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Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy

Training Location: London. Full-time course.

Since 2014 IPCAPA at the British Psychotherapy Foundation (bpf) and the Anna Freud Centre/UCL have collaborated to produce an innovative and exciting Doctorate in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy. This four year full time programme will lead to the award of DPsych and professional membership of the Association of Child Psychotherapists (ACP) as well as the bpf.

Applications for September 2024 are now closed

The IPCAPA at the bpf training in child & adolescent psychoanalytic psychotherapy professional doctorate has been designed to provide trainees with an excellent clinical training, fully integrated with a knowledge and experience of the research skills that will be necessary for those working in the modern NHS.

The theoretical orientation of the clinical training represents the thinking of the Independent School within the British Psychoanalytic movement and also provides Freudian and Kleinian thinking, both classical and contemporary. It allows trainees flexibility and scope to find in time their own theoretical position. Additional Jungian theory modules are provided for Jungian analysands on the Jungian pathway.

The training aims to provide a thorough understanding of normal child development, childhood psychopathology and psychotherapeutic techniques linked with direct experience of clinical work, enhanced by research knowledge and skills.

As well as receiving direct teaching on research methodologies and how to evaluate others’ research findings, participants in the course will undertake a research project on an area of significance to the child psychotherapy profession. Participants will be helped to develop an approach to research that will be able to make a serious contribution to the future of the child psychotherapy profession.

This course has been created with an emphasis on the practical research skills that will be needed by a modern practitioner and is designed specifically to be completed within four full-time academic years. In this integrated programme research thinking will sit alongside the clinical programme so that graduates from the programme will become able to use research to further and deepen their clinical practice.

Clinical Course Component

In order to fulfil the clinical requirements of the course trainees need to be placed by the training school in an appropriate clinical setting. Training placements are in NHS or voluntary sector settings, and the placement programme is planned to ensure exposure to a wide range of populations and contexts and to ensure the experience of working in multi-disciplinary teams. Trainees are in their clinical placements for 70% of their week over the 4 years, learning and honing their skills, guided by experienced clinicians within their service.
As well as being trainees on an ACP recognised training, trainees are also, by virtue of being placed by the training school, employees of their employing trust and are expected to abide by trust policies. All trainees are required to be in personal psychoanalysis with a bpf approved therapist, at least four times per week throughout their training.

NHS Placements

The clinical training is funded and quality assured by Health Education England (HEE), via the regional offices. A limited number of training posts are offered by the NHS, for which trainees can apply. The posts are four-year fixed-term training contracts, usually based in a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) team, and provide funding (including salary and contributions to training expenses), time for study and training as well as the opportunities to meet all the clinical requirements of the training. There are a number of posts across London and the South East of England that are linked to the training. All trainees must have the experience of working within a clinical placement but in exceptional circumstances, for example, where trainees are not eligible to work in the UK trainees may self-fund and IPCAPA will endeavour to organise appropriate clinical experience for them.  Please also see the “costs” information if you are interested in self-funding.
In order to fulfil ACP requirements, each trainee must complete a combination of intensive and non-intensive child cases. Each trainee sees three children in intensive psychotherapy, with individual weekly supervision for each case. Trainees are also required to see at least five children in non-intensive treatment and to have experience of time-limited work, work with parents, diagnostic assessments and of consulting to other professionals who are working to promote children’s well-being.

Academic Component

A continuous programme of theoretical seminars specific to each of the 4 years of the course is led by experienced child and adult psychotherapists. These cover theories of development, and psychoanalytic thinking about the aetiology of psychological problems and how best to treat them, having regard to cultural and social diversity. The curriculum gives attention to knowledge of the evidence base for the efficacy of psychological interventions and includes information on the impact of neuro-psychosocial factors on the psychological well-being of young people. There is a rolling programme of applied practice workshops, responding to current issues in NHS practice.

Research Component

In year one, trainees receive direct teaching on research methodologies and the critical evaluation of research findings. They carry out a small-scale, service-related project within their clinical placement service and attend a series of lectures on evaluating clinical interventions.
From the second year, trainees will undertake a research project on an area relevant to the child psychotherapy profession, fully supported by a supervisor. This course has been created with an emphasis on the practical research skills that will be needed by a modern practitioner and designed specifically to be completed within 4 full-time academic years. In this integrated programme research thinking sits alongside the clinical programme so that graduates will become able to use research to inform their clinical practice.
Full details about the research component of the course can be found in Appendix 9 (below).
Download appendix 9

The training is offered in a small-group setting and aims to provide a thorough understanding of normal child development, childhood psychopathology and psychotherapeutic techniques linked with direct experience of clinical work and enhanced by expert research skills. The course is designed to provide the theoretical and practical context in which trainees develop skills in assessment and treatment of a full range of disturbances in children and adolescents.

Each trainee spends most of their training getting hands on experience in a clinic setting. Trainees work within the NHS usually in funded posts.

In order to fulfil ACP requirements each trainee:

  • sees three children in intensive psychotherapy (one child of 5 years or under, one primary school child, and one adolescent), a minimum of three times per week, with individual weekly supervision for each case.
  • Trainees are also required to have experience of using an evidence based evaluated form of time limited work,  treat at least five children once or twice a week, to, to work with parents, and to undertake diagnostic assessments.
  • They are also required to have experience of consulting to and networking with other professionals who are working to promote children’s well being.

All trainees are required to be in personal psychoanalysis with a bpf approved therapist, at least four times per week throughout their training.

The training takes a minimum of four years, and is accredited by the Association of Child Psychotherapists(ACP). All trainees are eligible for NHS work on qualification.

Research element

The taught research element of the programme is mainly provided at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families and the clinical element at the bpf. Please check your timetables carefully for venue information.

Clinical Teaching (all year groups)

In the clinical programme for child psychotherapy training, we aim to capture key issues in developing child psychotherapy practice in CAMHS, incorporating the ideas of service supervisors on crucial learning areas, ACP expectations, the trainees’ views on their learning needs and interests, and the time honoured programme of theory that marks us out as an Independent training.

The Practice Group

The first-years have their own seminar where they are introduced to child psychotherapy practice in term one and two. In the summer term, the first-year trainees are on an eight-week adult psychiatric placement where they experience the impact of adult mental illness at first hand (See the ‘guidelines for trainees & placement providers of observational placements’ Appendix 7). This experience is explored in a seminar led by a child psychiatrist and child psychotherapist where they examine the raw feelings of the adult patients and the child’s perspective when living with a mentally ill parent.
For years 2, 3 and 4, the practice groups have a mix of trainees. These groups address clinical report writing and advanced skills and understanding of practice in a range of applied work (parent-child work, parent work, family work, brief intervention, consultation all having regard to issues of diversity), according to the particular needs of the group.
Download appendix 7

Conference and Half-day Workshops

The afternoon workshop programme, where speakers are invited to present their area of expertise in child mental health is the part of the training day that provides the most dynamic and responsive curriculum to the changing policies and practice in the NHS regarding children, young people and families, whilst ensuring we uphold the core skills for complex therapeutic work that are central to child psychotherapy and having regard to diversity issues. It aims to reflect and re-enforce healthcare priorities.
The value of the 4-year rolling programme is that it offers the space to explore many different topics and the flexibility to include new areas of priority for child psychotherapists as they emerge, like brief work, generic assessments and outcome measures, so they can be included in the planning for the following year.
Additionally, there are a number of special presentations, day conferences or half-day workshops in the programme, responding to current issues in NHS practice.
These will be open to professional colleagues to join in the learning experience of challenging and specialist areas of work.

Pre-training requirements

Please refer to the attached preclinical requirements document for pre-clinical requirements.

Training requirements

If you are an aspiring Child Psychotherapist and unsure about the process of applying to us, or your eligibility to apply, rather than responding to individual queries, we would encourage you to look carefully at the section titled Frequently asked questions (FAQs) on our website. This can be found in the “pre-training requirements” section, under FAQ. 

The video below describes the application process and preclinical requirements.

 We will also be offering some drop-in Q &A  times for those who prefer to attend and ask questions in that forum. Please send your contact details to : [email protected] in order to sign up.

Date of next drop in: Tuesday 16th July between 5-6pm

Applicants will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Applicants must have a 2.1 Honours degree (or equivalent) OR a Masters from a UK & University in a relevant subject.
  • Applicants will have carried out a course of study at a Masters level or equivalent comprising observation seminars and a taught theoretical component.

Our training is funded and quality assured by Health Education England, via the regional offices. A limited number of training posts are offered by the NHS, for which trainees can apply.

The posts are four-year fixed-term training contracts, usually based in a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) team, and provide funding, time for study and training as well as the opportunities to meet all the clinical requirements of the training. We have a number of posts across London and the South East of England.

For trainees who are able to consider a self-funding option you would need to cover the costs of the training whilst in an honorary training post (either in the NHS or in the voluntary sector). 

In 2020/21, IPCAPA at the bpf was delighted to be able to announce a programme of financial assistance for trainees from the Evelyn Phipps Memorial Fund. The fund is named for Evelyn Phipps (1955-2018), who graduated from the child and adolescent psychotherapy training at the Anna Freud Centre in Hampstead, and worked for many years at the Centre, in the NHS, and in private practice in London and Norwich. She was known for her work with troubled children and young people.

The fund intends to help those trainees at the start of their training on the Doctorate in Independent Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy who are not in receipt of an official source of funding for their training and are “self-funding”. The bursary will cover the four years of the training and provide up to £15,000 per annum. For more information please contact Edina Kernbaum on [email protected].

For those who have completed/ are completing their preclinical training, applications are normally open in the month of December and close early in January. When applications are open, the application form can be accessed below.  If you are interested in applying for the training but are unsure about your eligibility or have any questions about the application and selection process, as a first step please make sure to carefully read all the information provided in the “entry requirement” tab, included the FAQ. Further, we offer regular “drop in” sessions and the date of the next one is Tuesday July 16th 2024 5-6pm. If after reviewing all the information provided you have any further questions, please contact the training coordinator via [email protected]

Applications for September 2024 are now closed.

Applicants need to be accepted on to the bpf training before subsequently applying to register as students at UCL.

The bpf is committed to diversity and inclusivity in all the work we deliver. We are fully dedicated to promoting, maintaining and supporting equality of opportunity in all aspects of our organisation and, as such, the bpf welcomes applications from all sections of society.



Developing a ‘Couple State of Mind’ – How Couple Work Can Enhance Your Psychotherapy Practice – Date: 10th July 2024. Time: 6:30 – 8:00pm. Venue: Online.

Join us for an evening with Leezah Hertzmann as she discusses how working with couples can offer a fresh perspective on your individual work with patients/clients.