touch in Spring 2024.

You may still learn about our referral process below and email our clinical administrator Elisa on for more information. 

A young person's journey at Baobab

The chart below may be helpful to referrers in understanding possible pathways of young people at Baobab and the different services and activities a young person at Baobab may have access to at different stages of their journey through Baobab.

Monthly Consultation Service

Our monthly consultation service remains open on the third Wednesday of each month. We meet from 9.30am to 11am. Coffee and croissants will be provided once this service resumes in person - for now, this service is online. Please read more about our monthly consultation service here and contact our clinical administrator Elisa on for more information about this service or to let us know if you want to attend.

Referral Process:

It is essential that you contact Baobab prior to making a referral to discuss your young person's situation and to make sure our model of work fits with what your young person needs. Our administrators will arrange for you to speak with one of our intake clinicians. Please email our clinical administrator Elisa at or contact our office to book a phone appointment on 020 7263 1301.

For all new referrers, please note the following updated criteria that the young person must meet to make a referral:

  • Must be under the age of 24 at the time of referral;
  • Must be seeking asylum in the UK or have refugee status;
  • Must have experienced organised (state/community) and/or interpersonal violence in home country or on their journey into exile before the age of 18. Experiencing violence can include witnessing violence against community members  or witnessing violence against family members, as well as directly experiencing violence themselves.  Experiences may include violation, humiliation, imprisonment or murder of parents, being forcibly recruited into rebel/government armies, being imprisoned and tortured for political activities or for the alleged activities of their parents, being trafficked for sexual or labour exploitation or crime.
  • Must have lost aspects of childhood and adolescent developmental experience through experiences of traumatic violence and loss [generally young people referred at our Centre are functioning developmentally at a much more immature level than their chronological age]
  • Is having psychological difficulties now s/he is in the UK
  • Is able to attend the Baobab Centre independently, or if not, must be accompanied by the referrer until such a time as s/he feels able to travel to the centre alone
  • Does not need specialist psychiatric care and is not violent.
  • Has agreed to participate in psychotherapy work and would like to work towards coming to understand themselves better.
Please read carefully our new updated assessment process:

Requirements before Assessment Takes Place
  1.  (If you have never referred clients to the Baobab) you first must contact the Baobab Centre to discuss your client’s situation with a Baobab intake clinician. This initial contact should preferably take place at one of the regular referrers’ meetings we will be arranging throughout the year, or in person individually at our offices, or, sometimes, over the phone. The purpose of this initial discussion is to make sure that referrers are in a position to decide whether or not what we offer is what their client needs. 
  2. That Referrer fully fills in our referral form, available via our administrative staff who can email the form to you. Please email elisa.obrien@baobabsurvivors.orgfor a referral form. 
  3. That Referrer needs to communicate with the young person’s lawyer (Asylum Representative) and sends us copies of the young person’s statement and any legal documents, including copies of the screening and the substantive Interviews with Home Office staff and any interviews with Social Services that are relevant to the asylum claim. We also need copies of any refusal letters from the Home Office and dates of any future appeal hearings and the decisions of the judge in Appeal Hearings that have already taken place. We also need copies of any specialist medical/psychological reports that have been written about scarring and physical and psychological health issues. In addition, any reports about the situation in the young person’s country of origin that were used in their hearing would be helpful.
  4. [For young people in Local Authority Care] We need a copy of the last two Pathway P{lans and any Age Assessment carried out.  
  5. If during our referral and assessment process a report is required by an Asylum Representative we need a period of months (to be discussed in relation to each individual case) to get to know the young person and to prepare the report before the report is required. [We usually need six months to prepare a report, which would be a psychological, developmental and treatment report] 
  6. N.B. Baobab does not take on referrals just for Specialist Clinical Reports and only prepares reports in the context of our therapeutic and psychotherapeutic work.
Once the referrer has discussed with a Baobab clinician, filled in the referral form and provided all necessary documents listed above, then the referral form will be assessed by our team and a date to start the assessment will be offered. The assessment process will be as follows:

Assessment Step One:

Initial Meeting between Referrer and young person being referred with one clinician and one senior young member of our community. In our meeting with referrers our ways of working will be presented and there will be plenty of time to ask questions. For part of the meeting the referred young person will be able to go to a different room to talk with senior member of community who can share their thoughts about Baobab and answer any questions in order to inform the young people’s choices about whether or not they would like to become part of the Baobab non-residential therapeutic community.
We like to hold the assessment meetings over two or three consecutive weeks.

Assessment Step Two:  

First Assessment meeting where young person being referred meets with two clinicians.  In our experience young people need to be escorted to the assessment sessions and the escort will need to wait for the assessment to be completed. Young People’s difficulties will be explored and as much of their history as they wish to share.

Assessment Step Three: 

Second Assessment Meeting where young person has an opportunity to reflect on the first assessment sessions and to share more about their difficulties and details of their history. In this session young person’s wishes for therapeutic involvement will be explored and a plan agreed.

Assessment Step Four: 

Referral will be discussed by members of our multidisciplinary child, adolescent and young adult centred, clinical team and allocation will be made to an Individual Therapist and to a psychotherapy Group.

Assessment Step Five:

Allocation to Induction Group
(N.B. For young people who are very untrusting, traumatised and anxious entry to a group may not take place immediately and will be reviewed every three months.)
 The aim of the brief induction group is to introduce young people to Baobab and to therapeutic work in groups so they have an experience of taking part in a small group. The group will, like all our groups have a psycho-social and developmental model of work. It is our experience over many years that after a sequence of incidents of interpersonal and organized violence young people become unstable in their functioning and become stuck in many dimensions of their development usually at the developmental age they were functioning at when they first were overwhelmed by difficult and challenging events. The consequence of this is that the young people who attend our community function generally at a much more mature level than their chronological age. This has huge implications for therapeutic work. We aim that our induction group will begin the process where young people might begin to trust others again and specifically others who share their experiences. Through the work of the group the young people will learn about our holistic and integrated services and about the different activity based therapeutic groups we run. These include philosophy, music, arts based open workshop, and sports-based groups. They will also learn about psychotherapy groups and about case-work support. They have a small experience of being with others in a playful and protected and safe way, geared to their emotional and functional level of understanding, exploring ideas indirectly and at the same time beginning to develop a language for their difficult feelings and memories, anxieties, fears, symptoms, worries and conflicts.
After some sessions of the induction group we will expect young people to join one of the other groups and will make suggestions depending on their apparent needs and wishes.

Please don't hesitate to contact us at for further information.