Working therapeutically with children: Part 2

This workshop introduces practical approaches to child therapy and focuses primarily on issues pertaining to the therapeutic relationship and the application of therapeutic skills and techniques. It looks at how Counselling Psychology can offer a unique and valuable perspective to therapeutic work with children, which is rarely recognised or represented in child and family services today. It is the second part of a two-day training in working therapeutically with children.

The workshop consists of five blocks of learning. The first block serves as an introduction to the workshop as a whole and looks at how therapeutic work with children differs from work with adults. This includes a brief discussion on topics covered in more depth in part 1 of this workshop. The second block looks at the initial stages of engaging with young clients and introduces creative ways of gathering information for an assessment whilst at the same time creating an alliance with the child and their family. The remaining three blocks introduce three different therapeutic approaches to working with children, namely play therapy (West, 1996), narrative therapy (White, 2007) and mindfulness (e.g. Williams et al., 2007) with reference to evidence-based practice.

Throughout the workshop there is an emphasis on reflective practise and on the stance that the participants adopt not only with children in general, but with the ‘child within’ as they are encouraged to experiment with creative and imaginative forms of expression. The style of teaching reflects the content of the workshop and provides plenty of opportunities for play in the form of experiential exercises, story-telling and creative activities.

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


The workshop is intended as an introduction to therapeutic work with children and would suit all counselling psychologists who have an interest in working with children but with limited previous experience in this field. It could also be of interest to counselling psychologists who wish to develop more creative and non-verbal ways of working within approaches that traditionally falls within the category of ‘talking therapies’. 

Learning outcomes and objectives

  • Participants will have some understanding of how to engage with children and how this differs from work with adults
  • Participants have reflected on their assumptions, thoughts, feelings, and fears in relation to ‘children’ and ‘childhood’
  • Participants will have an initial understanding of three different therapeutic approaches to working with children
  • Participants will feel more confident about approaching children and families in a professional capacity
  • Participants will have a set of practical tools for direct work with children

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 Members: £156 (£108.33 +VAT)
  • Concession: £132 (£92.50 +VAT)

Persons eligible for concessionary rates are student members of the Society, graduate members registered under Rule 15.ii (studying in the UK and not subject to income tax), Rule 21 (retired) members, and members who are unemployed. For evidence of unemployment, we will require a copy of your job seekers allowance book.

How to book:

Registration closes at 12:00 on 29 October 2013. 

Thu, 31/10/2013 (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