Taught course

Counselling Children and Young People

University of Northampton · School of Social Sciences

Entry requirements

Candidates will normally have a first or second class bachelors' degree and an Introduction to Counselling Course. Voluntary or professional experience of work with children and young people is desirable, but not essential. Applicants for whom English is not their first language will need to demonstrate that they meet the minimum English language requirement of IELTS 7 minimum all categories (or equivalent). Candidates will normally have a first or second class bachelors' degree. On-course requirements: To count towards a professional body accreditation, such as UKCP or BACP, the course require students to undertake a supervised placement practice of a minimum of 100 hours and a minimum 40 hours of personal therapy with an approved and BACP or UKCP accredited counsellor or therapist. A student membership of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), a professional indemnity insurance and a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check are also mandatory. These requirements imply additional costs on the top of the fee.

Months of entry


Course content

This multidisciplinary course aims to promote an advanced level of knowledge and understanding underpinning practice in the area of Counselling with Children Young People and their families.

This exciting course supports students in developing skills and theoretical knowledge of counselling with children, young people and their families. It is designed for individuals with a significant interest in counselling work with children, who may be practitioners from health, social or voluntary services who work in some capacity with children and young people, or who may be graduates of psychology and other cognate disciplines, social and behavioural sciences, education, health, social care and related fields.

The course is taught by experienced counsellors and therapists with a varied background, supported by some practitioners from allied professions (e.g. psychology, social work, nursing, psychiatric nursing, law and psychiatry).

Students of Counselling with Children and Young People can graduate with either a Postgraduate Diploma or an MSc.

Special course features

  • The MSc promotes an advanced theoretical understanding of Counselling with Children and Young People, integrating opportunities to develop practical and professional counselling skills.
  • The programme equips students with a working knowledge of child development, psychological difficulties in children and young people in their contexts and counselling based skills for working with them and their carers within an eco-systemic perspective integrating Systemic Family Therapy, CBT, Creative therapies, Play therapy and Gestalt approaches.
  • This is developed through roleplays, small group process and other skill oriented taught sessions. Supervised placement in a counselling context is mandatory to the enhancement of skills.
  • In addition, opportunities for students are structured into the programme to engage in personal development, self-awareness, reflexive practice and to benefit from the supervisory relationship. Our CAMH conference (see highlight video below) is an excellent example of extra opportunities available as part of the course.
  • Our experienced course team includes specific expertise in CBT, systemic family therapy, Creative therapies, Play therapy and Gestalt approaches, who are able to teach students and integrated approach to counselling with children and young people.

Typical modules

Understanding Mental Health in Children and Young People - 30 credits

This module promotes a critical analysis of developmental issues in childhood and adolescence with specific reference to the inter-relationship between the processes of development, and the context within which young people grow, develop and experience difficulties. The implications of these developmental processes for the emotional, social, and behavioural well-being of the child and adolescent are considered critically.

The module considers elements of the continuum between ‘typical’ and ‘atypical’ development. Building on their knowledge of the developmental processes and mechanisms operating in childhood and adolescence, students will develop a critical understanding of the kinds of issues children and young people might present with, and will develop strategies for using theoretical and research material to make sense of clients’ experiences and formulate case material appropriately using systemic and other models. The module includes an observational study of an infant, child or young person in an appropriate context.

Core Skills for Working with Children and Young People- 30 credits

The module covers the ‘core skills’ for working with CYP and families, as identified by the Department of Health as reflecting the essential skills needed by all CAMHS practitioners. These ‘core skills’, including CBT, systemic family therapy and parenting and early intervention are taught through workshops and roleplays and skills practice. This module can also be taken as a standalone CPD module for staff currently working with children and young people (e.g. teachers, school nurses, GPs, etc).

Counselling with Children and Young People- 30 credits

This module will provide students with an opportunity to develop a detailed and critical understanding of an integrated model of counselling with children, young people and families, synthesising a systemic model with the use of creative therapies, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and brief solution focused interventions with children, young people and their families. The module will focus on the development of applied knowledge and skills. Emphasis will be placed on an understanding of the ‘process’ of counselling, the ‘space in-between’, the difference between these elements and the content of a counselling session and on the importance of confidentiality and ethical practice. As part of this module, students will also engage in group process work, to support their critical reflection on personal development, as development reflexive and rigorous self-examination is a key aspect of appropriate therapeutic work.

Counselling Children and Young People in Practice - 30 credits

This module supports students in the practical application of knowledge and skills developed in the programme in a placement context. Through supervision of theory to practice and practice to theory, the module helps students build a coherent integrated model of counselling with children and young people.

This module provides two trimesters of guidance, tutoring, and feedback from the clinical supervisor on the student’s casework and therapeutic practice, supported by small group process based reflection and discussion. In the small group context, students are invited to discuss and consider the rationale for their therapeutic interventions with clients and consider alternative options. This is further supported by applied theory driven workshops on therapeutic issues, where students are encouraged to discuss theoretically and critically issues that arise in their placement contexts. Supervision provides the appropriate setting for full discussion of the ethical and professional issues that arise from clinical practice. In addition to supervision offered in the placement, students have ten group supervision sessions focusing on the above. Students are facilitated in the integration of theoretical, reflexive and practical aspects of work with children and families. In this module, students have the opportunity to complete their required practice hours. They will also complete the personal development, reflexive practice and professional issues training necessary for professional accreditation.

Qualitative & Quantitative Research Methods - 10 credits

The module aims to build research skills at Masters level by providing students with a grounding in the techniques and concepts of quantitative and qualitative research methodology applied to social sciences and psychology. The module will enable students to design a quantitative and qualitative research proposal, one of which will become the foundation for their subsequent dissertation.

Dissertation & Research Methods- 50 credits

The rationale for the dissertation module is to build advanced research skills in either qualitative or quantitative approaches, and to provide students with the opportunity to engage in supervised but independently undertaken research. This module is designed to develop the skills needed for independent research, and to support students to autonomously formulate and conduct an empirical research project under supervision.

Qualification and course duration


full time
18 months
part time
36 months

Course contact details

01604 735500
01604 713029