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 Code: BPS218
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement 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
    • Introduction
    • Types Of Childhood Problems
    • Causes Of Childhood Problems
    • Genetic Risks
    • Temperament
    • Environmental Influences
    • Divorce
    • Death Of a Parent
    • Maternal Deprivation
    • Schooling
    • Location
    • Brain Disorder
    • Resilience & Vulnerability
  2. Assessment of Childhood Problems
    • Introduction
    • A Developmental Approach
    • Understanding Normal Development
    • Infancy
    • Years 2 To 5
    • Years 6 To 11
    • Adolescence
    • Assessing Children
    • Difficulties Assessing Children
    • Interviewing Children
    • Interviewing Parents
    • Family Interviews
    • Making Observations
    • Rating Scales & Psychometric Testing
    • Significance Of Prevalence
    • Ethical And Legal Considerations
    • Legal Issues
    • Insurance
    • Parental Involvement in Diagnosis
    • Psychological Assessments and Tests
  3. Counselling for Internalising Problems & Disorders I: Anxiety
    • Introduction
    • Types Of Anxiety
    • Other Types of Anxiety
    • Social Anxiety
    • School-Based Anxiety
    • Symptoms Of Anxiety in Adults and Children
    • Anxiety In Children
    • Why Do Some Children Experience Anxiety More Than Others?
    • Genes And Personality
    • Stressful Environment
    • Getting Help
    • Types Of Treatment for Anxiety in Children
    • Counselling
    • CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)
    • Medication
    • Parental Help
  4. Counselling for Internalising Problems & Disorders II: Depression
    • Introduction
    • Depressive Disorders in Children
    • Signs Of Depression in Children
    • Bipolar Depression in Children – Signs and Symptoms
    • Causes Of Depression
    • Getting Help
    • Parental Help
    • Medical Services
    • Medication
    • Hospital
    • Counselling Treatments for Depression
    • Interpersonal Therapy
    • CBT And Depression in Children
  5. Counselling for Externalising Problems & Disorders III: Eating Disorders
    • What Are Eating Disorders?
    • Causes Of Eating Disorders
    • Anorexia Nervosa
    • Bulimia Nervosa
    • Binge Eating Disorder
    • Signs And Symptoms
    • Diagnosis
    • Getting Help
    • Parental Support
    • Professional Help
    • Case Study
  6. Counselling for Externalising Problems & Disorders IV: Conduct Disorders
    • Introduction
    • Subtypes Of Conduct Disorder
    • Symptoms Of Conduct Disorder
    • Causes Of Conduct Disorder
    • Diagnosis
    • Treatment Of Conduct Disorder
    • Case Study
    • Parental Involvement
    • More On Medication
  7. Counselling for Other Problems & Disorders
    • Introduction
    • Bedwetting
    • Counselling For Bedwetting
    • Cultural Differences
    • Cross Cultural Counselling
    • Bullying And Cyberbullying
    • Counselling
    • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
    • Treatment For ASD
    • Counselling For ASD
    • ADHD
    • Medication
    • Counselling
  8. Other Counselling Approaches
    • Introduction
    • Medication
    • Virtual Reality
    • MST
    • Art Therapy
    • Lego Therapy
    • Play Therapy
  9. Special Project - 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.


  • Explain broad groups of psychological disorders in children and possible causes of problems.
  • Understand the significance of development and differences to adults in the assessment of child mental health.
  • Understand childhood anxiety and possible counselling approaches to treatment.
  • Understand childhood depression and possible counselling approaches to treatment.
  • Understand childhood eating and feeding disorders and possible counselling approaches to treatment.
  • Understand childhood anxiety and possible counselling approaches to treatment.
  • Explain a range of other problems and disorders affecting children; and compare alternative response strategies.
  • Explain a range of different counselling strategies and possible outcomes that are appropriate to use when dealing with children.
  • Investigate a child in need of counselling and develop a treatment plan for that child.

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

ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.
ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

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What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exam and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Statement of Attainment. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

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ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
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You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Tracey Jones (Psychologist)

B.Sc. (Psych), M.Soc.Sc., Dip.Social Work, P.G.Dip Learning Disability, Cert Editing, Cert Creative Writing, PGCE.
Member British Psychological Society, Member Assoc. for Coaching, Member British Learning Assoc.
25 years industry experience in writing, editing, education, psychology, and business. Tracey has several books and hundreds of articles published; in both fiction and non fiction.

Jacinda Cole (Psychologist)

Psychologist, Educator, Author, Psychotherapist.
B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA
Jacinda has over 25 years of experience in psychology, in both Australia and England. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and a Masters in Psychology (Clinical) and also trained in psychoanalytic psychotherapy at the London Centre for Psychotherapy. She has co-authored several psychology text books and many courses including diploma and degree level courses in psychology and counselling. Jacinda has worked for ACS for over 10 years.

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