Counselling Skills with Children and Adolescents - Theory

The details
Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 03 October 2019
Saturday 14 December 2019
13 December 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA LCJ8 Sociology with Psychosocial Studies (Including Placement Year),
BA LJ8C Sociology with Psychosocial Studies (Including Year Abroad),
BA LJC8 Sociology with Psychosocial Studies

Module description

You will study the nature of the counselling relationship, consider how to develop a therapeutic alliance, and the overall process of counselling. You will explore issues of assessment and formulation, understanding the underlying verbal and non-verbal communication, including the application of skills and techniques utilised, for example, in art and play, and how all this works within the psychodynamic framework that the module supports.

Module aims

This module aims to provide a theoretical understanding of psychodynamic counselling with children and adolescents. While this module cannot provide a counselling qualification, students will be learning about how counselling skills are used in practice both through case examples found in readings and through workshops.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students should:
• Have an understanding of the principles of psychodynamic thinking
• Have a grasp of key skills in supportive work with children and adolescents
• Have an understanding of the dynamics of relationships and encounters between staff and children/adolescents

Module information

The readings below will be helpful to give you an introductory grasp of the some of the main ideas and concepts commonly used in the module you have chosen. Do not be concerned if you cannot take all this in straight away – that is not important. It is more important to get a feeling for the approach overall. We are very pleased you are coming to study with us and we warmly welcome you into our learning community.

Chris Nicholson – Director of Education

‘Key psychoanalytic concepts’ by Trowell, J. in The Emotional Needs of Young Children and Their Families. Ed. Routledge;
‘Psychodynamics: A Changing Theory’ in Leiper, R. and Maltby, M. (2004) The Psychodynamic Approach to Therapeutic Change. London: Sage. (pp 12-33)
‘Defining the Theory: Psychodynamics’ in Michael Preston-Shoot and Agass, D. (1999) Making Sense of Social Work. London: Palgrave McMillan.

Learning and teaching methods

Seminar - Students will discuss readings on theoretical and practical aspects of counselling relationships with children and adolescents. There will be a reflective group and the beginning and end of this module Workshop – Students will participate in experiential workshops to practice new skills and to deepen their understanding. Students will also participate in two reflective groups The module balances academic study and discussion of the issues along with active participation in weekly workshops and attendance at two reflective groups. Reflective groups provide both a chance to reflect more widely upon the learning in this module and participate in an experiential event giving a first-hand sense of psychodynamic processes which form the foundation of the learning.


  • Hamish Canham. (2004) 'Spitting, kicking and stripping: technical difficulties encountered in the treatment of deprived children', in Journal of Child Psychotherapy. vol. 30 (2) , pp.143-154
  • Winnicott, Clare; Kanter, Joel S. (2004) Face to face with children: the life and work of Clare Winnicott, London: Karnac.
  • Marshall-Tierney, J. (2010) 'Melting muddy mixtures : an exploration of the art psychotherapy process with an adolescent boy in a therapeutic community', in Children and adolescents in trauma: creative therapeutic approaches, London: Jessica Kingsley. vol. Community, culture and change
  • Kegerreis, Sue. (2010) Psychodynamic counselling with children and young people: an introduction, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. vol. Basic texts in counselling and psychotherapy
  • Axline, Virginia Mae. (1967, ©1964) Dibs in search of self, New York: Ballantine Books.
  • Hopper, Linda. (2007) Counselling and psychotherapy with children and adolescents, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Meares, Russell. (2005) The metaphor of play: origin and breakdown of personal being, Hove: Routledge.
  • Hinshelwood, R. D. (1994) Clinical Klein, London: Free Association Books.
  • Winnicott, D. W. (1971) Therapeutic consultations in child psychiatry, London: Hogarth Press [for] the Institute of Psycho-Analysis. vol. no. 87
  • Carpy, D. (1989) 'Tolerating the countertransference: a mutative process.', in The international journal of psychoanalysis. vol. 70, pp.287-294
  • Winnicott, D. W. (1992) Through paediatrics to psycho-analysis, London: Karnac Books and the Institute of Psycho-analysis.
  • Leiper, Rob; Maltby, Michael. (2004) The psychodynamic approach to therapeutic change, London: Sage Publications. vol. Sage therapeutic change series
  • McGoldrick, Monica; Gerson, Randy; Petry, Sueli S. (c2008) Genograms: assessment and intervention, New York: W.W. Norton.
  • Mak-Pearce, G. (2001) 'Engaging troubled adolescents in six-session psychodynamic therapy', in Community-based psychotherapy with young people: evidence and innovation in practice, Hove: Brunner-Routledge.
  • Temperley, J. (no date) The implications for social work practice of recent psycho-analytic developments *.
  • Noonan, Ellen. (2000) Counselling young people, London: Routledge.
  • Sternberg, Janine. (2005) Infant observation at the heart of training, London: Karnac.
  • R. D. Hinshelwood. (1991) 'Psychodynamic Formulation in assessment for psychotherapy', in British Journal of Psychotherapy. vol. 8 (2) , pp.166-174
  • Hoxter, S. (2002, c1981) 'Play and communication', in The Child psychotherapist and problems of young people, London: Karnac., pp.202-231
  • Malan, David H. (1995) Individual psychotherapy and the science of psychodynamics, Oxford: Butterworth.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Essay 1    50% 
Coursework   Essay 2    50% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Ms Arianna Pulsoni, email:
Student Administration 5A.202; telephone 01206 874969; email



External examiner

Dr Gary Winship
University of Nottingham
Associate Professor
Available via Moodle
Of 30 hours, 27 (90%) hours available to students:
3 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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