Counselling and psychotherapy for children and young people can be a little different to counselling adults. We asked our resident CYP trainer John Bradley about the ups and downs of working with this rewarding and sometimes challenging client group.
What skills are needed for counselling children and young people?
Working with children and young people (CYP) requires many different skills to adult client work. A knowledge of child development theory (such as Erikson, Piaget and Bowlby) and brain development (such as Dan Siegel’s work) is crucial. A knowledge of ethical and legal issues, such as safeguarding and child protection, may be an important part of many sessions.
Using creative and play ways of working is also helpful. Offering art, sand trays or miniatures (such as a Russian doll) can be a facilitative method to enable a CYP client to express themselves when they are struggling to say any words.
What are the differences between being a counsellor for a child and for an adult?
One significant difference between CYP client work and adult client work is that CYP may be brought or sent by an adult / family member / carer. They may have little power or choice. How the therapist shares this power with the CYP is crucial to the success of the work together.
Working with CYP clients often demands partnership working with other professionals. Examples include: teacher, pastoral member in school; parent/family member/carer; CAMHS; social care team; child protection/safeguarding officer.
What therapy services are available in Hull and East Riding for children and young people?
In the Hull and East Riding area, CYP therapy is offered in private practice (by a small number number of BACP/NCS counsellors and UKCP psychotherapists); agency settings (Hull and East Yorkshire Mind, Fortis Therapy, Relate Hull, Time to Listen and Counselling for Kids); community settings (the Warren in Hull); local authority settings (East Riding Council Youth Counselling Team); school counselling in many Hull & East Riding primary & secondary schools. Online counselling is also available via Kooth.
What sort of issues are you presented with as a counsellor of young people?
Examples of issues that CYP clients bring are family and friends and relationship issues; self confidence and self esteem; identity; gender, sexuality and sex; self harm and suicidal thought; academic and school issues; change and transitions; abuse: physical, sexual, emotional, neglect; loss, bereavement and change/transitions; trauma and mental health issues.
Therapeutic work with children and young people demands a great deal of self awareness of the therapist’s childhood. This may be frequently triggered working with CYP clients. A willingness to be flexible in the therapy session: using developmentally appropriate interventions and language.
What do you love about being a children’s and young people therapist?
I enjoy their honesty, openness and directness of CYP clients. I love how they may ask questions about me and are genuinely interested. This is always powerful about being in a therapeutic relationship with CYP clients. I enjoy their creativity, inventiveness, playfulness and risk taking.
– John Bradley, Children and Young People course facilitator
How do I make a referral for counselling or psychotherapy for a child or young person?
Feel free to get in contact with Ellesmere Counselling and Psychotherapy Training to ask any questions or to discuss
making a referral to one of our children and young people counsellors / psychotherapists.
At ECPT, we have an established programme of courses for children and young people counselling and psychotherapy. Here’s a list of everything we have run since 2011
2011 Children & Young People workshop programme
2012 Children & Young People workshop programme
2013 Certificate in Therapeutic Work with Children and Young People course starts
2014 Certificate in Therapeutic Work with Children and Young People course runs
2015 Certificate in Therapeutic Work with Children and Young People course runs
The Certificate course achieves recognition from BACP’s CPD Endorsement Scheme
(This course accreditation scheme was for courses up to 60 CPD hours)
2015 Children & Young People workshop programme: 8 workshops
2016 Certificate in Therapeutic Work with Children and Young People course runs
2016 BACP ends the CPD Endorsement Scheme
The Certificate course achieves Advanced Specialist status for the course from the National Counselling Society.
2016 Children & Young People workshop programme: 3 workshops
2017 Certificate in Therapeutic Work with Children and Young People course runs
2017 Children & Young People workshop programme: 3 workshops
2018 Certificate in Therapeutic Work with Children and Young People course runs
The Certificate course achieves recognition from Relate as an approved external course which qualify practitioners to deliver Relate Children and Young People Counselling
2018 Children & Young People workshop: BACP Basic CYP competences
2018 Introduction to Counselling CYP: Stage 1 (based upon BACP’s CYP Training curriculum)
2019 Final Certificate in Therapeutic Work with Children and Young People course runs
2019 Introduction to Counselling CYP: Stage 1 new course (based upon revised BACP’s CYP Training curriculum) runs
2020 No face to face training due to coronavirus pandemic
2021 Introduction to Counselling CYP: Stage 1 new course (based upon revised BACP’s CYP Training curriculum) runs
2021 Children & Young People workshop programme: 1 workshop
2021 Diploma in Child Psychotherapy / Diploma in Child Psychotherapeutic Counselling starts
Are you interested in training in children and young people’s therapy?
Have a look at the current children and young people training available at Ellesmere Counselling and Psychotherapy Training: