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Chapter 1: Goals for counselling children
The Child Outcomes Research Consortium (CORC) collects evidence in order to support children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. CORC has developed a booklet on setting and tracking goals when counselling children and young people that is available via the University College London’s (UCL) website. It is important to note that this booklet is better suited to older children, however may also provide assurance to parents that their goals are being met while the counsellor follows the child’s lead during therapy.
Chapter 2: The child-counsellor relationship
The Centre for Children and Families at the University of Kansas (KU) have completed a series of reports (Best Practices in Children’s Mental Health) summarising the research base across a number of important issues when counselling children. One of these Best Practice Reports focuses on the therapeutic alliance.
Chapter 3: Ethical considerations when counselling children
Ethical codes, along with further ethical resources, can be found on each of the various psychology and counselling societies websites:
Chapter 4: Attributes of a counsellor for children
There are many ideas about which attributes are useful for a counsellor to develop. As an example, a presentation about the ‘8 H Qualities’ of effective counsellors can be downloaded from The American Counseling Association’s website. Do you agree with the eight qualities chosen by the presenter? Is there anything you would change?
Chapter 5: Historical background and contemporary ideas about counselling children
History of Counselling
Readers interested in a broader timeline of the history of counselling may like to explore the timelines found on the following websites, each with a different focus:
Chapter 6: The process of child therapy
For more information about the differences in the counselling process between contexts, readers may be interested in accessing the following resources:
- The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) have produced a document highlighting legal issues and resources for counsellors working in a school setting
- A guide for counselling in schools has also been developed by the Australian Psychological Society (APS)
- General considerations for working with children in hospital have been provided in a Charter on the Rights of Children and Young People in Healthcare Services in Australia
- The European Journal of Counselling Psychology has published an article about the role of counselling in medical settings. While the article is focused on adult clients, the roles of a counsellor outlined in the article are also relevant to those working with children
- For those working with children and families linked with child protective services, see child protection legislation relevant to Australia and child protection legislation relevant to the United Kingdom
Chapter 7: The child’s internal processes of therapeutic change
There are many differing theories of the process of therapeutic change unpinned by the various therapeutic approaches outlined in Chapter 5. For the interested reader, please find below some ideas about therapeutic change in children from Gestalt Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) approaches. Further theories of therapeutic change are also discussed in Chapter 8.
Chapter 8: Sequentially planned integrative counselling for children (the SPICC model)
The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) provides a brief description of a number of theoretical approaches to counselling. Perhaps you would like to review the list to see whether there are any other approaches that could be useful when working with children in the context of the SPICC model?
Chapter 9: Counselling children in the context of family therapy
For more information about family therapy, readers in the United Kingdom may like to explore the website of the Association of Family Therapy (AFT) at For readers in Australia, the Australian Association of Family Therapy (AAFT) website is Both associations provide information about family therapy and offer a number of training opportunities.
Chapter 10: Counselling children in groups
Liana Lowenstein (Registered Clinical Social Worker, Certified Play Therapist-Supervisor, and Certified TF-CBT Therapist) has collected a range of therapeutic activities, including ideas for groups, from a number of counsellors in an e-book: Favorite Therapeutic Activities for Children, Adolescents, and Families: Practitioners Share Their Most Effective Interventions. The book can be accessed via her website. There are a number of other resources available on her website for interested readers.
Chapter 11: Observation
Observation is an important skill across multiple settings. For a perspective on the value of observation in an early childhood environment, readers may be interested in this article.
Chapter 12: Active listening
Active listening is a particularly important skill in the absence of non-verbal cues. This article explores active listening when counselling children via telephone or online. For more information about the use of technology when counselling children please refer to Chapter 31.
Chapter 13: Helping the child to tell their story and get in touch with strong emotions
In certain counselling settings, questioning also brings with it ethical considerations in terms of what type of, and how, questions are asked. When working with children who have experienced domestic violence, for example, counsellors must be very aware of the types of questions they ask, particularly those that may lead the child to answer is a certain way. For more information about working with children who have experienced domestic violence, including when using questioning, readers are invited to explore the publication on family violence produced by the Victorian Government Department of Human Services.
Chapter 14: Dealing with resistance and transference
For another approach to supporting children through their resistance, including case studies, readers are directed to the article ‘Rapport-Building With Resistant Children’.
Chapter 15: Dealing with self-concept and self-destructive beliefs
Readers are directed to The Narrative Therapy Library for more resources on Narrative Therapy including articles for free download. For those interested in supporting children to change self-destructive beliefs, readers may be interested in The Albert Ellis Institute for further information and resources.
Chapter 16: Actively facilitating change
For a number of reviews on the use of Behaviour or Cognitive Behaviour Therapy when working with children, readers are referred to the Cochrane Library.
Chapter 17: Termination of counselling
For some creative ideas around supporting the process of termination, readers may be interested in this website.
Chapter 18: Skills for counselling children in groups
The Australian Institute of Family Studies has produced a list of group programs designed to support children, and their parents, with a range of challenges.
Chapter 19: The play therapy room
Play therapy rooms
Readers may like to use Google Images in order to search for examples of play therapy rooms. There is an extensive range of examples! You may like to consider what you like and don’t like about particular examples or perhaps think about how you might set up your own play therapy room.
Chapter 20: The evidence-base for play therapy and counselling children
For more comprehensive information about the research base for play therapy, readers are encouraged to explore the Evidence-Based Child Therapy website.
Chapter 21: Selecting the appropriate media or activity
Play is a central component, not just for supporting goals within the counselling environment, but also for developing children’s general health and wellbeing as outlined in the this article by Jeffery Goldstein.
Chapter 22: The use of miniature animals
Nadine Seiler has written a book on the use of miniature animals which can be accessed at here.
Chapter 23: Sand-tray work
Chapter 24: Working with clay
For more information about the benefits of working with clay, readers may be interested in the article available at Drama Start Books.
Chapter 25: Drawing, painting, collage and construction
Chapter 26: The imaginary journey
Imagination can also be used to support children to go to a relaxing place, also called visualization or guided imagery. This process can be open ended by inviting the child to choose a place to imagine that they find relaxing. An example of this more open-ended approach is provided in the form of a digital storybook. The child could also be invited to imagine a place provided by the counsellor. In this approach, the counsellor reads a script describing a relaxing situation. Before commencing the script, it is important that the counsellor ensures the child understands that they have choice in whether to follow the script or create their own story in their imagination. Relaxation scripts can be purchased from the Relax Kids website.
Chapter 27: Books and stories
The Little Parachutes website provides a database of books that are suitable for counselling, particularly when using books for educational purposes.
Chapter 28: Puppets and soft toys
UNICEF has produced an Early Childhood Development Kit for caregivers working with young children in emergency situations. The kit overviews of the role of play in development before providing suggestions for using play, including puppets, to support children through their experiences of trauma.
Chapter 29: Imaginative pretend play
Karen Stagnitti is an Occupational Therapist who has developed a number of resources to support children’s pretend play. Her resources can be accessed and/or purchased via her website.
Chapter 30: Games
For more information about games across cultures, readers may be interested in this article exploring the cultural aspects of games. A list of books that contain multicultural games and activities is available at Kid Activities.
Chapter 31: Technology
There are a number of resources that have been developed to support parents in understanding the risks and benefits of technology use. These resources also provide a number of ideas that parents can implement to support their children in developing a sense of safety when using technology, particularly the Internet. Some of these resources are listed below:
- The UK Safer Internet Centre
- The Safe Kids website
- The EU Kids Online Network Report
- The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists’ (RANZCP) position statement ‘The Impact of Media on Vulnerable Children and Adolescents’
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s publication ‘A Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety’
Chapter 32: Building self-esteem
As part of their Strengthening Families through Early Help program, the Shropshire Council has produced a number of Family Information Services and Resource Packs. The pack on self-esteem contains a number of links to information about self-esteem and services that can be accessed to support self-esteem.
Chapter 33: Socail skills training
The Kids Matters website has a number of resources on supporting socio-emotional learning. These resources are suitable for sharing with parents to support them in encouraging the development of their child’s emotional and social skills.
Chapter 34: Education in protective behaviours
For a list of resources designed to support the development of protective behaviours, readers may be interested in exploring the Families Feeling Safe.