Counselling Children

Learn to be sensitive to the needs of children, and more capable of interacting in a positive way with children during therapy. Review different approaches for helping children with internalising and externalising problems. Add to your counselling skills.

Course CodeBPS218
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Make a Difference to the Lives of Children


Improve your skillset so that you can offer the best counselling service to children that they could hope for. Learn new ways to help children overcome difficult times in their lives.

Helping Children

Children face mental health problems and difficulties in their lives which require help from counsellors, psychologists and other therapists. However, helping children with these problems usually requires a different approach to helping adults. You have to be mindful of legal issues, ethical issues, their level of emotional and cognitive development, and what is going to be meaningful to them in the context of their lives.    

In order to counsel children effectively a therapist needs to understand the types of problems that can affect children and how they might have evolved.

Like disorders of adulthood, childhood disorders can, and usually do, have more than one cause. Also, like adults, these causes may be of genetic or environmental origin. With children though, we must also consider developmental causes since childhood is a time when children are continually developing: intellectually, socially, emotionally and, of course, physically. 

Take this course to find out more about what influences childhood mental health, the unique problems involved with interviewing and assessing children, and some different strategies for helping children with different types of mental health issues.

Become more sensitive to the needs of children, and more capable of interacting in a positive way with children during counselling.

Lesson Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Types & Causes of Childhood Problems
  2. Assessment of Childhood Problems (including ethical/legal considerations)
  3. Counselling for Internalising Problems & Disorders I: Anxiety
  4. Counselling for Internalising Problems & Disorders II: Depression
  5. Counselling for Externalising Problems & Disorders III: Eating Disorders
  6. Counselling for Externalising Problems & Disorders IV: Conduct Disorders
  7. Counselling for Other Problems & Disorders
  8. Other Counselling Approaches
  9. Problem based learning

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Before you can begin to offer counselling, you need to gain a full picture of the child's problems. The assessment of childhood disorders and problems involves considering information from different sources. The more information you have, the clearer idea you will have of what is wrong with the child and how you can help them. 

A Developmental Approach   

In order to develop a measured assessment, it is vital to view the child in terms of where they are at developmentally. That is, you need to be aware of behaviour relative to the child's age. For instance, a 16-year-old child who wets the bed is likely to have a different clinical profile and be treated differently to a 3 year old with the same problem. Furthermore, children of different ages react differently to different life events e.g. divorce of parents may have a greater disruptive impact on a 5-year-old than a 15 year old. Also, the presentation of many disorders is often different with age. For example, childhood anxiety disorders often improve as the child matures.    

Cultural and ethnic differences can also affect development. It may be that a child is not expected to reach certain developmental stages in some cultures by a particular age, but they are in others. Similarly, in some cultures children may be expected to grow up quickly and adopt behaviours ordinarily associated with older children or parents. Whilst in some cases they may take this on board and develop a sense of independence, other children may feel burdened and develop behavioural problems.   


How This Course Can Help You


This course is intended to help counsellors and other therapists to expand their skills and learn more about how to counsel children. Traditional counselling microskills are not always useful when working with children and especially younger ones. Often counselling techniques have to be modified to account for childhood differences.

Take this course to develop your understanding of childhood mental health further and to broaden your knowledge of counselling approaches for children. 

The course is aimed at people working in, or aspiring to work in the following fields:

Youth work
Child and adolescent counselling
School counselling
Child psychology
Caring roles
Health care roles

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