College for Child and Adolescent Psychotherapies (CCAP)

UKCP College for Child and Adolescent Psychotherapies (CCAP) has as its central aim to support the positive health and well-being of children and young people and to relieve their distress and suffering. The focus of all work in the College is on the nature and needs of children rather than on a particular theory or approach. UKCP Child Practitioners are able to communicate with children through art and play, to understand their non-verbal language, identify their developmental needs, and offering guidance to parents,  carers and fellow professionals where needed.   

Why train as a child therapist?

If you want to make a difference to the lives of children and young people, influencing the mental health and wellbeing of the next generation, training in a therapeutic approach could be the start of a journey towards achieving this vision.

It can be profoundly rewarding to witness children’s self-esteem and confidence grow. Facilitating change and development can be inspirational, helping children to cope with challenges, recover from trauma, mental health difficulties or life crisis. It can also be very satisfying to accompany children and young people as they go on to fulfil their potential.

Children are often responsive, engaging, and willing to build a nurturing and sustaining therapeutic relationship based on trust with a well-trained professional who can understand the world through their eyes. Therapeutic approaches value young people’s participatory voices and help support them in achieving the changes they want to make in their lives.

UKCP’s child-centred approaches are ethically informed and grounded in the rights and best interests of the child. Therapists can provide the conditions and resources to support children and young people heal from the hurt and pain they have experienced in their lives. Providing play-based opportunities, exploring the inner life, and enabling the way to tell their story can be a transformative process which opens a world of new opportunities.

Supporting parent’s and families can also be a rich and meaningful process where relational difficulties can change over time to strengthen young people’s quality of life, wellbeing, and potential. This work can also ripple out into wider communities, impacting on the environments where children live, learn and play. Therapists provide psychoeducation for professionals and organisations making systemic and cultural change in different settings.


Personal qualities required for training and education

It is important to be a safe and reliable role model for children and young people, so it is vital to be a trustworthy and dependable person. The qualities required for training and qualification can include the ability to be open-minded, sensitive to others, empathic and inquiring, the capacity to play, respect the voices of the children, and an ability to find ways of listening and understanding their unique lived experience. This can sometimes require personal responsibility, moral courage, emotional stamina, ethical care, and discretion.

It is important to be tenacious and resilient in managing children’s problems alongside them, supporting their agency, and having compassion when faced with the troubling experiences in their lives. Many children who have been exposed to trauma and adversity have emotional and behavioural difficulties which require awareness, careful thought, reflection, analysis, and insight to ensure that their communications can be understood.

The ability to maintain professional boundaries with children, parents and professionals is vital in ensuring disciplined and mindful therapeutic care with reference to safeguarding, inter-disciplinary communication and multi-agency practice. Being an emotionally available adult in a child’s world requires knowledge and skills applied with self-awareness, personal reflection, and professional accountability. Therefore, it is important that all therapeutic trainings include elements of personal development, reflection and / or personal therapy.

The willingness to engage in personal development and the exploration of each students’ own personal history of lived experience is a pre-requisite of education in this field.


Benefits of training

Training as a therapeutic professional is a commitment which requires academic study, research, and practice-based learning in placements. Students are well supported through lectures, seminars, workshops, and supervision to enable the acquisition of necessary knowledge and personal attributes which are required to apply therapeutic skills.

Providing a place where children can be heard and feel safe, advocating for young people’s needs, managing risk, as well as developing the ethical sensibilities to manage professional responsibilities, requires in depth, teaching and learning as well as professional supervision.

UKCP courses are committed to quality and standards which enable successful outcomes, learning from vulnerable children and young people how to care better.

Having a professional UKCP registration as a hallmark provides is an essential feature of becoming part of a professional community. Transparency and accountability are important to ensure ongoing regulation for safety and effectiveness in child-centred practice. It is also important to maintain professional standards after qualifying, and to experience the value of the ongoing UKCP five year re-accreditation process.

It may be that a foundation level training is a starting point to see if the approach and the training organization is the right one to begin with. This can be built upon and developed with undergraduate and/or post-graduate level training which can be tailored to the individual’s academic interests, abilities, therapeutic potential, and constraints of time.

Some students commence learning by applying transferable skills in their current role working with children and young people which can be a helpful beginning to research the impact of therapeutic and relational approaches with children.

Contact details

General Enquires

Ashlynne Ludlow (Chair) and Gary Yexley (Vice Chair) 


Assessment Board Queries

Lucy Fuller 


Ethics Queries

Fiona Walkingshaw


EDI Queries  

Kei-Retta Farrell


Direct Members Reaccreditation Queries

Ashlynne Ludlow


Members Forum Feedback/Queries

Emily Suggett


Research Queries

Dr Isabel Jimenez Acquarone


Training Standards Queries

Dan Neale  

The college provides a home for all the psychotherapists and psychotherapeutic counsellors who share this expertise in this specialist area of work, whatever their theoretical orientation.

Upholding the emotional and psychological wellbeing of children and young people is at the heart of our work. We do this largely through focussing on describing and maintaining standards of excellence for those who work with this client group.

We offer membership to:

  • individuals who are qualified in child psychotherapy, and psychotherapeutic counselling with children and young people
  • UKCP organisations that have developed or wish to develop specialist trainings in this field.

We also support organisations in obtaining such specialism.

You can join our college either exclusively or in addition to membership of another UKCP college.

To find out more about how and where to train, please get in touch using the contact details above.

Training organisations in this college

Organisations that train and accredit their own graduates or whose trainings lead to UKCP accreditation.


Accrediting organisations in this college

Organisations that accredit trained individuals to our national register.

When you became a child psychotherapist or psychotherapeutic counsellor you did so because you had a calling to serve those who were vulnerable, who were not always listened to, and needed an advocate. You do this every day in your job, you are there for children in a profound, meaningful way. Bringing that out of the clinic room and into the wider world is as equally important. A starting point can be to get involved at a committee level and helping to shape the college, and from there, who knows!

We welcome engagement and participation in committees. Contributing to the life of the college in this way can influence the direction of the field within the UK. It offers the opportunity to make a difference to the lives of children young people families and communities through active involvement in the development of policy standards education training practice research ethics membership and communications.

The College for Child and Adolescent Psychotherapies is committed to equality diversity and inclusivity recognising the importance of ongoing evaluation and change in the way we think and practice in today’s world and in the future. Becoming involved enables networking and growth as a practitioner with the recognition of this being integral to continuing personal and professional development. If you are interested and would like to apply please contact

Applications are welcomed from people who have relevant knowledge, skills and experience to contribute this may include working with children and young people directly or being responsible for service delivery in organization’s or having a unique area of expertise which could be beneficial/relevant to the developmental process within the college.


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