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PG Cert /PG Dip/ MSc in Child Psychotherapy

Validated by London South Bank University

Commencing 2014

Programme Leader: Dr Harbrinder Dhillon-Stevens

This course is for the study of child psychotherapy integration as a second training in psychotherapy.Future developments will encompass the development of an introductory and intermediate year prior to two further years to offer a Master’s programme as a first training course.

We are committed to examining and teaching how models and theories drawn from a deep understanding of human psychology can be used to inform and enhance child psychotherapy practice. In terms of clinical work, candidates must demonstrate their ability to work with a range of ages and must have one placement context that clearly demonstrates their experience of mental health settings.

There has been a growing increase in the number of professionals working with children and young people from a humanistic orientation. It is only relatively recently that moves have been made by various bodies to offer training and accreditation for child psychotherapists as a profession within this paradigm. As a result of this we consider that the time is right to offer our programme. We are offering a programme aimed specifically at individuals wishing to develop knowledge, confidence and skill in the area of child psychotherapy from an integrative relational orientation.

Philosophy of the Programme

The course is based on an integrative philosophy of practice, theory and research. We focus on bringing together different kinds of knowledge as a way of developing the highest capabilities in practitioners in service provision and in contributing to the development of practice-based knowledge in the profession of child psychotherapy. To this end, in the training process we emphasise the integration of the personal and the professional.

Training Programme Design

The course will review the different areas of child psychotherapy practice – infant and toddler observations, developmental theory, child protection, child psychiatry, mental health, multi-disciplinary work contexts, therapeutic interventions based on the use of creative arts, systemic approaches, parent–infant psychotherapy, severe disturbance and early relational trauma, and practitioner research – with a view to identifying the competencies appropriate to these differing areas of endeavour. We draw on research in psychology, psychotherapy and neurobiology to enrich our perspective on the field of child psychotherapy.

Entry Requirements

All candidates will, at the point of entry, have studied at postgraduate level and will have ONE (or more) of the following:

  • a degree in psychology or a related discipline (such as sociology, education, theology, philosophy, etc.); OR
  • a non-relevant degree (such as accounting, art, etc.) but also some appropriate training and/or relevant work/life experience; OR
  • a qualification in one of the helping professions (such as psychiatric nursing, nursing, probation, social work, teaching, etc.); OR
  • a counselling diploma or equivalent qualification; OR
  • significant relevant work and/or life experience. (Students in this last category will have used the APEL (Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning) process to establish equivalence once they have been assessed for suitability for psychotherapy training.)

The modalities of previous training can be transactional analysis, Gestalt or other appropriate modalities. Equivalent qualifications will be considered through an Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) process, where candidates will need to demonstrate previous training in relation to child development, neurobiology and trauma. Candidates with the European Certificate of Psychotherapy (ECP) will be considered in terms of equivalent qualifications.

Applications with non-standard qualifications will go through an APEL process and produce a portfolio of evidence which will be assessed on an individual basis.

Application Procedures

Applicants must complete the application form. This must be accompanied by:

  • A full CV;
  • Two references, one academic and one personal;
  • One passport-sized photograph.

Your application will be read by the Head of Department/Programme Leader to ensure that basic entry requirements have been met. You will then be invited for an assessment interview.

Enhanced disclosures via the Disclosure and Barring Service (for which an additional fee of £75 is payable) and appropriate references and recommendations attesting the suitability of candidates to work with children are essential components of the entry process. The Enhanced Disclosure process will not commence until you have been accepted a place on the course. Please note: relevant application materials (e.g. copies of certificates etc.) should be submitted at the same time in order for us to process your application as quickly as possible.

Aims of the Training Programmes

The course aims to enable candidates to become competent reflexive practitioners with the capacity to integrate theory, research and practice at a high level of personal and professional functioning in the field of child psychotherapy. The course will be suited to existing graduates to convert to training and registration as a child psychotherapist.

The values that inform our programme give recognition to:

  • The child’s individual human rights, including the right to self-determination, within the reasonable constraints of their need for safety, protection and care, in keeping with the law relating to child protection and the rights of parents and carers;
  • The right support and conditions, and the capacity for the child to access impeded developmental impulses and re-establish the potential for psychological well-being;
  • The importance of considering the experience of children and young people in the context of the overall matrix of their lives and the centrality of family, social, cultural, religious/spiritual and political systems which frame their reality;
  • The need to recognise the value and validity of a child’s experience and to recognise the creativity and resilience of infants and children in responding to the circumstances of their lives as best they can within their developmental capabilities and emotional resources, even where this manifests in ways that present challenge and difficulty in the adult world, and to recognise that the child alone is not the problem;
  • The particular dependency and vulnerability of the infant, child and young person - emotionally, physically, psychologically and spiritually;
  • The particular nature of the child’s experience that characterises the several developmental stages and tasks involved in growing up into a mature relationship in the world;
  • The need to support children in developing the skills and resources they need to deal realistically with the circumstances of their lives, as well as to emerge more fully with their own potentialities and to build trust;
  • The multidisciplinary nature of work with children, and the vital importance of inter- and intra-professional dialogue and exploration.

Child Psychotherapy Open Evening

(To be advised)

For more information email Cathy Simeon our Joint Academic Co-ordinator, at or call her on +44 (0)20 8832 3072


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