Psychotherapy with Children

Psychotherapy with Children 

Many psychotherapists from every orientation work with children and young people. As EIATSCYP promotes specialist standards for working with children in education, training, research and practice it is recommended that anyone working with children and young people receives some specialist training.

Some psychotherapeutic practitioners may have studied child development and the language of the child in their approaches to Psychodrama, Integrative Arts Psychotherapy, Dance Movement Psychotherapy or other modalities.

It is essential to work therapeutically with the diversity of children’s relational and developmental needs in the context of their lived experience and in relationship to parents, carers and other professionals. Child therapeutic practitioners learn how to manage effective safeguarding practice, be rights-informed in their approach, identifying needs, making accurate assessments, working creatively and engaging in age-appropriate ways in accordance with specialist understanding of child mental health and emotional wellbeing. This requires specialist theoretical study, self-inquiry, consultation and supervision in accordance with each students developing knowledge and professionalism.

Length of Training

Psychotherapy is a post-graduate level profession so any psychotherapist would be expected to be educated in accordance with post graduate academic standards and requirements including an undergraduate degree or equivalent.

In addition to this foundation in professional psychotherapeutic training, further specialism must include the acquisition of relevant knowledge, understanding and skills, formal assessments, and specialist supervision with an appropriately qualified and experienced child therapeutic professional. The additional length of time may vary between one and two years in accordance with each students’ professional background with children and young people.

Personal Therapy and Supervision

Students are required to do a minimum of 160 hours of personal therapy in psychotherapy training and a minimum of at least 50 hours of supervision.

In addition specialist supervision for work with children is a requirement. This can be managed in accordance with the developing practitioners training and educational needs based on their professional experience with children.


In addition to placement hours in psychotherapy with adults, students are required to complete at least 100 hours of placement with children and young people, organised in accordance with training and development needs in professional settings across the age ranges including 20 hours of 3-6 years, 20 hours of 6-9 years, 20 hours of 9-12 years and 6 hours of 13-18 years.

Following completion of specialist placement requirements and necessary assessments for child competencies the psychotherapist can be awarded the title of Psychotherapist with Competencies for Working with Children. 

This will depend on Recognition of Prior Learning RPL.