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PG Dip in Educational Studies: Child and Adolescent Psychotherapeutic Counselling

Course content

The Postgraduate 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 (60-hour PAES course) or have an equivalent qualification in counselling and psychotherapy.

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Course detail

The programme is designed to enable participants to:

- work therapeutically with children and young people especially through communication using the arts and play;
- develop the skills of counselling in one-to-one and group settings through the use of practicums, experiential, active learning methods and practical work with other students;
- gain a grounding in the theoretical base of counselling and group work;
- increase their understanding of the development of young people personally, socially and emotionally;
- explore the ethical and professional aspects of working with children and adolescents in schools and other settings.


The diploma comprises three core units:

- Unit 1: Working through the therapeutic relationship and developing counselling skills: practicum and theory sessions
- Unit 2: Communication through images: the use of the creative arts in counselling and affective education
- Unit 3: Working with and understanding groups

Unit 1

Three main areas will be explored:

- Counselling theory and psychology - including a detailed look at the main approaches to counselling children and adolescents, the theory of human development and motivation and the psychology of change.

- Working with the therapeutic relationship - where participants will explore the role of the relationship in therapeutic work and have an opportunity to develop relational qualities including the core processes. There will also be discussions of transference and counter-transference and the use of self.

- Counselling skills and their application - where participants will study and practise the skills of listening, reflecting, observation and attunement, questioning, summarising, communicating empathy and challenging, which will involve the use of a practicum (working on skills in the group).

The unit also covers the social and professional content of counselling, where the ethical and professional issues of working with children and in organisations will be explored, which involves an exploration of issues such as confidentiality and working with colleagues, other professionals and children’s networks.

Unit 2

This unit aims to work in an experiential way and to explore the following:

- the use of non-verbal methods in counselling and affective education (this is important because many participants will be working with students who are either young or unable to express themselves with ease verbally);
- the theory behind the use of play and arts media in counselling;
- the satisfactory expression of an experience through metaphor;
- exploring working with key emotional themes and feelings;
- the use of the creative arts in counselling and affective education in schools.

Practicum work will continue through the use of video with opportunity for peer review and tutor supervision

Unit 3

The final unit aims to provide an opportunity for participants to:

- develop an understanding and awareness of how they experience and behave in a group;
- increase their knowledge and understanding of the theory of group psychology and psychotherapy and the application of this to therapeutic group work with children.

It will be structured around four components:

- the theory of group and group processes;
- application in the workplace, which looks at ways of integrating knowledge and awareness of groups and group processes into the work setting;
- personal growth and awareness, in which activities will be used to engage participants in reflection on themselves and their communication;
- the personal development group, which offers participants the opportunity to develop self-awareness by sharing their thoughts and feelings with each other and the effect they have on each other.

This is an essential process for future counsellors as otherwise their own preconceptions, anxiety and distress may distort their attempts to help the client.

In addition participants are required to complete a minimum of 40 hours of self-funded personal therapy during the course of the Postgraduate Diploma year.


- 2 x 4,000-word essays
- 1 x 8,000-word essay

Participants receive formal feedback on their assignments and informal feedback throughout the course (including through supervision).

How to apply:


Hoxter bursary (deadline 31 July annually)

Sources of government funding and financial support (including Professional and Career Development Loans)

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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