Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Children and Young People MSc

Options: PG Diploma, PG Certificate


This programme provides training for individuals in outcomes-based CBT interventions to promote psychological wellbeing in children and young people. The course is aimed at professionals already working in the field of children's services, including social care, education and health, who hope to gain skills they can practice in the workplace.


Tuition fees

  • UK/EU Full-time: £3,600. Please note that the PG Cert and PG Dip must be completed before entry onto the MSc will be allowed.
  • Overseas Full-time: £8,500. Please note that the PG Cert and PG Dip must be completed before entry onto the MSc will be allowed.

Mode of study

  • Flexible up to 3 years

Application date

  • All applicants: 2 June 2014

More details in Application section.


Content

This part time programme provides training for individuals in outcomes-based interventions to promote psychological wellbeing in children and young people. The course is aimed at professionals already working in the field of children's services, including social care, education and health, who hope to gain skills they can practice in the work place.

Students develop competence in the use of cognitive behaviour therapy and are able to devise interventions with children and young people experiencing a range of difficulties in social and emotional aspects of their development. The programme encourages an outcomes-based approach in ascertaining the interventions most appropriate to promote psychological wellbeing.

Adolescent girl

The course takes a highly respectful stance to other types of therapy with children and will emphasise when other methods may be more effective for particular types of problems. We also aim to develop participants’ skills in evaluating the impact of their own work in order to be able to reflect on and modify practice in future. 

Objectives and Outcomes

Participants gain knowledge and understanding of cognitive behavioural approaches, their strengths and limitations and how they can be adapted to work with young people, drawing on systemic and other approaches.

Why Study at UCL?

The programme is based and taught at the Anna Freud Centre, a national charity with a worldwide reputation for its commitment to the emotional wellbeing of children.

As well as a centre of learning to train mental health professionals, the Anna Freud Centre's clinical services help young people with mental health problems. The centre also carries out pioneering research into effective ways to help young people suffering emotional distress.

Students benefit from the centre's collaboration with UCL; they gain the advantages of studying within the intimate and vibrant environment of the Anna Freud Centre, together with access to the facilities and resources of UCL – an internationally renowned university.

Who is the programme for?

Students have come from a variety of jobs including; educational psychology, clinical psychology, primary care mental health, counselling, social work, behaviour support in schools, and various others. The job must allow the student access to children that they can practice CBT with, and must provide the student with supervision.

What will I learn?

Students learn about the relationship between the mind and the brain in patients and healthy individuals, alongside the ideas, methodology, and current state of knowledge in cognitive neuroscience. They receive case demonstrations of brain-damaged patients, insights into transcranial magnetic and direct current stimulation, and experience with functional neuroimaging techniques.

Why should I study this degree at UCL?

The programme is based and taught at the Anna Freud Centre, a national charity with a worldwide reputation for its commitment to the emotional wellbeing of children.

As well as a centre of learning and training for mental health professionals, the Anna Freud Centre's clinical services help young people with mental health problems. The centre also carries out pioneering research into effective ways to help young people suffering emotional distress.

Students benefit from the centre's collaboration with UCL; they gain the advantages of studying within the intimate and vibrant environment of the Anna Freud Centre, together with access to the facilities and resources of UCL – an internationally renowned university.


Course Aims and Principles

The need to train more front line professionals in evidence-based approaches to enhancing children’s mental health and psychological well-being is a high level policy priority of both the Department of Health (DH) and the Department for Education (DfE). Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been identified as an important evidence-based intervention and due to the relative lack of CBT training courses for working with children, is a priority area for increased training provision.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines on depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder all recommend CBT as one of the treatments supported by evidence. In addition, government policy has recommended that there should be growth in delivery of CBT to a range of service users, and this has generated interest in delivery of cognitive behavioural interventions within children’s services amongst both front line practitioners and their managers.

It is recognized that CBT needs extension, development and adaptation for its application in work with children and young people. Standard 9 of the National Service Framework for Children, Young People and Maternity Services has articulated a vision and identified markers of good practice relating to training, supervision and evaluation of practice and outcomes that will direct the future development of services.

boy 4-5 years

The postgraduate courses in CBT for Children and Young People were developed following widespread consultation within UCL and with key stakeholder groups.

Core values of the course

  1. Outcomes evaluation should be at the centre of practice

The course aims to provide an outcomes-based context for the use of CBT to work with children, as well as ensuring that participants have the knowledge and ability to develop their work in the light of the emerging evidence-base in the future. Although the course is predominantly focused on training students in CBT, the course positively recognizes the effectiveness of other models of intervention for childhood difficulties.

  1. Applying theory and knowledge to practice

A core feature of the course is to provide opportunities for application of theoretical knowledge and evidence to individual case work. All aspects of the course aim to be relevant to actual practice with children, young people and their families and schools. To achieve this, students are expected to bring video examples of their work to every teaching session and to consider how knowledge, evidence and theory relate to their work with an individual child’s difficulties.

  1. The need for a developmental perspective

All work with children should be embedded in a developmental perspective. This means that the cognitive, emotional and social developmental level of the child is central to our overall understanding of the problem and not secondary to it.

  1. Children are part of families

Children are dependent on their relationships with parents/carers, teachers and other adults and this dependency is also central to understanding psychological needs and change.

  1. Children are involved in learning and go to school

Children are required to go to school and their capacity to engage positively in this part of their lives is also highly related to their overall psychological well-being. The importance of education and schooling within emotional development is significant and also needs to be attended to and understood. We believe that this is a unique component of the UCL/Anna Freud Centre course.

  1. The need to consider the interface of CBT with other effective interventions

Systemic and psychodynamic models of practice with children are considered to have enormous value in helping troubled and distressed children and young people. The course does not train students in these methods of working but sets out to recognise the achievements of these approaches and to consider the implications of the effectiveness of these interventions for CBT practice.

In brief, the philosophy of the course is to explore, examine and learn how effective psychological interventions can be applied to the problems of childhood rather than consider how childhood can be fitted into the delivery of professionally favoured psychological interventions.

Core aims of the course

The course aims to provide participants with opportunities to develop competence, knowledge and theoretical understanding in the use of CBT, whilst also gaining a real understanding of both the strengths and limitations of this approach, including where there is evidence that other models are likely to be more effective than CBT.

The course is very focused on how CBT might best be adapted in working with children, young people, their parents/carers and staff who work with them in schools. Crucially, participants are encouraged to take an outcomes-based approach in ascertaining the interventions most appropriate to promote psychological wellbeing.

We also aim to develop participants’ skills in evaluating the impact of their own work in order to be able to reflect on and modify practice in future. The course also considers other modes of intervention where these are considered to enhance the overall CBT approach, notably systemic practice and mentalisation based models of practice.

Key Aspects

  • A framework that supports integration of new learning with practice in course participants’ work settings
  • Regular tuition of course participants’ work with children, families and schools by experienced practitioners, to ensure proper support and practice
  • A forum for developing and sharing creative and flexible practice using CBT with children and young people
  • An experience that is both intellectually stimulating and practically useful for work with children and young people in the context of a range of children’s services.

Structure

All candidates should initially enrol for the Postgraduate Certificate (modules 1–4, 60 credits). On completion they should make a decision to terminate their studies at that point or enrol to take further modules for the Diploma (modules 5–8, 60 credits) and MSc (dissertation module, 60 credits).

Core Modules

  • Certificate:
  • Introduction to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in Context
  • Assessment and Engagement for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in Context
  • Basic Skills (Developing Understanding)
  • Basic Skills (Methods of Change)

  • Diploma:
  • Introduction to Disorder Specific Approaches
  • Disorder Specific Approaches
  • Complex Problems
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in Context

  • MSc:
  • Research Dissertation (see below)

Options

  • There are no optional modules for this programme.

Dissertation/report

All MSc students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a substantial dissertation.

Teaching and Learning

The programme is delivered at the Anna Freud Centre, and taught by leading practitioners in the field. Teaching is a combination of lectures, workshops and seminars. A core component of the course is video practice which is discussed in small practice tutor groups during each teaching day.



Time table

Attendance at the Anna Freud Centre for the taught elements of the course involves 12/13 scheduled days per year (4 per term). The course takes place on Tuesdays. In addition to attending on the timetabled dates, participants will need to commit additional time for private reading, undertaking direct delivery of interventions with individual children, and writing up case-work and assignments.

Assessment

Assessment for Certificate and Diploma

Student performance is assessed through a combination of written and oral assessments. Additionally, formative evaluation and feedback will be used, particularly the process of self-evaluation. This aims to encourage habitual self-evaluation and reflection on practice which is an essential basis both for immediate learning and for continuing professional development.

Written assessment

Each module has a written component made up of either a case report, case formulation, or essay.

Oral assessment

Each module has an oral assessment. A digital video recording of a child, adolescent or parent will be required for some modules. Others will be assessed  by vivas of students presenting case formulations or reports.

Assessment for MSc

All MSc students undertake an independant research project which culminates in a substantial dissertation.

Staff

The staff on this programme bring with them a wealth of experience of working with children and young people within a range of settings and agencies.

Joint Course Directors:

Peter Fuggle (Clinical Director, Islington CAMHS)

Peter completed his clinical psychology training in 1984 and subsequently completed his PhD in 1990. Since 1984, he has always worked in clinical psychology services for children including posts working with disability, paediatrics and in child mental health services.  In 1995, Peter took up his current leadership post in Islington CAMHS and has subsequently combined clinical practice with wider service development and management roles. He was responsible for initiating the introduction of CAMHS work in schools in Islington and for exploring innovative ways of delivering services for hard to reach young people and their families. At present, he provides consultation to a joint agency project which is targeted at young people at risk of entering local authority care. As with Sandra, he has a strong commitment to developing systems that support the routine evaluation of clinical outcomes. With respect to CBT for children, Peter is particularly interested in the relationship of CBT to other therapeutic models and has recently been delivering a series of workshops for clinical psychologists on integrated practice.

Sandra Dunsmuir (Co-Director, Doctorate   in Educational and Child Psychology, UCL)

Sandra completed her educational psychology training at UCL in 1986 and her PhD in 2000. She has had extensive experience working as an educational psychologist in four different local authorities in the south-east of England. Sandra has been involved with the training of educational psychologists at UCL since 1990, first as an Academic and Professional Tutor and since 2006, as Co-Director of the Doctorate in Educational and Child Psychology.

Sandra’s interest in the delivery of effective interventions to improve the psychological well-being of children and young people led to her seeking professional development in the use of CBT and related approaches. She has embedded this within her practice and continues to work on a regular basis with children, their families and teachers in delivering a range of interventions in school and community settings. The evaluation of outcomes is a central aspect of this process and she has been collaborating with colleagues at the University of Manchester in developing research and practice protocols for this purpose.  Sandra has also developed a major course module on CBT with children and adolescents for the initial training doctorate for educational psychologists at UCL, in conjunction with Vicki Curry. Supervision is seen as a crucial and integral part of professional training and Sandra, Vicki and colleagues are defining processes, evolving procedures and adapting tools to support and evaluate this.

Vicki Curry (Clinical Psychologist, Islington PCT)

Since completing her clinical psychology training at UCL in 1996, Vicki has worked for Islington PCT with children, young people and families in a variety of settings. She currently works in an Adolescent Outreach Team. Prior to that, Vicki worked as a clinical psychologist in an inpatient adolescent unit with young people aged 13-18 and their families, and also in a variety of community settings, including a Tier 3 Child and Family Consultation Service and a social services Leaving Care Team, an inner city secondary school, and on a project offering an intensive community-based intervention to families of adolescents who have offended or are at risk of offending, and have violent and/or aggressive behaviour.

Vicki did a One-year Diploma in Cognitive Therapy in Oxford in 1999, and although she uses a variety of models in her work, has formed a particular interest in applying cognitive behaviour therapy in child and family settings.  As part of her current job she has responsibility for co-ordinating and developing the use of CBT in the child and adolescent mental health service of Islington PCT.  Vicki has been involved in providing training and supervision in CBT with children for professionals from a range of agencies, including clinical psychologists, educational psychologists, teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers and occupational therapists.  She has been centrally involved in the development of this aspect of the curriculum within the Educational Psychology Group at UCL.

Application

Entry requirements

Normally a minimum of a second-class UK Bachelor's degree or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard in a relevant subject (e.g. psychology) and/or professional qualification in a relevant subject. Additionally, applicants must have experience of work with children in education, health or social care settings and a work context that enables participants to fulfil the course requirements (including time to attend the course and undertake case work and undertake CBT with children). Please see 'who can apply' for further information.

International equivalencies

Select your country for equivalent alternative requirements

English language proficiency level: Good

How to apply

The deadline for applications for this programme is 2 June 2014. The application must include two references, one from a line manager, confirming the statements and evidence supplied by the applicant. Please check with the Programme Administrator if you have any queries.

Who can apply?

Current students are in a variety of jobs, both full and part-time, and both paid and voluntary. The types of work include: educational psychology, clinical psychology, primary care mental health, counselling, social work, behaviour support in schools, and various others. The job must allow the student access to children with whom they can practice CBT, and must provide the student with supervision. The supervisor must be an experienced child practitioner, with experience of therapeutic work with children and knowledge of the CBT model.

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study this programme at graduate level
  • why you want to study this programme at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this rigorous programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your qualification
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.


Careers

Career

The programme is aimed at applicants in relevant employment and supports career progression.

Top career destinations for this programme

  • London Borough of Camden, Head of Virtual School, 2011
  • Raynes Park High School, Learning Support Assistant, 2011
  • Cambridge and Peterborough Foundation Trust, Nurse Therapist (CBT), 2011
  • Hampshire Partnership Trust, High Intensity Trainee, 2010
  • Islington NHS, Speech & Language Therapist, 2010

Employability

CBT for children and young people is one of a number of evidence-based interventions for common childhood problems and disorders. The demand for professionals with skills in this area in known to be high and is likely to grow. Students will have a (Certificate/Diploma/Masters) qualification in CBT with children and this will be much valued by employers looking to develop this type of intervention within their service. Several of our students have been funded by employers who want to increase their supervisory capacity in CBT and this is likely to be a trend that will continue.


Contact

Next steps

Contact

Ms Anwen Prendergast

T: +44 (0)20 7443 2266

W: Division of Psychology & Language Sciences

Apply

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FAQs

Can you go straight into the Masters without completing the Certificate or Diploma?

No, you must complete the Certificate year to build up credits in order to progress to the Diploma, and then the Masters.

What is the time commitment?

Students are required to attend teaching on 12 or 13 scheduled days per year, these days will all be Tuesdays within term time. However, considerable additional time will be needed for reading, writing assignments and delivering interventions to children.

What kind of jobs are current students in?

Current students are in a variety of jobs, both full and part time, and both paid and voluntary. The types of work include; educational psychology, clinical psychology, primary care mental health, counselling, social work, behaviour support in schools, and various others. The job must allow the student access to children that they can practice CBT with; Students must see at least 2 cases in Certificate year, and another 3 in Diploma.

Who can act as a supervisor?

Students are required to demonstrate they have external supervisory arrangements  throughout the course. An external supervisor must be an experienced child practitioner, with experience of therapeutic work with children and knowledge of the CBT model. They do not need to be “CBT experts”. Clinical supervision and case responsibility resides with students' individual supervisor and employer.

Are most students funded by their employer?

There is a mixture. Some students are funded by their employers, others are self funded. Students will need support and consent from their employers even if they are not being funded by their workplace.

What do students go on to do?

CBT with children is one of a number of evidence based interventions for common childhood problems and disorders. The demand for professionals with skills in this area is known to be high and is likely to grow. The (Certificate/Diploma/Masters) qualification in CBT with children will be much valued by employers looking to develop this type of intervention within their service. 

Is this course appropriate for people working with children who have specific disorders such as autism?

It would be appropriate to work with some autism cases on the course, but you would also need access to other young people so that you can practice your CBT work with a variety of presenting problems.

Testimonials

Click the link below to visit the Anna Freud Centre website and to hear what current and past students think of the course:

MSc/Diploma/Certificate in CBT for Children and Young People testimonials