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Introduction to Child and Adolescent Psychotherapeutic Counselling

Student with Carol Holliday, Lecturer

Course summary

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.

Course overview

A 32-hour PAES course that aims to explore psychotherapeutic counselling with children and adolescents and develop the skills and theoretical base for such work. Course members will be encouraged to consider how these skills apply in their own work setting, through the idea of ‘embedded counselling’. There is an emphasis on the therapeutic relationship and the relational processes involved in using counselling skills with children and young people.

Consideration will also be given to specific areas including;

  • counselling in schools and other settings
  • safeguarding and child protection
  • working with diversity
  • practical and ethical issues
  • working with parents and adults around the child
  • students' own work settings

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Name and describe core conditions
  • Have a basic understanding of attachment including traditional theory and neurobiological ideas
  • Be able to describe the nature of a therapeutic relationship and why relationship is at the core of the therapeutic work
  • Be able to listen accurately and support the other to communicate their experience.

Teaching Methods

The course is taught through an active learning approach that centres on experiential work. Teaching also takes place through:

  • interactive workshops
  • mini lectures
  • group discussions
  • practice sessions with peer and tutor feedback
  • practice sessions involving arts and play
  • student presentations

This course is taught in person at the Faculty of Education, Cambridge. 

Who is this course aimed at?

This course is aimed at adults working with young people and children, who want to begin to develop some counselling skills and knowledge. It is appropriate for those working directly with children and young people in education or other settings such as youth work, health, or social care. It is also the entry course for those wishing to pursue the Postgraduate Diploma, which is a nationally accredited psychotherapeutic counsellor education programme.


PAES (30 credits)

How is the course assessed?

  • Assessment is via a 4000 word-equivalent submission, delivered via a presentation.
  • Students are expected to keep a learning journal for the duration of the course and will need to hand this in.


Tuition Fees for 2023/24
Home Students £1000
Overseas Students (including EU)

Please note: Fees are reviewed every year and may increase in subsequent years.

Course availability

The course is expected to run twice in academic year 2023-24, once in Michaelmas term (starting in October 2023) and once in Lent term (starting in January 2024). 

Students in the Michaelmas 2023 intake are expected to attend (in person) on all of the following dates:

Course Dates - Michaelmas 2023 start
Day Date Time
Wednesday 4 October 2023 10.30-16.30
Wednesday 11 October 2023 10.30-16.30
Wednesday 18 October 2023 10.30-16.30
Wednesday 1 November 2023 10.30-16.30
Wednesday 8 November 2023 10.30-16.30
Wednesday 15 November 2023 10.30-16.30
Wednesday* 29 November 2023 10.30-16.30

*In addition to the teaching days, students must be available on 29 November 2023, when all students will deliver their presentations.

Students in the Lent 2024 intake are expected to attend (in person) on all of the following dates:

Course Dates - Lent 2024 start
Day Date Time
Wednesday 31 January 2024 10.30-16.30
Wednesday 7 February 2024 10.30-16.30
Wednesday 14 February 2024 10.30-16.30
Wednesday 28 February 2024 10.30-16.30
Wednesday 6 March 2024 10.30-16.30
Wednesday 13 March 2024 10.30-16.30
Wednesday* 27 March 2024 10.30-16.30

*In addition to the teaching days, students must be available on 27 March 2024, when all students will deliver their presentations.

Who is teaching it?

Esther Hunt and Fiona Peacock. Students are supervised in learning groups to help them prepare for the assessment.

How to apply

Please apply via the PPD application portal. If you have any difficulties with this or have any questions, please email

We are currently accepting applications for the January 2024 course. The application deadline is 20 October 2023

Applicants may be invited to a group interview at the Faculty of Education, Cambridge. All interviews for this course take place in person. Please take this into account when applying for the course.

We will be holding interviews for the January 2024 course on 22 November 2023.

PLEASE NOTE applications are considered to be complete only when we have received all application documents, including both references and supporting documentation. If applications are incomplete by the application deadline it may not be possible to consider them.

Entry qualifications

This course is designed for those who want to explore working therapeutically with young people. No previous counselling education is required although this is a postgraduate award and normally candidates are expected to hold a good honours degree.

Open days 

We occasionally hold counselling-specific open days with the Co-Course Leaders, in person or online. More information will be posted on this site in advance of a session. If you would like to be notified of upcoming open days please email

Any course queries should be directed to