Working therapeutically with children

Counselling psychology has a great deal to offer therapeutic work with children, yet this is often overlooked and underrepresented in services. As such, this workshop is the first part of a specialist two-day programme that is aimed at developing counselling psychologists’ confidence and skills in working therapeutically with children.

The workshop will cover three broad areas:

  1. We will reflect on the experience of being an adult working with a child. This will include reflecting on: cultural and personal assumptions about the nature of ‘childhood’; the power dynamics that may emerge when working with children; and how a psychologist may represent a significant ‘object’ in the child’s internal world. 
  2. We will consider some of the ethical considerations that are central to child therapy work, including issues around consent, confidentiality, and child protection. 
  3. We will identify and practise the skills that we draw on when negotiating, and working with, the systems in which the child lives. This will include developing skills in engaging with parents/carers/families whilst working primarily with a child, as well as developing formulations of a child’s difficulties to include family history, relationships, and values.

The content and style of the workshop will be rooted in counselling psychology philosophy, with an emphasis on the relationship and on personally and socially constructed meaning. As such, this workshop promotes the unique contribution of counselling psychology to child and family work.

Provisional timetable
09:30 Registration/tea and coffee
10:00 Workshop starts (there will be a break for lunch)
16:30 Workshop ends


The course will provide an introductory reflection of some of the key opportunities and challenges involved in therapeutic work with children. As such, the course may be best suited to newly qualified counselling psychologists or experienced counselling psychologists who are moving into child work. 

You may also be interested in Working therapeutically with children: Part 2

Learning outcomes and objectives

Through participation in the workshop, participants will have an opportunity to:

  • Increase confidence in working therapeutically with children.
  • Reflect on ethical considerations related to child work, including issues around safeguarding and confidentiality.
  • Develop skills in using formulation to negotiate treatment decisions.
  • Develop skills in working with other people in the child’s life, such as family, peers, and other agencies.
  • Reflect on the impact of one’s own ‘presence’ on the therapeutic relationship as well as on the child’s development.

Facilitator: Dr Gail Sinitsky CPsychol and May Lene Karlsen CPsychol 

Gail Sinitsky is a Chartered psychologist and full member of the Division of Counselling Psychology. She is experienced in working therapeutically with children and families. She has worked in various settings, including the NHS and a number of charities, including, currently, West London Action for Children. Gail believes strongly that all children have the right to flourish and lead fulfilling lives, and that good mental health and emotional well-being is a vital part of this. She enjoys bringing together scientific theory and reflexive practice, to deliver a therapeutic approach that is driven by: a focus on creativity and flexibility; a belief in children’s strengths and inner resources; and a commitment to reflecting on the contexts of children’s lives. She has a special interest in delivering training to professionals and is a member of the BPS ‘Young Work’ networking group, which aims to highlight and enhance the contribution of Counselling Psychology to the field of child and family work.

May Karlsen is a registered counselling psychologist working with children and families in the charity West London Action for Children. She is keen to promote early intervention in mental health services and believes Counselling Psychology has much more to offer work with children and families than is currently recognised. Her doctoral thesis focused on child therapy and she has a particular interest in promoting social research with children. As part of her current position as a psychologist May develops and delivers training to professionals working with children and families in the community. She delivered a workshop based on her doctoral thesis at the World Congress for Play Therapy in 2010 and has given lectures in child development and therapeutic work with children for counselling psychologist trainees. May finds that working with children has greatly enriched her therapeutic work with adults by challenging her to stay curious, think creatively and be playful.

Booking information


  • Non-Society Member: £234 (£195 + VAT)
  • Society Member: £156 (£130 + VAT)
  • DCoP Member: £126(£105 +VAT)
  • Concession: £108 (£90 +VAT)

From 1 January 2013:

  • Non-Society Member: £288 (£210 + VAT)
  • Society Member: £204 (£140 + VAT)
  • DCoP Member: £156 (£108.33 +VAT)
  • Concession: £132 (£92.50 +VAT)

How to book:

Registration closes at 12:00 on 24 September 2013. 

Thu, 26/09/2013 (All day)
Contact Information: 

BPS Learning Centre

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 9925
Fax: +44 (0)116 227 1314

Division of Counselling Psychology & BPS Learning Centre