Working with children and young people


Do you want to make a difference to the lives of children and young people? As a child psychotherapist, you’d provide a secure, trusting relationship with children and young people to support them to process difficult early experiences and decrease the negative impact these have on their lives. You’d work creatively using play and would develop relationships with parents and carers too.

To qualify as a UKCP-accredited psychotherapist working with children and young people and join our specialist register, you’d need to do specific training with one of our member organisations and meet our high standards


Training programmes to work with children and young people

The UK Council for Psychotherapy has four UKCP colleges who accredit/regulate and represent members accredited to work with children. The College for Child and Adolescent Psychotherapies (CCAP), the College of Family, Couple and Systemic Psychotherapy (CFCSP), Psychotherapeutic Counselling and Intersubjective Psychotherapy College (PCIPP) and the Universities Training College (UTC)

The following organisation can offer advice about training and accreditation in psychotherapeutic counselling or psychotherapy with children or young people, with families, with young people in an educational setting, or with parents/infants.

Our accredited training programmes are required to have Assessment of Prior/Experiential Learning (APL and APEL) and Credit Accumulation Transfer System (CATS) APL/APEL/CATs processes in place to ensure that if you do have prior experience/training, then you might be able to ‘opt out’ of have exemption from certain portions of the training. Normally no more than 50 per cent of any training should be achieved through any of the above.


UKCP’s specialist register for therapists working with children and young people

Therapists who have completed specific specialist training and who work exclusively with children and adolescents are included on a specialist register.

There are two titles associated with the child register:

  • Child Psychotherapist or Child Psychotherapeutic Counsellor – registrants with this title have completed a full child training or post qualifying diploma in child psychotherapy
  • Family and Systemic Psychotherapist or Family and Systemic Psychotherapeutic Counsellor – registrants with this title are members of our College of Family, Couple and Systemic Therapy and they are able to work with children, families, couples as well as adults.

Until 2017 it was possible for UKCP registered psychotherapists who work mainly with adults but who may also occasionally work with children and adolescents to apply for a Child and Adolescent Proficiency Marker to show that they meet the standard of expertise we have set for working with those who are under the age of 18.

The biggest difference between the specialist register and the Proficiency Marker is that those on the register have completed a specialist child training or post qualifying diploma. Therapists who hold the Proficiency Marker have completed training designed to work with adults but have demonstrated that they also meet the minimum standard to work with children and adolescents.

We are no longer receiving new applications for the Proficiency Marker, and the only option to gain UKCP accreditation to work with child clients is either to undertake a full training course or a UKCP approved post-qualifying course that would lead to registration on our Child Register.

From December 2020 only UKCP members who are on the Child Register or who hold the Child and Adolescent Proficiency Marker will be able to display ‘Children and Young People’ as a client group on their profile in our Find A Therapist directory.

If you are a UKCP member and hold other qualifications or have completed other training which is not UKCP-accredited but which you believe equips you to work with children and young people, we still cannot list you as working with this client group in Find A Therapist. Members may only advertise services on Find A Therapist for which they have been accredited by UKCP.

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