Child, adolescent and family mental well-being: multidisciplinary practice (D24G, Stroud)

Course overview

Delivered at the Gloucestershire Counselling Service in Stroud, this award winning course will introduce you to the fundamental aspects of child, adolescent and family mental healthcare and practice, informed by psychodynamic, systemic and child development theories.  This award winning course is accredited by the Association of Family Therapy and we welcome applicants from BAME and other diverse backgrounds.

On this course you will learn through theoretical seminars and lectures, infant observation and/ or family observation, work practice discussions, experiential groups, personal tutorials and a four-day group relations conference. All teaching takes place in multidisciplinary groups. As part of the course, you will have the opportunity to attend a specially designed, multidisciplinary group relations conference entitled 'Exploring the Complex Realities of Inter-agency Working', which seeks to explore the difficulties and benefits of interdisciplinary and inter-agency work.

Theoretical seminars
Will develop your understanding of psychodynamic, systemic and developmental concepts and how they can be applied in working effectively with children, young people and families where emotional and mental health difficulties exist. You will study child and family development theories and research, and explore the factors that affect mental health and wellbeing in children young people and families and common presenting issues. Issues relating to equalities, diversity and inclusion are addressed directly through specific theoretical lectures as well as being embedded in the lecture and seminar series more broadly.

You will undertake an observational module choosing between an infant / young child or family observation. These seminars will draw upon psychodynamic and systemic theories and develop your observational skills and capabilities. You will be encouraged to think carefully about aspects of your own and the observed family’s identity and the relationship between these as part of the observation process.  If you choose and successfully complete the family observation module and a small amount of additional work, you will achieve the AFT foundation level award.

Work discussion
These small multidisciplinary professional practice groups will draw on your practical work experience and aim to develop your capabilities in thinking and in practice. These components aim to facilitate the integration of relevant theoretical ideas and research in order to develop advanced therapeutic practice skills in working with children, young people and families.  

Experiential group

You will have the opportunity for experiential group learning via a range of delivery modes; work discussion, experiential group and group relations conference.

The experiential group will take place every week and offers an opportunity for students to gain an understanding of the processes at work in groups and their own role in these processes. You will be encouraged to explore your experience of working in the group with others who can be different from yourself in terms of race, gender, sexuality and socio economic background and you will learn from others’ perspectives and examine your own relationship to these.

As part of the course you will have the opportunity to attend a specially designed multi-disciplinary Group Relations Conference entitled ‘Exploring the Complex Realities of Inter-agency Working’, which seeks to explore the difficulties and benefits of interdisciplinary and inter-agency work.    A personal tutor will support your professional and personal development on the course.

Students will attend GCS at Stroud every week on Thursday afternoons, with a monthly Friday all day symposium (unless otherwise arranged for webinars). In addition, weekly web-based learning is attended online from your work or home.  You will be fully supported by the Technology Enhanced Learning Unit at the Tavistock and Portman, based in London.

This is a unique opportunity to study on an award winning multidisciplinary course. 

You will be able to develop a theoretical framework for understanding child, adolescent, and family development and family functioning that will inform your practice.  You will gain advanced knowledge and fundamental therapeutic skills, drawing upon psychodynamic and systemic theories.  You will have the capability to undertake informed early assessment, skillful and effective preliminary work, and/or know how and where to refer children, young people and families for more specialised treatment whilst always having the service user perspective at the centre of your practice.  

What our students say:

This course is for you if you are working in the field of child, adolescent or family mental health, and wish to improve your knowledge and capabilities. You may be a counsellor, psychotherapist,  social worker, nurse, health visitor, education professional, occupational therapist, creative arts therapist, child and adolescent primary mental healthcare worker, child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) practitioner or working with children and families in the voluntary or statutory sector. 

In order to undertake this course, we ask that you:

  • hold an appropriate professional qualification relevant to your chosen career 
  • have at least two years’ practical experience in working with children and families since qualification
  • have an undergraduate degree, degree equivalent, or evidence of other relevant   post-registration education/experience  
  • are in a full-time or part-time post (paid or voluntary) in which you are working with children and/or families experiencing difficulties be they  behavioural, emotional or psychological where you have a remit to make a difference in your work.

Due to the increasing popularity of this course, applications will close on Friday 13th August 2022.  If you apply before this date and meet the entry requirements, we will interview you by August 2022 and we strongly advise you to apply as early as you can. 

If you apply after this date, we cannot guarantee you an interview for a place starting in September 2022.

Dr Margaret Lush is a child psychotherapist who has a background in music. She has a strong interest in the creative arts and her doctoral thesis investigated the links between states of mind and the drawings done by an adolescent boy in his psychotherapy sessions.  Her doctoral research led to a wider interest in creative approaches to researching the psychotherapy process and the opportunities offered by the paradigms of complexity and chaos theory. Publications include 'Clinical facts, turning points and complexity theory' (2011) Journal of Child Psychotherapy Vol 37:1 and a book review of 'The Non-Linear Mind. Psychoanalysis of Complexity in Psychic Life'  Taylor and Francis online Feb.2017.

She is book reviews editor for the Journal of Child Psychotherapy and teaches on several clinical and non clinical courses at the Tavistock.  


£ 4,850 per year


£ 9,700 per year

For more information about how Brexit may affect your fee status, please see Brexit information for EU & EEA and Swiss Nationals

Please note that course fees are subject to a 3% or CPI uplift each year, whichever is greater.

We are happy offer a range of ways to pay your fees, as well as some funding for specific courses. 

New for 2022:  We are delighted to be offering four bursaries worth 50% of the total course cost for applicants from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds who secure a place on the course starting in September 2022.  Please download more information and an application form here.
Postgraduate Certificate
Course length:
1 year
Thursday (weekly) and Friday (once per month)
Admission status:
Course lead:
Dr Margaret Lush

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