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Introduction to Child and Adolescent Psychotherapeutic Counselling

Students working with sandtraysPair work during teaching session

This is an exciting and innovative course which offers the opportunity to explore creative interventions and to develop skills in effective communication with children and young people. Participants have described the Introduction course as ‘transformative’ on both a personal and professional level. Taught at the Faculty of Education, this course offers you an opportunity to upskill and explore if a career in psychotherapy or a related field is the next step for you.

Course summary

Taught at master's Level 7, Psychotherapeutic counselling emphasises the co-creation of an in-depth therapeutic relationship that aims to facilitate growth and alleviate distress.

Course overview

The course is taught over six weeks and is a 32-hour PAES Introductory programme. It explores psychotherapeutic counselling with children and adolescents with a focus on play and the arts. It offers activities to develop the skills and theoretical base for those who work or volunteer in this field.

Students are 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;
  • Attachment theory and Psychotherapeutic concepts;
  • safeguarding and child protection including Adverse Childhood Experiences;
  • working with diversity and ethical issues;
  • Understanding the systems around the child and aspects of child psycho-social development;
  • The course takes an Integrative approach combining Humanistic and Psychodynamic theories and concepts with play and the arts.

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Name and describe key theories and concepts in psychotherapeutic counselling with children and young people;
  • Have a basic understanding of traditional attachment theory and neurobiological ideas;
  • Be able to describe the nature of a therapeutic relationship and why relationship is at the heart of the therapeutic work;
  • Be familiar with a range of creative interventions to support effective communication with children and adolescents;
  • Increase personal and professional self-awareness and reflexivity.

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. 


The University of Cambridge is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare and safety of children. In all aspects of the Counselling course provision, including the recruitment of trainees, we adhere to relevant aspects of Keeping Children Safe in Education, and of relevant legislation, and expect all members of our community to fully commit to their associated responsibilities to the safeguarding of children, young people and vulnerable adults.

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.

Students attending this course may wish to apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapeutic Counselling, which is a nationally accredited psychotherapeutic counsellor education programme. However, please be aware that progression from the Introduction course to the Postgraduate Diploma is not a guaranteed route, as they are two separate courses.


Postgraduate Award in Educational Studies (PAES) - 30 credits

How is the course assessed?

  • A 2000-word equivalent assignment, delivered via a presentation;
  • A 2000-word synthesis of your learning journal. 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 £1100
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 during the academic year 2024-25. Once in Michaelmas term (starting in October 2024) and once in Lent term (starting in January 2025). When applying, please indicate your preferred term.

If there are not enough applications for one term, applicants who have indicated a preference for that term will be asked if they wish to be considered for the other term instead. For instance, if you indicated a preference for Michaelmas term but there were very few applicants for Michaelmas, but more for Lent term, you may be contacted to ask if you are available to join the Lent group instead. As this is a short course, a minimum of 90% attendance is expected to ensure students can complete the assessments.

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

Course Dates - Michaelmas 2024 start
Day Date Time
Wednesday 9 October 2024 10.30-16.30
Wednesday 16 October 2024 10.30-16.30
Wednesday 23 October 2024 10.30-16.30
Wednesday 6 November 2024 10.30-16.30
Wednesday 13 November 2024 10.30-16.30
Wednesday 20 November 2024 10.30-16.30
Wednesday* 4 December 2024 10.30-16.30

*In addition to the teaching days, students must be available on 4 December 2024, when all students will deliver their presentations.

Students in the Lent 2025 intake are expected to attend (in person) on all of the following dates:

Course Dates - Lent 2025 start
Day Date Time
Wednesday 29 January 2025 10.30-16.30
Wednesday 5 February 2025 10.30-16.30
Wednesday 12 February 2025 10.30-16.30
Wednesday 26 February 2025 10.30-16.30
Wednesday 5 March 2025 10.30-16.30
Wednesday 12 March 2025 10.30-16.30
Wednesday* 26 March 2025 10.30-16.30

*In addition to the teaching days, students must be available on 26 March 2025, when all students will deliver their presentations.

Who is teaching it?

Esther Hunt is the Course Tutor and Oktober Evennett is the Route Coordinator for the Introduction Course. 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 The application deadline is 9 June 2024. We may re-open applications after this date if there are still spaces available on the Lent 2024 course.

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.

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 account when applying for the course.

Group interviews for the 24/25 courses are planned to take place on 24 July and 4 September 2024.

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