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PG Dip in Educational Studies: Child and Adolescent Psychotherapeutic Counselling

Course content

The Faculty of Education has a 30-year tradition of educating therapists in this specialised area. We are delighted to offer our new and creative three-year practitioner professional development programme. The Child and Adolescent Psychotherapeutic Counselling Programme at the Faculty of Education is accredited by the Universities Psychotherapy and Counselling Association (U.P.C.A.) and leads to registration with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (U.K.C.P.).

Psychotherapeutic counselling emphasises the co-creation of an in-depth therapeutic relationship that aims to facilitate growth and alleviate distress. Within this purposeful relationship human beings are viewed holistically in the context of concrete life situations and developmental stages.

The course specialises in the aims, processes and skills of working therapeutically with children and young people through an emphasis on working through play and with the arts. Other significant strands include child and adolescent development, clinical skills, professional issues, ethics and child safe-guarding, child mental health, developing children's emotional well-being, working with children's contexts, networks and families, multi agency work, working in a school setting, and working with groups. This programme enables participants to become effective and ethical psychotherapeutic counsellors.

Core Elements

Core elements of the course include theory, practice and personal development. Students will undertake a supervised practice placement, personal therapy and a young child observation. There is a personal development group that runs for a year of the programme. In addition, the teaching and learning methods used encourage constant self-awareness and personal development. The core theoretical model of the training is integrative, developmental, relational and eco-systemic. This means that the course brings together elements from different theories to make a coherent whole.

There is an emphasis on:

  • The nature of a therapeutic relationship
  • Child and adolescent development
  • The uniqueness of the individual
  • Examining key theoretical perspectives in counselling and psychotherapy including the psychodynamic, the humanistic and increasingly the neuroscientific
  • Working eco-systemically with children's networks and contexts
  • Working with play and the arts

The essential elements to gain the diploma

  • Successful completion of the course study hours including completion of a placement comprising 100 supervised practice hours during the course.
  • Continuous weekly personal therapy during the three years of the programme
  • Successful completion of the academic requirements and the practical skills assessment elements of the course
  • Ongoing student membership of UPCA

The essential elements to gain registration

  • Satisfactory completion of all elements of the PG Diploma in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapeutic Counselling.
  • Satisfactory completion of an annual CPD audit
  • Completion of an additional 350 post qualifying hours of supervised clinical practice.
  • Satisfactory outcome of a readiness for registration interview

NB : Under UKCP regulations, individuals remain trainee psychotherapeutic counsellors until they have met all accreditation requirements and have achieved UKCP registration. The accreditation the course holds is for those entering the programme in September 2018 or later.

Course overview

The programme is designed to enable participants to:

  1. Work therapeutically with children and young people especially through communication using the arts and play.
  2. Develop the skills of psychotherapeutic counselling in one-to-one and group settings through the use of practicums, experiential, active learning methods, practical work with other students and undertaking a supervised practice placement.
  3. Gain a thorough knowledge and understanding of the theoretical base of psychotherapeutic counselling.
  4. Gain a thorough knowledge and understanding of the social and emotional development of young people.
  5. Explore the ethical and professional aspects of working therapeutically with children and adolescents in schools and other settings

Personal Therapy

Personal therapy is required for all students for the duration of their course. This will be once a week with a suitably qualified and experienced practitioner. (40 hours per annum as a minimum). The cost of personal therapy is not covered by the course and therapy is self-funded.


Students are required to undertake a practice placement; this will normally begin in year 2. The costs of clinical supervision at the placement are not covered by the course. Often the placement provider pays these costs but we cannot guarantee it.

Who is this course aimed at?

The diploma is designed for those who work with young people in educational or other settings who have either satisfactorily completed the Introduction to Child and Adolescent Counselling Skills (30-hour PAES course) or have an equivalent qualification in counselling and psychotherapy.

How is it assessed?

Students are assessed through a combination of written and practical assignments including a case presentation and a practice viva.

Pattern of attendance

The course is taught one day a week over three ten-week terms for three years. The first and second years are taught on a Thursday and the third year on a Wednesday. In addition there will be one four-day intensive in years one and two; attendance is required on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday of the relevant weeks. Dates for 2019 are TBC. Students are also required to choose two Cambridge Forum for Children’s Emotional Well-being workshops to attend over the three years.

Visit the PG Dip in Educational Studies: Child and Adolescent Psychotherapeutic Counselling page on the University of Cambridge website for more details!




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Recipient: University of Cambridge

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